History, Heroes, and Hope Award
2014 Recipient: John E. "Chip" Akridge III
John E. "Chip" Akridge III
2014 History, Heroes and Hope Award Recipient
The National Mall's history is integral to the American narrative, and the Award is presented to innovative leaders who have made exceptional civic contributions, distinguished themselves in public service, and made a lasting impact on our country. In 2014, the Trust for the National Mall Board of Directors could think of no one more deserving of the inaugural Award than the Founder and Chairman of the Trust for the National Mall, John E. "Chip Akridge III.
Chip's involvement in the preservation of the National Mall—and the story of the Trust's founding—began when he was challenged by an individual who told him what a disgrace the National Mall had become. As the Founder and Chairman of the commercial real estate firm bearing his name, Chip was dismayed when he examined the National Mall from the perspective of a developer and property manager. He traversed the park with his camera, accumulating evidence of the Mall's wear and tear to share with the National Park Service and Capitol Hill. He leveraged his considerable private sector expertise to set in action his vision to make the National Mall the best park in the world.
Chip has testified before Congress and met with secretaries of the Department of the Interior, countless city and federal officials, planners and environmental groups, educational and civic leaders, and philanthropists. In seven short years, the Trust raised $46 million for the Campaign for the National Mall. His wife Sally founded and continues to serve on the Women's Leadership Committee, the driving force behind the Trust's signature annual event, the Benefit Luncheon. Chip and Sally's generous personal gifts to the Trust have inspired countless other business associates and friends to support the Campaign.
After graduating from Harvard Business School, Chip served in active duty as an officer in the U.S.. Army. He currently lives on Maryland's Eastern Shore with his family, where he is focused on restoring wetland and wildlife habitats and is a dedicated supporter of organizations like the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and the Nature Conservancy of Maryland.