John L. Lehr leads the Parkinson's Foundation as president & chief executive officer. He has nearly three decades of nonprofit fundraising and management experience, with a strong focus in the voluntary healthcare and medical research sectors.
John played a key role in merging two legacy Parkinson’s organizations into the Parkinson’s Foundation in 2017. Since joining the Foundation, fundraising revenue has grown each year by double digits, allowing the Foundation to greatly expand its mission programs. John led the efforts to open 17 regional chapters to better serve local Parkinson’s communities. These developments and other initiatives have allowed the Foundation to earn a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator, a Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar, and to be named to the 2020 list of Best Places to Work by The NonProfit Times.
During his tenure at the Foundation, John has overseen several major initiatives including:
- Expanding the Foundation’s Center of Excellence Network to 47 Centers globally;
- Launching PDGeneration: Mapping the Future of Parkinson’s Disease, a groundbreaking study to gather genetic data for research and drug development on thousands of people with PD by offering free genetic testing and counseling;
- Co-hosting the Parkinson’s Policy Forum to align the Parkinson’s community around key issues, and to petition state and federal lawmakers to take action on pressing patient needs and policy changes.
- And, launching the Newly Diagnosed Initiative to reach the more than 60,000 individuals diagnosed with PD in the US each year, and to connect them to the Foundation’s many educational resources.
During his time with the Foundation, he has directed more than $30 million in research and clinical grants for promising Parkinson’s disease studies.
In advocating for the PD community, John recognizes the importance of expanding community services and resources that are offered for free, notably extended hours and Spanish-language capabilities for the Helpline, which receives thousands of calls each year.
John earned his BA and MA in History from Villanova University. From 1990-1991, he served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Sri Lanka.
In the News
Q&A With Parkinson’s Foundation CEO and President John L. Lehr, Parkinson’s News Today
The Parkinson’s Foundation and Nonprofit Leadership, The Nonprofit Show
Is Your Leadership Culture Stifling or Encouraging Progress and Innovation?, Nonprofit Leadership Podcast
How to Look for Growth Opportunities in a Crisis, The Center for Association Leadership
Discussing the Newly Diagnosed and PD GENEration, The CEO Forum Group
5 Steps for Those Newly Diagnosed With Parkinson’s Disease, Neurological Disorders Insert for USA Today