ELKO – Former Bureau of Land Management director and Elko resident Neil Kornze has been named CEO of Campion Advocacy Fund and the Campion Foundation, Seattle-based organizations that work to protect public lands and end homelessness.
“We could not be more thrilled to welcome Neil to Seattle and the Campion team,” said founding trustees Tom and Sonya Campion. “Our nation’s public lands and our most vulnerable communities are facing unprecedented threats. We’re up for the fight and we’re excited to have Neil’s leadership take our work to a new level of impact and leverage. Together, we will execute a bold vision into the future for wild places, people experiencing homelessness in our communities, and advocacy in the nonprofit sector.”
The Campion Foundation and Campion Advocacy Fund were established “to preserve the last remaining wild places across the West.” The fund reports it has directed substantial support to protect landscapes like the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and Tongass National Forest in Alaska, and the Boulder-White Clouds Wilderness in Idaho.
Another focus is to end homelessness in Washington state and across the country. Campion has supported the establishment of the Washington State Office of Homeless Youth and the creation of innovative public-private partnerships to end youth homelessness, including A Way Home America and A Way Home Washington.
Kornze, who started as CEO at the beginning of January, brings extensive experience in public administration. From 2014 to 2017, he served in the Obama Administration as director of the Bureau of Land Management, the nation’s largest public lands agency. Prior to that, Kornze spent nearly a decade working as a policy adviser to then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. After leaving the Obama Administration, he founded his own strategy firm to help clients protect land and wildlife, and focused on expanding the outdoor economy.
Raised in Elko, Kornze earned his undergraduate degree from Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington, and a master’s degree from the London School of Economics.
“I am proud to join the stellar team at the Campion Advocacy Fund and the Campion Foundation,” said Kornze. “The majestic land, water and wildlife that define us as a nation are under assault. At the same time, hundreds of thousands of Americans lack a safe place to sleep, and the problem is getting worse in many communities. We will be working tirelessly to bring attention to these urgent issues and to support those who are fighting for change.”
Under Kornze’s leadership at the BLM, 55 million acres of public lands were protected to support the recovery of keys species such as the greater sage grouse and to preserve Native American sites. Kornze also led major reforms of energy programs, including halting federal coal sales, reducing emissions from oil and gas operations on public lands, and authorizing the largest wind and solar projects in North America.
The Campion Foundation was founded in 2005 by Tom and Sonya Campion following Tom’s success in co-founding and leading Zumiez, a Washington-based company that is the world’s largest action-sports retailer with 700 stores on three continents.