Public, Society Benefit

Trust for the National Mall

  • Washington, DC

Mission Statement

• The Trust for the National Mall was founded in 2007 as the official nonprofit partner of the National Park Service. Our goal is to restore, improve and preserve America's Front Yard--a public space that evokes the pride and patriotism of our nation. We strongly believes that the National Mall should reflect our country's highest values, and in order to do so successfully, must be maintained to the highest of standards.

The Trust for the National Mall represents the largest public-private partnership in the history of the National Park Service and is charged with the responsibility of bringing the National Mall Plan to life. The plan was approved by the Park Service in 2010, and contains a comprehensive blueprint and detailed action plan to enhance the National Mall's beauty, usefulness, and sustainability.

The Trust for the National Mall plans to raise $350 million from the nation's leading corporations, foundations, philanthropists, and individuals from all corners of America. With their help - and with YOURS - we will not only fund this necessary effort, but we will build a once-in-a-generation movement to create stewards of the National Mall across the country.

Everybody has a stake in America's Front Yard. It is a place where all Americans, and people from around the globe, can gather to celebrate our freedoms, and the beauty of our nation's capital.

Main Programs

  1. THE LOCKKEEPER’S HOUSE: Rehabilitation of Constitution Gardens - Phase 1
Service Areas



The Trust for the National Mall is the official non-profit partner of the National Park Service dedicated to restoring and improving the National Mall.  The National Mall is truly America's Front Yard; therefore, we hope to engage all Americans in its restoration and we are dedicated to providing educational and volunteer opportunities for the more than 33 million people who visit the Mall each year from across the country and world.

ruling year


President & CEO since 2016


Ms. Catherine Townsend



national mall, national park service, national mall plan, trust, washington dc

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Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Fund Raising and/or Fund Distribution (W12)

Environmental Quality, Protection, and Beautification N.E.C. (C99)

Arts, Cultural Organizations - Multipurpose (A20)

IRS Filing Requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

Programs + Results

How does this organization make a difference?


Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Program 1

THE LOCKKEEPER’S HOUSE: Rehabilitation of Constitution Gardens - Phase 1

The Rehabilitation of Constitution Gardens is designed to be constructed in two phases. Phase one centers around the restoration of the historic Lockkeeper’s House, the oldest building on the National Mall, and is ‘shovel ready.’ Phase One will establish a visual presence to provide a ceremonial entrance, donor recognition, exhibit space and interpretative programming for the Mall. The construction will include a new stone wall, a new entry plaza, the relocation of the Lockkeeper’s House from its current dangerous location, exhibit and storytelling devices to enhance the visitor experience, and landscape improvements.

The Lockkeeper’s House at the corner of 17th and Constitution Ave. NW is the oldest structure on the National Mall. It not only represents the development and commerce of our Nation’s Capital, but has been a witness of our Nation’s history. With the birth of the nation and a plan for the “Monumental City,” George Washington advocated for canals. Washington viewed them as essential for our economy and “fundamental to our nationhood,” as they transported both goods and people.

Construction of the Washington Canal began at the turn of the 19th century, and was later connected to the C&O Canal in the 1830’s. At this junction sat the Lockkeeper’s House.

There, the Lockkeeper collected tolls and kept trade records as merchandise such as building materials, produce and coal entered the Capital City. Decades later, the Potomac River was dredged to clear navigation channels, resulting in the creation of Potomac Park and the filling-in of the Washington City Canal.

With the creation of Potomac Park, many new opportunities for recreation became available. The Park included tennis courts, a small golf course, bridal paths and a swimming pool in the Tidal Basin. The function of the Lockkeeper’s house also changed to meet these needs, serving as a tool shed for park staff and engineers, a watchman’s lodge and even a temporary holding cell for Park Police.

Over the last 100 years, the Lockkeeper’s House has witnessed our nation’s history. From the early to mid 20th century, it rested in the shadows of War Department buildings which existed during our nation’s engagement in the two world wars. During the 1960’s and 70’s, the House witnessed historical civil rights and war protests. And in the late 1970’s, it became a part of the American Bicentennial celebration with the construction of Constitution Gardens as it exists today.


Population(s) Served


Program 2


The U.S. Park Police Stables are located on the National Mall in an area known as Ash Woods - situated southwest of the Lincoln Reflecting Pool between the Korean War Memorial and the D.C. WWI Memorial. The existing facilities provide stabling for up to 20 horses used daily by the Park Police to patrol the Mall, Tidal Basin, and adjoining park areas. In addition to the stalls, there is a small outdoor paddock; storage space for hay, bedding, feed and other tools and supplies; and a wash stall and tack room.

The United States Park Police Horse Mounted Unit is one of the oldest police equestrian units in the United States. Established in 1934, it consisted of one horse rented from a local stable. As the value of the mounted unit was proven, it expanded to an operational strength that patrols and provides protection in the Washington Metropolitan Area as well as New York and San Francisco.

The Nation’s Capital hosts a wide variety of civic functions each year. During the 1960’s and the 1970’s, the mounted police, in addition to being an attractive unit for display in parades, were found to be highly effective in crowd and traffic management at these functions. The horses were carefully trained and conditioned to maneuver in crowds of people and through heavily traveled roadways so they would not endanger the public, themselves, or riders.
Unfortunately, the current stables and buildings are outdated and no longer meet the needs of the Park Police. The Police require more horses than the facility can handle - and worse - last year, the Park Police’s administrative offices, a trailer adjacent to the stable, was condemned for sewer flooding.

The site’s location on the National Mall is highly visible. It’s appearance and visual impact on the surrounding area and visitors is tremendously important. Improvements are critical. The National Mall Plan, developed by the National Park Service and signed by the Secretary of Interior in November of 2010, calls for the existing stables to be replaced.

The National Mall and Memorial Parks and the US Park Police envision an administrative facility and stable infrastructure integrated into a singular design that functions efficiently using sustainable best practices. The facilities will be secure, welcoming and reflective of the historical character and dignity of the National Mall. The plan also calls for better accommodating the operational needs of the USPP Horse Mounted Unit while providing an opportunity to educate the public about its rich history and modern-day value.


Population(s) Served


Program 3


The National Mall is our nation’s center stage and the site of some of the most important acts of communication and communion in our country. At the heart of the Mall and visible for miles, the Washington Monument is the literal and philosophical compass for our nation - a timeless symbol of the spirit upon which our nation was founded.

Extending from this central landmark, the Washington Monument Grounds at Sylvan Theater will embody the surprise and magic of the Shakespearean forest that inspired the name of the original theater nearly a century ago.

The redesign of Sylvan Theater is based on the belief that the architectural evolution of the Monument Grounds must enrich the landscape and the park-like character of the Mall. A diverse range of flexible environments will accommodate new amenities to enrich visitor experiences and the opportunity to experience the story of our nation’s past and the unfolding of the future.

The reoriented amphitheater defines a new performance horizon bringing all forms of music, dance, theater, symphony, film screenings, spoken word, and multimedia to a new audience.

Adjacent to the amphitheater, the Monument Plaza and Welcome Terrace will become a multi-use destination. This new setting will provide a layered tapestry that weaves together performance, education, recreation, and sustainability to create a compelling new vision for the future of the Washington Monument Grounds.

The design for the Washington Monument Grounds at Sylvan Theater is a collaborative effort between the firms of OLIN and WEISS/MANFREDI. To date, the design has been the recipient of two prestigious international architecture awards:

by Architecture Magazine

by the Chicago Athenaeum: Museum of Architecture and Design; and the European Centre for Architecture, Art, Design, and Urban Studies.


Population(s) Served


Program 4


Dedicated on April 9, 2002, the Memorial honors the little known but widely felt contributions of an important founding father. George Mason wrote the Virginia Declaration of Rights and attended the Constitutional Convention in 1787.
The Memorial features a 72-foot (22 m) long stone wall with a one-third larger than life-sized statue of a sitting Mason, his legs crossed, and a circular pool. The site features an extensive perennial garden designed by the landscape architect Faye B. Harwell. The sculptor was Wendy M. Ross.
The George Mason Memorial is located near the intersection of Ohio Drive and East Basin Drive, SW, which is in West Potomac Park, District of Columbia.
The memorial grounds are sorely in need of restoration, including a renovation of new plantings, paving, irrigation system and fountain renovation.

At its location at the southern tip of the Tidal Basin, the George Mason memorial marks the southernmost portion of West Potomac Park. It sits just north of the George Mason Memorial Bridge, one of five spans in the 14th Street Bridge Complex that mark the northwest boundary East Potomac Park.
Motorists can most easily access the memorial from Ohio Drive SW or East Basin Drive SW. There also are several pedestrian and bicycle paths around the memorial and the bridge. Visitors to the memorial are also in easy walking distance to the Jefferson Memorial and the Franklin D. Roosevelt Memorial.

A prominent lawyer from Fairfax County, Virginia, George Mason was instrumental in shaping the government of the United States. Shortly before the American Revolution, he drafted the Virginia Declaration of Rights, which recognized and protected certain rights inherent to all citizens.
Mason was one of seven men sent to Philadelphia to represent Virginia at the Constitutional Convention. However, he was strongly opposed to the Constitution as it was originally drafted and was among the leaders of the opposition. It was not until the Bill of Rights was included that he agreed to sign the document.
Mason’s name is not as recognizable as many of his contemporaries, but he was no less important in the shaping of the American legal system as it is known today. He is remembered not only by the George Mason Memorial on the National Mall, but also by his historic home and museum in Mason Neck, VA, and by George Mason University in Fairfax, VA.

The site was originally a 19th century Victorian garden. The McMillan Commission of 1902 designated the area as a national garden, and four fountains were added in 1906. The garden underwent a redesign and reopened as the Pansy Garden in 1929. However, by the end of the 1940s, many of the gardens and all but one of the fountains had been removed due to construction of the 14th Street Bridge. The existing fountain is the only remnat from what had once been 50 acres of nurseries and gardens.
The memorial was specifically designed around the historic fountain to incorporate the history of the site and George Mason’s love of gardens.The planting strategy draws inspiration from Mason’s plantation, Gunston Hall. The original plan called for several types of perennials that would have been found in traditional 18th-century gardens, like daylilies, coneflowers, irises, black-eyed Susans, and daffodils. The statue itself sits gazing toward the Tidal Basin beneath an ornamental pergola, surrounded by several inscriptions of Mason’s quotations. The sculptor used a unique multi-layer patina on the statue’s face and hands to give them greater depth and realism.

Now thirteen years old, the memorial is in need of rehabilitation. Several of the flower beds and turf areas have been worn into dirt patches and need new seeding and planting. New, vibrant plants will help attract people back to this often overlooked memorial. In addition, the historic fountain lies empty. Before it was emptied, it was plagued by algae. Repairs and rehabilitation will return the fountain to a beautiful, functioning attraction.
Regular maintenance will be necessary to keep in the site in a condition appropriate for the National Mall. In addition to periodic conservation of the bronze statue, the pergola and benches will need to be protected.

As the official non-profit partner of the National Mall, the Trust for the National Mall is working with the National Park Service to rehabilitate the George Mason Memorial. The Trust has secured financing from the Dr. Scholl Foundation to help finance the work necessary to restore the site.


Population(s) Served


Service Areas



The Trust for the National Mall is the official non-profit partner of the National Park Service dedicated to restoring and improving the National Mall.  The National Mall is truly America's Front Yard; therefore, we hope to engage all Americans in its restoration and we are dedicated to providing educational and volunteer opportunities for the more than 33 million people who visit the Mall each year from across the country and world.

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Funding Needs

The National Park Service is facing an estimated $850 million repair and maintenance backlog for the National Mall. Contrary to popular belief, the necessary restoration and preservation efforts are not entirely funded by Congress or other government entities and needs private, foundation and individual support and funding.


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Fiscal year: Jan 01-Dec 31
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The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

Trust for the National Mall



Free: Gain immediate access to the following:
  • Address, phone, website and contact information
  • Forms 990 for 2014, 2013 and 2012
  • Board Chair and Board Members
  • Access to the GuideStar Community
Need the ability to download nonprofit data and more advanced search options? Consider a Premium or Pro Search subscription.

President & CEO

Ms. Catherine Townsend


Catherine Townsend is the new president and CEO for the Trust for the National Mall, a non-profit dedicated to restoring, improving and preserving the National Mall: home to the history, heroes and hope of America. With over 28 years of experience working in the non-profit sector, Catherine has dedicated her career to supporting organizations with important missions. In 2014 she developed her own consulting practice, providing coaching and resource support to non-profit CEOs/Executive Directors for their high priority needs. From 2012 to 2014, she served as the President and Executive Director of the DC Public Education Fund, the independent non-profit that invests private funds in progressive initiatives to improve student outcomes at DC Public Schools. Over a period of two years, Catherine led a small team to raise and implement millions of dollars in grant funding for DCPS school improvement initiatives. In addition, she helped refine the brand as a proof point for innovation for DCPS and streamlined the organization for long-term sustainability.

Prior to joining the DC Public Education Fund, Catherine served as Senior Advisor at Townsend Public Affairs (a family-owned business) and launched the Federal practice in Washington, DC in 2008. In addition to supporting client agendas and managing relationships with Members of Congress, Catherine advised the President on firm-wide operations and human resource management for all offices.

Catherine's non-profit career was shaped as she served for 17 years as the Associate Director of Share Our Strength, a national non-profit organization she helped to build from a fledgling organization to a leader in ending childhood hunger (currently known for its No Kid Hungry campaign). Catherine co-created events such as the nationally acclaimed Taste of the Nation and cause-marketing programs, raising millions of dollars annually for distribution in grants to non-profits organizations throughout the United States and in select developing countries. Her strong connections with prominent national chefs resulted in the publication of her cookbook, HOME FOOD: 44 Great American Chefs Cook on their Night Off (pub. 1995, Clarkson Potter) co-authored with Debbie Shore, co-founder of Share Our Strength.

Catherine is an experienced public speaker and has traveled to numerous cities throughout the U.S. and Canada, as well as to Africa and South America. She grew up in Southern California and has a B.A. from Scripps College in Claremont, California. She is a member of Greater Leadership Washington class of 2014 and serves on the boards of Playworks DC and Capital Water Polo Club. She is also the founder, commissioner and coach of HoopGirls DC, a girls youth empowerment program through the game of basketball, established in 2004 for ages 8-13 on Capitol Hill.



John E. "Chip" Akridge III


Term: Jan 2007 -


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