Lila Leff Joins NRF Board of Trustees

November 4, 2019  |  Emerson Collective, Lila Leff, Umoja
Lila Leff
Lila Leff

National Recreation Foundation proudly announces the addition of our newest trustee, Lila Leff. Lila is a seasoned organization executive, consultant to nonprofit organizations and transformational thought leader in the area of services to youth in disadvantaged circumstances. Lila's impressive career of improving educational and employment outcomes for high poverty and homeless youth includes co-founding /leading EDGE/UP, a federally funded school-to-work pilot for high poverty sponsored by Senator Paul Simon. Lila later founded and served as CEO for the award-winning Umoja Student Development Corporation on the south side of Chicago.  

Lila served as an advisor to NRF in 2015-2016 as we developed and launched our grantee workshop program  to offer professional development opportunities to the leaders at NRF grantee organizations. Her expertise in organizational sustainability and leadership development, as well as knowledge of best practices in the field combined with a keen sense of humor, guaranteed the success of the workshops.

In 2016, Lila was selected by former Secretary of Education Arne Duncan to serve as the Chief Program Officer of Emerson Collective’s anti-violence start up, Chicago CRED (Creating Real Economic Destiny). Lila, led the strategy, design and implementation of mental health, trauma supports, career development and training for young men in Chicago’s most violent South and West Side neighborhoods.

Lila's innovative approach to social emotional learning, cutting edge anti-violence work and restorative justice programs have transformed the lives of thousands of high risk youth, the agencies she and ultimately the communities she has worked in. 

Lila and her family recently waved goodbye to the Windy City and now they call North Carolina home.

Lila shared these observations about her NRF appointment:

I love the variety of organizations that NRF champions while keeping its laser-like focus on getting young people active and outdoors. I especially admire how NRF consistently seeds organizations that are early in their journey, investing when they most need the support and credibility a grant from NRF offers. 

Welcome, Lila!