David J. Brown, the founder of Bearden Brown LLC, is a national nonprofit leader, speaker, and author with an established four-decade record of growing and strengthening organizations at local, state, national, and international levels. His knowledge of nonprofits and NGOs is combined with proven fundraising experience, program conceptualization and delivery, effective public engagement, extensive governing board involvement, forward-looking strategic planning, and leadership development.
David has served in senior executive and governance roles for local, state, national, and international preservation and heritage conservation groups. At the National Trust for Historic Preservation, he served (1996-2019) as the organization’s founding Chief Preservation Officer, Executive Vice President and Chief of Development, Chief of Staff, and Southern Regional Director. Prior to that service he was the founding Executive Director (1988-1996) of the Preservation Alliance of Virginia, the Commonwealth’s statewide advocacy organization representing more than 150 organizations and 60,000 Virginians.
He also served in a variety of governance roles, including:
- Trustee of the National Main Street Center (Chicago, IL)
- Trustee of the Filoli Center (Woodside, CA)
- Trustee of The Corporation for Jefferson’s Poplar Forest (Bedford, VA)
- Executive Committee Member, International National Trusts Organisation (London, UK)
- Chair, Governor’s Commission to Study Historic Preservation in Virginia (Richmond, VA)
David has been one of my heroes…(with his) undying service ethic, unflappable humor, and his Jeffersonian optimism.Leslie Greene Bowman, President & CEO, Thomas Jefferson Memorial Foundation (Monticello), Charlottesville, VA
Through the years David developed staff and leadership mentoring programs that supported dozens of high potential individuals who subsequently attained leadership positions as CEOs, Executive Directors, Division Chiefs, Vice Presidents, and similar roles in local, state, national, and international nonprofit organizations.
A frequent speaker and panelist, David has delivered dozens of high-profile speeches and presentations to audiences that have included prime ministers, cabinet officials, governors, members of Congress, national governing boards, national conference attendees, and more.
His professional writings have been included in collections as diverse as Bending the Future: Fifty Ideas for the Next Fifty Years of Historic Preservation in the United States (University of Massachusetts Press) and A Tennessee Folklore Sampler: Selected Readings from the Tennessee Folklore Society Bulletin (University of Tennessee Press). David’s writings have also been featured in The Virginia Record, CRM: The Journal of Heritage Stewardship, Explore Rural India, the Tennessee Historical Quarterly, the Forum Journal, and The Georgia Historical Quarterly. He blogs on More to Come, a personal collection of observations and recollections on leadership as well as “Places That Matter, Books Worth Reading, Roots Music, The Times We Live In, and Whatever Else Tickles My Fancy.”
David has degrees in history (historic preservation emphasis) and planning, participated in the Harvard Business School’s Strategic Perspectives in Nonprofit Management program, and was selected as an Affiliate Fellow at the American Academy in Rome. He remains passionate about connecting people in thriving, sustainable, and vibrant communities.
One of David’s many strengths is his intellectual and practical understanding of the international context of the preservation movement. David has forged lasting global relationships that have inspired and empowered numerous domestic and global heritage NGOs and groups.Justin Albert, Director for Wales, National Trust of England, Wales & Northern Ireland