The Trust for Public Land Announces Civil Rights Leader Ben Jealous Joins National Board

The Trust for Public Land announced today civil rights activist and former Democratic Nominee for Governor of Maryland, Ben Jealous, has joined the group’s National Board of Directors. Jealous was elected to the board on February 25, 2021. 

“Creating equal access to resources like public parks and recreation areas ensures the long-term physical and mental health of all citizens and ultimately creates stronger communities,” said Jealous. “I’m honored to have this opportunity to join The Trust for Public Land and to devote time and resources to bringing the benefits of close-to-home parks to those who need them the most.”

Jealous is currently serving as president of People For the American Way and People For the American Way Foundation and is a visiting scholar at the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg School for Communication, School of Social Policy & Practice (SP2), and the Wharton School. A former Rhodes Scholar, Jealous is a graduate of Columbia University and Oxford University. Jealous was the youngest person ever elected as National President & CEO of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), where he served from 2008-2013. He is credited with bringing the organization into the digital age where he led a series of wholesale changes in how the organization used social media and related technologies to enhance its organizing. 

Jealous was also the 2018 Democratic Nominee for Governor of Maryland, former Executive Director of the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA), and for more than half a decade has been investing in social impact startups. 

His current class at SP2, Social Innovation, aims to teach students about how to change the world through advocacy and draws on his experiences as a community organizer and civil rights leader. 

Parks are an essential part of improving public health, protecting vulnerable communities from the impacts of the climate crisis, and building strong community cohesion. And yet, 100 million people, including 28 million kids, do not have access to a quality park within a 10-minute walk from home. The parks we do have are not equitable, 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.  

To bring health, climate and community benefits of the outdoors to all, The Trust for Public Land is leading a coalition of more than 200 community organizations to push for a one-time, historic $500 million investment in park equity future federal stimulus legislation. In addition, The Trust for Public Land is challenging the private sector to invest $50 million for the new Equitable Communities Fund to energize and accelerate the efforts of historically marginalized communities to create parks and open space across 62 communities where funding can be used immediately to help expand access. 

About The Trust for Public Land 

The Trust for Public Land creates parks and protects land for people, ensuring healthy, livable communities for generations to come. Millions of people live near a Trust for Public Land park, garden, or natural area, and millions more visit these sites every year. To support The Trust for Public Land and share why nature matters to you, visit