Lester Strong is Principal Gifts Officer of the AARP Foundation. He previously served as CEO of AARP Experience Corps, which tutors and mentors elementary school children (K-3) who struggle with reading by utilizing the skills and experiences of adults 50+. AARP Experience Corps serves 30,000 students in 21 cities across the United States through a program recognized as the one of the most effective in-school interventions in the country.
Prior to his service at AARP Experience Corps, Lester has served as leader in educational entrepreneurship and development. He was the Chief Development Officer for the BELL (Building Educated Leaders for Life) Foundation, which also provides tutoring and mentoring services to underserved children in multiple cities.
A long-time proponent and practitioner of meditation, Lester was CEO of the SYDA Foundation, an educational organization that provides instruction in yoga and meditation in 46 countries. He spent 25 years in the television industry as an executive, producer, reporter and anchor in Charlotte (WBTV), Atlanta (WSB), New York (ABC Entertainment) and Boston (WHDH). His work earned him a host of national and regional awards, including five regional Emmy Awards and a White House commendation from President Ronald Reagan.
Lester serves as a member of the board of trustees for the Noyce Foundation, Editorial Projects in Education (Education Week) and Encore.org. He also serves on the advisory councils of the Presidio Institute and America’s Promise Alliance. Lester holds a bachelor’s degree in English Literature/Education from Davidson College and is a graduate of the Columbia Business School’s Institute for Non-Profit Management.