A Philadelphia native has been appointed executive director of the National Heritage Trust.

Allen Payne, valedictorian of the Philadelphia High School class of 1973, was named to the post by the Governor's Appointments Office of the State of New York.

The Natural Heritage Trust was established in 1968 as a public benefit corporation of the state of New York with a mission to receive and administer gifts, grants and contributions to further public programs for parks, recreation, cultural, land and water conservation, and historic preservation purposes of the State of New York.

"I am very pleased to announce that Allen Payne will serve as the new NHT Executive Director," said Rose Harvey, New York State Commissioner of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.

"Allen brings more than two decades of experience in professional fundraising and resource development for a variety of institutions. 

"Prior to that, he worked in program development at organizations including the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York City Parks Council, and the American Institute of Graphic Arts." 

The NHT raises funds through cooperative programs and projects with its agency partners: New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation; Department of Environmental Conservation; and the Department of State. The NHT also partners with a number of other public and private entities, not-for-profits and friends groups to secure and administer funding.  Private funding endowed through the NHT supports a wide variety of cultural and recreational programs, capital projects and improvements, environmental and outdoor education, natural resource protection and restoration, and historic preservation throughout the State of New York.

As Executive Director, Payne will be responsible for developing and implementing programs, initiatives, and projects that support and advance the mission of the NHT. He and his staff will develop and implement strategies to raise and secure public and private funds to support an annual programming and capital budget of $12.5 million. He will oversee all financial management and accounting systems, monitor investment guidelines, and be responsible for producing annual reports and public financial statements.

He will initiate and execute special projects as directed by the National Heritage Trust Board of Directors, and regularly make visits to all of New York's 179 State Parks and 35 State Historic Sites.

Payne has had a distinguished 30-year career working with arts and cultural institutions in New York City and Washington, D.C., and working for a number of prestigious educational and social service organizations in New York, including the September 11th Fund, God's Love We Deliver, and the City University of New York School of Law.

He has most recently been engaged as a fundraising and resource development consultant for Operation Shoestring in Jackson and will continue his association with the organization in an advisory capacity.

Payne is a 1978 honors graduate of Mississippi State University, and received a master's degree from Harvard University in 1982.

He is the son of Abby Payne of Philadelphia and the late Glen Payne.