Who We Are

Our Team

Executive Director: Sophie Twichell

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Sophie joined the National Recreation Foundation in 2014 as its executive director after spending 25 years in the nonprofit sector. She served as the executive director of Brushwood Center at Ryerson Woods in Riverwoods, Illinois for over ten years. There she identified which segments of the community were not users of public open space, and then launched a series of successful programs to engage these populations with the outdoors, thereby affording access to the myriad of health benefits derived by time in nature. Prior to that, she managed international conservation programs for The Field Museum in Chicago and served as assistant director of the Lake Michigan Federation, today’s Alliance for the Great Lakes.

Active in her community, Sophie is a member of the Lake County Health Department’s Live Well Lake County Steering Committee and the Be Active Action Team, in addition to the Woman's Board of the Chicago Horticultural Society. She serves on the boards of the Lake Bluff Open Lands, Lake Forest Garden Club and Nature’s Edge, and she is the Vice Chairman for National Parks & Public Lands for Garden Club of America's Conservation Committee.

Sophie graduated summa cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania with a BA in cultural anthropology, and she earned her law degree with honors from the Chicago-Kent College of Law with a certificate in Environmental & Energy Law. Email Sophie.

Partnerships Consultant: Tim Richardson

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With over 40 years of experience in youth development, sponsor relations, military relations, partnership negotiations, program development and resource development, Tim’s focus is on improving the lives of youth living in under-resourced communities. After serving as a National Recreation Foundation trustee for 13 years, Tim changed roles in 2019. With Legacy International, LLC, Tim has been retained to assist the Foundation in building partnerships and grantee capacity.

Tim founded Legacy International in 2009 to help not-for-profit agencies in the U.S. and abroad maximize existing resources and reach their stretch goals. Recent clients include: U.S. Tennis Association Foundation, C.A.R.E., The First Tee, U.S. State Department, Behind the Bench (NBA Wives Association), Bridge to Cross (South Africa), General Organization for Youth and Sports (Kingdom of Bahrain), Connor Sport Court and Organization of Black Aerospace Professionals. Tim currently serves on the board of the Maynard Jackson Youth Foundation.

Prior to launching Legacy International, Tim's professional career spanned 28 years with Boys & Girls Clubs of America with his final position being Vice President of Military Services and International Projects.

Richardson earned his BS degree in business administration and marketing at Chapman University in Orange, California. Email Tim.

Charles E. Hartsoe Fellow

Charles E. Hartsoe Fellow: Kevin Naaman

Kevin is a PhD student at Indiana University’s School of Education, studying Inquiry Methodology in the Counseling and Educational Psychology Department. Kevin received an MS in Outdoor Recreation from Indiana University’s School of Public Health. He also holds two BAs in Psychology and Anthropology. His academic emphasis is on applying statistical models to analyze the health benefits derived from recreation. Upon graduation, he hopes to work as a research scientist for a public health institute such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Kevin has experience working as a Project Support Staff member at the Eppley Institute for Parks and Public Lands in Bloomington, Indiana. This is where he developed an appreciation for the field of recreation and all the individuals who strive to empower communities. Kevin is excited to work for the National Recreation Foundation and help advance the Foundation’s mission. Email Kevin.