Trust for Public Land (TPL) is proud to announce the appointment of Luis Benitez as its new Chief Impact Officer (CIO). In his capacity as CIO, Mr. Benitez will play a pivotal role in guiding, advancing and overseeing several key areas of TPL’s work including Marketing and Communications, Federal Affairs in Washington D.C., and TPL’s Land and People Lab. Benitez brings a wealth of experience in the outdoor and conservation sectors, making him an invaluable addition to TPL’s leadership team and mission to connect everyone to the outdoors.
“We are beyond thrilled to welcome an old friend like Luis to Trust for Public Land,” said TPL President, Diane Regas. “From his incredible service on TPL’s national board, to his deep-rooted passion for conservation, coupled with his impressive track record in marketing and advocacy within the outdoor industry, Luis will be instrumental in advancing our mission to create parks and protect land for people in all communities.”
Since 1972, TPL has connected over 9 million Americans to the outdoors, but 100 million people, including 28 million children, still don’t have access to a park within a 10-minute walk of home. And the parks communities do have are not only inaccessible for millions but inequitable, as parks serving primarily Black, Latino, Indigenous and Native American, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and other communities of color are half the size and serve five times more people per acre than parks in primarily white neighborhoods.
Connections to the outdoors are an essential part of improving public health, protecting vulnerable communities from the impacts of the climate crisis, and building strong community cohesion. Benitez’s leadership as Chief Impact Officer will be integral to our nationwide movement to close the outdoor equity gap by creating parks in communities that need them the most and connecting more to the outdoors.
“I am honored to join Trust for Public Land as their new Chief Impact Officer. This role is a perfect blend of my love for the outdoors, advocacy, and sustainability,” said TPL CIO, Luis Benitez.“Together with the TPL team, we will work tirelessly to create parks, preserve land, and foster deeper connections between people and nature and in the process grow community. I’m excited for this incredible journey ahead and excited to tackle the challenge of park access for all.”
Before his tenure at VF Corporation, Luis made headlines for his commitment to the outdoor community. He championed the establishment of the Colorado Outdoor Recreation Industry Office, becoming its first director and successfully promoting Colorado as a hub for outdoor recreation businesses and activities. Benitez’s work as director of Colorado Outdoor Industry Recreation Office helped more than double the state’s outdoor economy to $62.5 billion, according to a government report. During his tenure, outdoor recreation wages and salaries increased by 75%, and 62% of Coloradans reportedly used local parks, open space, or trails one or more times per week.
As Chief Impact Officer, Benitez will assume leadership over several critical aspects of TPL’s operations including TPL’s marketing and communication efforts, Federal Affairs and TPL’s research and innovation arm – the Land and People Lab. In this role, he will harness his marketing expertise to connect individuals and communities with the outdoors, raising awareness about TPL’s conservation initiatives and creating a deeper appreciation for the environment through storytelling. Benitez will play a vital role in advocating for TPL’s mission and working with government partners to advance land conservation and equitable access to parks. Along with working to oversee TPL’s research and innovation arm, Benitez will help in driving initiatives that contribute to a better understanding of the relationship between people and land that foster community and connection to the outdoors.
In conjunction with the appointment of Luis Benitez as CIO, Jeff Danter, who previously served as Executive Vice President of Programs, will assume the role of Chief Program Officer. In this capacity, Mr. Danter will provide strategic leadership and oversight for all state directors, TPL’s 10-minute walk campaign, and major initiatives and programming.
“Trust for Public Land is excited to embark on this new chapter with Luis Benitez as Chief Impact Officer and Jeff Danter’s appointment as Chief Program Officer with both appointments and their invaluable expertise furthering our efforts in creating parks, preserving land, and ensuring equitable access for all,” continued Regas.
This leadership restructuring underscores TPL’s commitment to its mission of creating parks and protecting land for people while fostering innovation and excellence in its various programs and initiatives.
About Trust for Public Land
Trust for Public Land (TPL) is a national nonprofit that works to connect everyone to the benefits and joys of the outdoors. As a leader in equitable access to the outdoors, TPL works with communities to create parks and protect public land where they are needed most. Since 1972, TPL has protected more than 4 million acres of public land, created more than 5,364 parks, trails, schoolyards, and iconic outdoor places, raised $93 billion in public funding for parks and public lands, and connected nearly 9.4 million people to the outdoors. To learn more, visit tpl.org.