Meet our New VP of Development: Howard Axel

Howard Axel, VP of Development, with a model of Four Freedoms Park

Howard Axel, VP of Development, with a model of Four Freedoms Park

We are thrilled to welcome our new Vice President of Development, Howard Axel! Howard joined the Conservancy in June and brings with him over twenty years of development experience. Previously, Howard worked at Grameen America, a national nonprofit micro-lender, where he was Senior Vice President. He spent the past four years building Grameen from a small operation into the largest provider of micro-loans in the United States, and in 2015, he led their national efforts to raise $15MM in contributions. 

We asked Howard to answer a few questions so you could get to know him better - read on to see what he has to say! 

What excited you about working at Four Freedoms Park? 

First, I think everyone would agree the memorial site itself, designed by Louis Kahn, is one of the most extraordinary places in New York. Second, to be part of building and promoting the legacy and culture of FDR is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that I couldn’t pass up!

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I was born in Brooklyn and grew up in suburban New York. I’ve spent most of my life in New England, including my college years in Rhode Island. I’ve had, what I would call, a circuitous career -- stops along the way have included the Trust for Public Land, Rock the Vote, and a 10- year interlude in the entertainment business. Most recently I served as Senior Vice President at Grameen America, an incredible non-profit founded by Nobel Peace Laureate Muhammad Yunus. It’s great to be able to bring all of these experiences to help build the Conservancy in this very important expansion phase. 

What’s your favorite FDR quote?

"If civilization is to survive, we must cultivate the science of human relationships - the ability of all peoples, of all kinds, to live together, in the same world at peace."  

Do you have a hidden talent most people don’t know about?

My hidden talent is something I learned from my grandmother who grew up on a farm – I love to garden. Right now I have hibiscus growing on my balcony.

What’s on your Bucket List?

Climbing the Atlas Mountains in Morocco.

What’s your favorite ice cream flavor?

Being a non-dairy eater, coconut sorbet is my favorite cold dessert.

Name your go-to karaoke song. 

I usually pick one of friend Carol King’s songs – she has inspired me for years with her dedication to human rights.

Say hi to Howard here!