Williamsport, Md. – The C&O Canal Trust’s board of directors is pleased to announce it has named Lauren Riviello as its new president and CEO. Riviello has more than a decade of nonprofit leadership experience and is deeply passionate about the Trust and its mission. She has served as the Trust’s director of development since February 2021 and will assume the role of president and CEO on April 1, 2023.
As the official nonprofit partner of the C&O Canal National Historical Park (NHP), the mission of the C&O Canal Trust is to work in partnership with the National Park Service (NPS) and local communities to raise funds to preserve the Park for future generations, and to broaden support through programs that highlight the Park’s historical, natural, and cultural heritage and recreational opportunities. The Trust raises critical funds and resources to support various projects and visitor services in the Park.
“After an extensive search that included consideration of other excellent candidates, the Trust’s board unanimously and enthusiastically agreed that Lauren is the right person to lead us into the future,” said Chairman of the Board of Directors John Guttmann. “We are all excited that she will be president and CEO.”
During Riviello’s tenure leading the Trust’s development team, the organization has steadily enhanced its fundraising efforts. When the Trust’s largest annual fundraiser, Park After Dark, could not be held in 2021 due to COVID-19 restrictions, Riviello pivoted and created Picnic in the Park, a smaller-scale fundraising event that successfully garnered support greater than the full-scale event. She also led planning efforts for the return of Park After Dark in 2022, celebrating the Trust’s 15th anniversary. It surpassed the Trust’s fundraising goals and previous Park After Dark events. It also raised $55,000 to support the Park’s work to preserve and protect rare, threatened, and endangered plants, a project Riviello has helped make possible through her efforts to seek funding for the work of the Park’s Natural Resources division. Under her leadership, funding has stabilized for the Trust’s Canal For All program, which provides opportunities for education, stewardship, and volunteerism that are safe, welcoming, and inclusive for all. The development team has grown in size under Riviello’s leadership.
“The Trust is a vibrant organization that provides critical support for the Park and its more than five million visitors,” said Riviello. “I am delighted to deepen my work with Park leadership, our Board, staff, and our canal community to ensure this incredible resource endures into the future.”
A native of Shepherdstown, West Va., Riviello worked at the Brookline Arts Center (BAC) in Massachusetts before returning to the area. She served in many roles at BAC, including Assistant Director, Director of Operations, and Executive Director. Prior to joining the BAC, she served as the Managing Director of Gallery 263 in Cambridge, Mass. Riviello earned a Bachelor of Science in Journalism from West Virginia University and a Certificate in Nonprofit Management and Leadership from The Institute for Nonprofit Practice at Tufts University. She lives in the eastern panhandle of West Virginia with her husband and daughter and is passionate about nature, art, education, and food.
The C&O Canal Trust celebrated its 15th anniversary in 2022. The organization has been under the leadership of Robin Zanotti since April 2015, and has doubled its revenue and achieved substantial organizational growth during that time. Zanotti and the Trust’s board of directors have participated in a year of succession planning to ensure a seamless change in leadership as she retires. Zanotti is currently working with Riviello to transition her into this new role so the organization can maintain revenue and program growth momentum.
“It’s a great honor to make room for Lauren as the C&O Canal Trust’s new leader,” said Zanotti. “Lauren has demonstrated her skill and acumen as director of development and is the right person for the important position of President & CEO. I could not be more pleased and only hope her tenure in the role will be as rewarding as it has been for me.”
The president and CEO of the Trust works hand-in-hand with NPS leadership at the C&O Canal NHP. Not only are the Trust’s offices located in the C&O Canal NHP headquarters, but Trust and Park personnel interact on a daily basis. A truly collaborative partnership is necessary for the success of the Trust and its goals.
“I am excited to work more closely with Lauren in her new capacity as president and CEO of the Trust,” said C&O Canal National Historical Park Superintendent Tina Cappetta. “I am confident that together we can continue to build on the strong partnership cultivated and foundation laid by Robin Zanotti during her years of service to the Trust.”
About the C&O Canal Trust
The C&O Canal Trust, as the official nonprofit partner of the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park, works in partnership with the National Park Service and local communities to raise funds to preserve the Park for future generations and to broaden support through programs that highlight the Park’s historical, natural, and cultural heritage, and recreational opportunities. It is a 501(c)(3) organization. For more information about the Trust, visit www.canaltrust.org.
About the C&O Canal National Historical Park
The Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park preserves and interprets the historical, natural, and recreational resources of the C&O Canal. The 11th most visited national Park, the C&O Canal NHP has more than 5 million visitors annually. For more information, visit the Park’s website at http://www.nps.gov/choh.