Ame Hellman

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Vice President of Philanthropy



Ame Hellman is the Vice President of Philanthropy at The Wilderness Society. She works to create and support fundraising strategies for The Wilderness Society's highest level donors and assist in providing oversight and management of our major gift team. 

An attorney by training, in 1995, she practiced law in Denver for two years before meeting her husband Doug. They decided that moving to Lake Tahoe (where he hailed from) would be the best thing for all and after she took the Nevada bar exam, she began to look for a job. The first thing that landed on her doorstep was a group of citizens who were quite upset about a development project along the Sierra Nevada that, if approved, would close off public access to the Humboldt-Toiyabe from Carson City to the California state line. After months of negotiations with both the county and developer, Ame helped to broker a deal. During her many passionate pleas to the local County Commission, District Manager for the USFS in Carson City, Mary Wagner, and the now-associate-chief of the USFS noticed her and called the President of the American Land Conservancy, Harriet Burgess. “Hire this woman, Harriet,” Mary pleaded, “we need more public access into the forest!” 

So beget a new career in land deals and conservation between Ame and western landscapes. She went to work on projects across Nevada, California, Alaska and Wisconsin and led the acquisition of the Dreyfus Estate on Lake Tahoe, the largest and most expensive parcel ever acquired by the Forest Service with over a mile of lakeshore, now open to the public.

In 2000, Ame joined The Nature Conservancy as the Nevada State Director and served in that role for five years, transforming a chapter of less than 6 staff to one of 24 when she left five years later. Then came a move east and new adventure in global conservation at the World Wildlife Fund. At WWF she served as Director of Principal Gifts and then Managing Director for North American Strategic Initiatives, focused on the Bering Sea, Arctic and Northern Great Plains programs. She earned a B.A. from the University of Colorado, Boulder in English literature and a J.D. from the University of Denver, College of Law.  In her spare time she enjoys riding and competing in Dressage, as well as hiking and skiing. She and her husband Doug live in the Keswick Hunt Country north of Charlottesville on their farm with Hannah Hellman (their 21-year-old daughter taking a semester off from college), three horses, three dogs, two cats and a transient herd of Black Angus cattle.