Fairmount Park Conservancy Lands Award-Winning Executive Director

The position has been empty since early 2016, when the Mayor recruited the former director to be Philly's Parks and Rec Commissioner.
Rick Magder | Photo courtesy of the Fairmount Park Conservancy

Rick Magder | Photo courtesy of the Fairmount Park Conservancy

The Fairmount Park Conservancy announced in a statement today that it has hired Rick Magder as its new executive director effective September 1st.

The position became vacant when Mayor Jim Kenney recruited then-executive manager, Kathryn Ott Lovell, to be Commissioner of Philadelphia Parks & Recreation.

Lauded as a “nationally recognized leader in conservation and urban renewal” by the Conservancy, Magder currently serves as the founding Executive Director of Groundwork Hudson Valley and the Executive Director of Groundwork USA in Yonkers, NY. Magder also launched the Yonkers River Trail that connects New York City to downtown Yonkers, and seeks to “[reclaim] miles of vacant brownfield sites through one of the [New York] region’s most underserved communities.” He has received many prestigious awards including the Conservation Hero award from the National Park Service and the Partners in Conservation Award.

“Rick’s prior work, most notably at Groundwork Hudson Valley, NY, and Groundwork USA, is evidence of a life-long passion for parks and open space, a commitment to thoughtful environmental stewardship, and a track record of working with diverse, often underserved communities, to achieve transformative results in both people and places,” John Gattuso, Board President of the Conservancy said.

Robert Baron, president and board chair of Groundwork Hudson Valley, also spoke highly of Magder, citing the “indelible mark” that Magder made on Yonkers and the Hudson Valley.

“Rick has been a dynamic innovator,” Baron said. “He will be sorely missed, but we are excited for him — and proud of him — as he takes this next step in his career. Philadelphia and Fairmount Park Conservancy are fortunate to be getting such an incredibly talented leader.”

Magder will move to Philadelphia with his wife and two children this summer ahead of his start date in fall. He holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Michigan and masters of public administration with a concentration in urban policy from Columbia University.

“I feel incredibly fortunate to be working in Philadelphia on issues I care deeply about and to work together with all of the talented people in town to restore and activate one of the greatest urban park systems in the country,” Magder said.

Fairmount Park includes 10,200 acres of land and 100 neighborhoods. It is the one of the largest urban parks in the world.