NCF and NACD Launch Leadership Development Program

February 4, 2019

SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS – Today, the National Conservation Foundation (NCF), in partnership with the National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD), launched the Next Generation Leadership Institute (NGLI), a program to develop opportunities for the next generation of conservation leaders.

Launched at NACD’s 73rd Annual Meeting, NGLI’s objectives include developing a program for future leaders, creating knowledgeable leaders and ambassadors, creating grassroots advocates, and creating a financial model for sustaining the initiative.

“We must equip the conservation leaders of tomorrow with the skills they need today,” NCF Chairman Steve Robinson said. “While NCF is passionate about engaging the next generation, we recognize it is equally our responsibility to ensure the conservation mission will prevail long after we’re gone. Those who will continue the legacy of locally-led conservation efforts will achieve greater success if they have access to the tools and resources needed to lead conservation efforts at the local level. This institute will provide training, education and access to individuals and resources to advance the next generation of conservation leaders to new heights.”

An advisory committee met during NACD’s annual meeting to establish goals and outcomes for the first three years of the inaugural class. The intention of the program is upon successful completion, participant leaders will be capable of maintaining and improving conservation district efforts for their communities and regions. Program topics could include the conservation partnership and its history, personal leadership development, media training, conflict resolution guidance, diversity outreach, grassroots advocacy, board governance and more.

Last fall, NCF and NACD conducted a successful campaign to raise funds to support the NGLI’s programmatic operations and to build an endowment fund. Through the campaign’s efforts, over $80,000 was raised through individual and institutional contributions.

Visit NACD’s website to learn more about the Next Generation Leadership Institute (NGLI).


About the National Association of Conservation Districts:

The National Association of Conservation Districts is the non-profit organization that represents the nation’s 3,000 conservation districts, their state and territory associations, and the 17,000 men and women who serve on their governing boards. For more than 70 years, local conservation districts have worked with cooperating landowners and managers of private working lands to help them plan and apply effective conservation practices. For more information about NACD, visit:

NGLI was formally launched in August of 2019 as a year-long program to advance conservation leadership. The 2024 NGLI cohort participants were selected through a competitive national application process. This will be the fourth cohort for the program.  

The 2024 cohort consists of Excell La Fayette, Jr of Oklahoma; Kelli Bowen of North Dakota; Vincent Thompson of Kentucky; Kirk Daniel of Tennessee; and Glenn Takai of Guam.  

NGLI participants will meet for four training sessions throughout the year, with a capstone session at the National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD) annual meeting in 2025. The NGLI curriculum will equip these leaders with skills and resources for personal, civic, and organizational leadership development.  

This comprehensive training will help participants rise to meet the future needs of natural resources management, preparing them to navigate and manage complex conservation challenges – both current and future – at the national level. 

The cohort will convene for their first session at the 2024 NACD Annual Meeting in San Diego, California from February 10-14, 2024. Learn more at