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Rails-to-Trails Conservancy hires Chao as its new president

Published November 27, 2018

WASHINGTON (BRAIN) — Rails-to-Trails Conservancy has hired Ryan Chao, currently the vice president of the Center for Civic Sites and Community Change at the Annie E. Casey Foundation, as the organization's third president. Chao will join RTC on Jan. 28.

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"The board is incredibly enthusiastic about the rich perspective that Ryan will bring to Rails-to-Trails Conservancy and the entire trails movement," said Kate Kraft, RTC's board chair and executive director of America Walks. "At RTC, we have long believed in the power of trails — especially connected trail networks — to deliver far-reaching benefits to communities. Ryan's leadership will be powerful in engaging new sectors in the work to connect the nation by trail."

As vice president of the Center for Civic Sites and Community Change, Chao oversaw the Casey Foundation's multisector place-based strategies. Two projects of note for the trails movement include significant neighborhood transformation initiatives in Atlanta and Baltimore intended to link economic, educational and housing programs with outcomes focused on strengthening families and communities — communities that are also home to emerging trail networks, the Atlanta Beltline and the Baltimore Greenway Trails Network, an RTC TrailNation project.

Chao said, "Across the spectrum of my work in community change, access to safe places to walk and bike has proven to be a common need in all types of neighborhoods. I am inspired by the opportunity to connect my passion for social impact, my expertise in community reinvestment, and the promise trails hold as critical civic infrastructure.

"In its 32 years, RTC has made an invaluable impact on the country, making possible more than 34,000 miles of trail nationwide. I'm humbled and honored to lead the organization into its next chapter and to bring to this work a strong, diverse base of partnerships that can solidify trails as necessary infrastructure and vital community assets."

In May, RTC announced the retirement of the organization's longtime president, Keith Laughlin. 

Topics associated with this article: Advocacy/Non-profits

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