Omar Brownson – Executive Director
As an Angeleno, Omar is inspired by the way the LA River brings our region together. He is amazed to wake up every day and love what he does – working to make LA a better place for all. When he first visited the LA River, he fell in love with its possibilities. It offers public space, water (really!), and a continuous greenway for 51 miles that extends through the heart of our city.
As Executive Director of River LA, Omar leads our strategic vision. He seeks to build a broad coalition across the public, private, and philanthropic sectors to champion the LA River. River LA acts as a hub to drive forward tangible change along the river.
Omar was hired in January 2011 with a background in purpose-driven real estate finance, project development and community investment. His track record is entrepreneurial, rooted in scaling transformational initiatives. He completed a joint-Masters in Public Policy and Urban Planning from the Harvard Kennedy School and Graduate School of Design where his team won the ULI/Hines Urban Design Competition. He served in Americorps as a Public Ally and then was a Coro Fellow after graduating from the University of California, Davis.
Among other leadership roles and recognitions, he has served as Chair of the Board of the Liberty Hill Foundation; Southern California Leadership Network California Connections Fellow; Member of the Mayor’s Los Angeles Food Policy Council; the Advisory Council of the venture philanthropy group REDF; Advisory Board of the for-profit social enterprise Isidore Recycling; and Stanton Fellowship of the Durfee Foundation (2014-15).
Omar thinks pretty much every weekend spent with his family is ideal.