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Robert G. Stanton Award

The 2020 Robert G. Stanton was awarded to George McDonald for sustained and innovative achievement in promoting racial or ethnic diversity in the management of North America’s natural, historic and cultural heritage.

The Award is named in appreciation of the remarkable career of Robert Stanton as the first African-American Director of the National Park Service. Among the many accomplishments of Director Stanton was expansion of the interpretation of diverse cultural meanings inherent in National Parks and increased participation by racial and ethnic minorities as both visitors and employees. 

About George McDonald

George McDonald

Throughout his career at the National Park Service (NPS), McDonald has played a key role in several projects designed to enhance and increase the number of underserved, minority and disadvantaged youth participating in park activities and engaging in employment and educational opportunities in parks. He developed a service-wide funding source for the Youth Partnerships Program in collaboration with the NPS’s budget office in 2007, in order to support youth development programming focused on education, recreation, volunteer service and employment, and that engages diverse audiences.  

His career focuses on building mutually beneficial partnerships, such as the NPS Boy Scouts of America Resource Stewardship Scout Ranger Program, established in 2007, which connects youth recreational, educational and volunteer service opportunities in national parks. He created an NPS Girl Scout Ranger program the following year. In 2014, he developed an NPS-YMCA Partner Program, which brings between 9,000 and 10,000 YMCA day campers per year into national parks for recreation and education and the following year (2015) he forged a partnership program with Boys and Girls Clubs. McDonald is now developing federal guidelines for a new Indian Youth Service Corps Program.

McDonald is also focused on creating pathways to employment for Black, Hispanic and Native American youth. He created the park service’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities Internship Program in 2011 and the Latino Heritage Internship Program in 2013, programs that make internship opportunities available to dozens of students throughout the country every year. The Mosaics in Science Internship Program, developed in 2012, also provides science-based internship opportunities to racially diverse undergraduate and graduate students. 

He has also led projects of major significance for the NPS, such as assisting in the development of the African Burial Ground National Monument and the Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site as well as serving as the project manager for the National Museum for African American History and Culture Presidential Commission (2002-03), which led to the successful development of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture on the National Mall.

Read the news release announcing Mr. McDonald's win.