Mather Homestead in Darien names new executive director

Heather Raker

Heather Raker

Contributed photo

DARIEN — The Board of Trustees of the Mather Homestead Foundation has named Heather Raker, current interim executive director, permanent executive director, effective immediately.

Raker has served as interim since November 2020. The board thanked Lauren Swenson, the foundation’s executive director since 2017, who was instrumental in raising awareness of the Homestead in the community. The board announcement also credited Swenson with developing programs for all ages about the Mather Homestead, and the legacy of Stephen Mather, the first director of the U.S. National Parks System.

Swenson also oversaw the building of the Elizabeth W. Chilton Education Center, which opened in September, 2020.

Raker was a founding board member of the Mather Homestead Foundation, created in 2017.

Raker brings experience in marketing, and finance and a long history of board leadership roles with local nonprofit organizations to the executive director role, the board said.

“Heather has brought unbelievable passion, creativity and strong execution to the role, and she was a clear choice to lead the Mather Homestead Foundation into the future,” Board Chairman Richard L. Chilton, Jr. said.

“We couldn’t be more excited by the vision that Heather brings to Mather. Her sense for community building combined with historical appreciation hits the mark and will help to make Mather a pre-eminent center for historical education throughout our area,” Chilton said.

“The Mather Homestead Foundation is entering an exciting phase of growth with the recent addition of the Elizabeth W. Chilton Education Center,” Raker said.

She said she is “thrilled to lead our many passionate volunteers and to work with the Board as we expand our programming and continue to fulfill our mission.”

“I hope that the Mather Homestead will become a local center for education and enjoyment for all,” Raker said.

Visit for more information about the foundation, and its future community events.

The homestead is located at 19 Stephen Mather Road in Darien.