Washington, D.C. — July 13, 2023 — The Foundation for America’s Public Lands, the Congressionally chartered partner of the Bureau of Land Management, announced today that I Ling Thompson has been named the Foundation’s inaugural CEO. She will start her new role with the Foundation in October 2023.
As the Foundation’s first CEO, Thompson will oversee the Foundation’s emerging work to connect people to their public lands and waters and improve access, awareness, and stewardship of these places for present and future generations. Thompson brings 20 years of expertise in mission-driven leadership and global land and water conservation with a focus on fostering people’s love, connection, and stewardship of the outdoors. In her most recent role with the Trust for Public Land, she reinvigorated the 50-year-old organization’s brand and strategic purpose through powerful storytelling and impactful data-driven campaigns to protect land for the health and benefit of communities and ensure access to quality parks, open spaces, and natural areas.
“I Ling understands that our public lands and waters are one of our great equalizers, and we all have a stake in their ownership and stewardship,” said Steve Bullock, Chair of the Foundation’s Board of Directors. “We are fortunate to be gaining a driven, committed, and passionate leader who will spearhead the Foundation’s mission, forge new partnerships, and engage communities to ensure that these incredible places are accessible to and appreciated by all.”
“I have long believed in the unique power of America’s public lands and waters to unite and benefit people from all walks of life,” said I Ling Thompson, incoming CEO of the Foundation for America’s Public Lands. “I am honored to join the Foundation for America’s Public Lands this fall and connect communities with the invaluable and countless benefits that our public lands and waters provide.”
I Ling Thompson is an award-winning leader, strategist, and storyteller who served most recently as Executive Vice President of Strategy & Engagement with the Trust for Public Land, where she led enterprise initiatives to strengthen and reposition the organization to better advance its strategic priorities focused on equity, climate, health and community, while distinguishing it in the crowded nonprofit marketplace. She spent 14 years with The Nature Conservancy in a number of leadership roles, including as managing director of global communications, Women in Nature (WIN) cosponsor, and deputy to the chief conservation officer. She also led member marketing and communications, and she led the 2012 campaign that elevated the impact of outdoor recreation on the national economy for the Outdoor Industry Association.
Early on, Thompson made it her life’s purpose to connect more people to the outdoors after forging her own deep relationship through adventure racing. Under I Ling’s leadership, the 2012 Outdoor Recreation Economy Campaign significantly elevated and reframed the economic impact of outdoor recreation on the American economy. Thompson also remains active in the community through her board service with organizations such as the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, the Keystone Policy Center, and the Together Outdoors Governance Council. She lives in Grand Junction, Colorado, with her husband and enjoys exploring U.S. public lands and waters through activities such as mountain biking, hiking her dogs, whitewater SUP, skiing, and fly-fishing.
“I Ling is a proven leader in engaging communities with the outdoors and has the experience and drive to lead the Foundation in its mission to protect and sustain our public lands and waters,” said Tracy Stone-Manning, Director of the Bureau of Land Management. “We look forward to collaborating closely with I Ling and the Foundation as we work hand-in-hand to support the BLM and our nation’s remarkable public lands.”
About the Foundation for America’s Public Lands
As the official charitable partner of the Bureau of Land Management, the Foundation for America’s Public Lands connects us to our public lands and waters and sustains these special places for present and future generations.