Catherine Nagel has led City Parks Alliance for eighteen years, growing the nonprofit organization from its inception to an internationally recognized learning and advocacy network. Today City Parks Alliance provides top-quality educational programs for professionals, spurs cutting-edge research, and brings together a broad base of champions as a voice for urban parks. Under Catherine’s leadership, City Parks Alliance has worked with mayors to permanently fund federal legislation for environmental conservation and leverage more than $400 million to build urban parks in distressed communities.
She has collaborated with practitioners and researchers at RAND Corporation, Georgia Tech, and Urban Institute to advance program and funding strategies for parks and green infrastructure, strengthened knowledge and impact of cross-sector and public-private governance models for urban parks, inspired the formation of urban park-focused organizations globally, and connected a range of leaders from government, community-based groups, cultural institutions, the business sector, and philanthropy. Catherine has also held leadership positions with the National Association for Olmsted Parks, Japan America Society of Greater Philadelphia, Greater Philadelphia First, and Nippon Television Network. She has served on the board of World Urban Parks and Young Playwrights’ Theater (Washington, D.C.), and in an advisory role to Cities Connecting Children to Nature, National Park System Urban Task Force and Centennial Advisory Committee, Franklin Park (Washington, D.C.), and Heart of Brooklyn.
She received degrees from Bucknell University (BA) and University of Pennsylvania (MLA), studied at Tokyo’s Sophia University, and completed the Executive Leadership Program at Stanford University School of Business. She is a resident of Washington, DC, and enjoys hiking and biking through Rock Creek Park as well as frequent trips to Philadelphia’s Fairmount Park–especially in the spring for the Cherry Blossom Festival–a cultural landscape project she helped launch that continues to inform her work today.