Campion Foundation

OVERVIEW: This funder gives to wilderness protection, homelessness and nonprofit capacity building causes in the Northwest. It strongly supports nonprofits in Washington State.

FUNDING AREAS: Protecting wilderness, ending homelessness, building capacity

IP TAKE: Campion has very specific aims and doesn’t accept unsolicited grant applications. Grantseeker inquiries should have a government advocacy angle.

PROFILE: The Campion Foundation is based in Seattle, Washington, and makes grants to nonprofits running programs in its areas of interest. The Campion Advocacy Fund and Campion Foundation are separate but affiliated organizations that work in the same program areas—but in different ways. The Campion Advocacy Fund engages in direct advocacy for legislative and political change. This profile will focus on the grantmaking foundation, not the advocacy fund.

The Campion Foundation was established in 2005 by Tom and Sonya Campion. Tom co-founded Zumiez in 1978 and built it into the world’s largest action sports lifestyle retailer.

The foundation's three areas of grantmaking focus are protecting wilderness, ending homelessness and building capacity. It supports wilderness and homelessness programs in northwestern North America. Grants to strengthen nonprofits typically stay in Washington. A list of grantees can be viewed here. The foundation typically awards many more grants for wilderness and homelessness than it does for building capacity.

For wilderness protection, Campion backs efforts to protect landscapes in Alaska, British Columbia, Yukon and Northwest Territories, Washington, Idaho and Montana. An example is Trout Unlimited, which works to protect Bristol Bay from industrial mining projects, like the proposed Pebble Mine. Unsolicited applications are not accepted.

For homelessness, Campion focuses on government policy and nonprofit advocacy. There’s a strong desire to end youth homelessness. This is a very targeted grantmaking program that accepts applications by invitation only. Grantees include A Way Home Washington and the Washington Youth and Family Fund.

The funder aims to strengthen nonprofits in Washington State through professional development grants to existing grantees to facilitate conference and training attendance. This is another targeted grantmaking program that accepts applications by invitation only. However, these are typically restricted to groups in Washington.

Campion says it follows the principles of catalytic philanthropy—“when a donor’s ambition to change the world is matched by their courage to accept the responsibility for doing it," rather than relegating the work to nonprofits and grantees. The founders were inspired by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s “Impatient Optimist” philosophy.

General questions can be directed to the staff at or 206-686-5310. Keep up with this funder at its blog and philanthropy resources.


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