Kress is currently Vice President for Development at the National Wildlife Federation. She’ll start at her new job July 15.
Over the course of her 30-plus-year professional career, Kress has held leadership roles at numerous national nonprofit conservation organizations, assisted more than 40 such organizations through her consulting practice, and volunteered countless hours to conservation causes. She has built and managed highly successful development programs at The Nature Conservancy, National Parks Conservation Association, American Farmland Trust, and the National Wildlife Federation.
“The Yellowstone Park Foundation is a valued partner to the National Park System and Yellowstone, and Karen Bates Kress will help us achieve their objectives,” said Yellowstone Park Foundation Chairman Bannus Hudson. “She has the skills to lead the Foundation, increase its donor base, and support important projects that make the difference between a great park and an extraordinary park.”
The Yellowstone Park Foundation has raised more than $50 million for Yellowstone since its inception in 1996, funding everything from a new visitor education center at Old Faithful (due to open this August), to trail improvements, long-term wildlife research, equipment for rangers, and educational Internet features that people from around the world can access.
“The president of the Yellowstone Park Foundation promotes the preservation of Yellowstone around the world,” said Yellowstone National Park Superintendent Suzanne Lewis. “I believe that Karen Bates Kress will make the case for its natural, cultural and historic treasures to people from all walks of life. I look forward to continuing the close collaboration I have with the Foundation and its work on behalf of Yellowstone.”
Kress welcomes the challenge to involve herself with the nation’s national parks and in particular, Yellowstone. “Yellowstone is my favorite place in the world and since 1980, I have visited every year, building a home just 15 miles north of the Park in 2002,” she said. “So in a sense, I am coming home to a place for which I have great passion. I have been thoroughly impressed with the caliber of people I have met in Yellowstone, the Bozeman community, and at the Foundation. It will be an honor to serve with them to promote philanthropy for Yellowstone. The nation needs Yellowstone, and wild places like it, now more than ever as we see our children spend more and more time in front of screens – computers, phones, TVs. We need to get people outdoors enjoying the natural, cultural, historic, and geologic features of places such as Yellowstone to preserve them for current and future generations,” said Kress.
Kress and her husband, Ken, plan to relocate to Montana from Virginia.