Paul W. Edmondson

Paul W. Edmondson

Senior Advisor

With a career spanning more than 35 years as a nonprofit executive and attorney, Paul Edmondson has deep experience in historic preservation law and in nonprofit management and governance.

From 2019 to 2023, Paul served as President & CEO of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the nonprofit leader of America’s historic preservation movement.  As CEO, Paul was responsible for overseeing the full range of programs and operations of a complex nonprofit organization with consolidated annual operating expenses of more than $70 million, including several for-profit and nonprofit subsidiaries.  Paul bore ultimate responsibility for the programmatic direction, fiscal management, and fundraising operations of the National Trust, made more challenging during his tenure as CEO due to the complications of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Before being named as president, Paul led the National Trust’s legal team for more than two decades as the organization’s general counsel.  In that role, he was responsible for managing the National Trust’s corporate legal requirements and board governance responsibilities. Overseeing the National Trust’s legal services and advocacy work, he also helped to ensure the enforcement and effective interpretation of preservation laws at the federal, state, and local levels.  At the same time, Paul has worked with developers, property owners, and local preservationists to find effective solutions to preservation challenges, and advance creative strategies to ensure the long-term sustainability of historic properties and cultural landscapes across the country.

In addition to serving as a senior advisor to the Fund to Conserve, Paul currently is a member of the board of directors of Partners for Sacred Places, a nonprofit organization focused on advancing the preservation of historic religious properties nationwide, where he serves as chair of the board’s governance committee. He also serves on the board of the Finca Vigía Foundation, established to preserve the home and collections of Earnest Hemingway in San Francisco de Paola, Cuba.

Paul’s extensive preservation experience combined with his life experience growing up in a foreign service family translates into an invaluable perspective and appreciation of the United States’ cultural heritage abroad.  Paul’s father, William Edmondson, was a career foreign service officer at the U.S. Department of State and he served as U.S. Ambassador to Africa from 1978-81.

Paul received his B.A. from Cornell University in 1976 in Anthropology/Archaeology and his J.D. from American University in 1981.  He is a member of the District of Columbia Bar.