Our Mission
Our mission is to engage in protecting and restoring the treasured natural habitats of the Forest Preserves of Cook County and to enhance the outdoor experiences of all communities. We do this by encouraging and administering private gifts to further the Forest Preserves’ mission and goals.

In the fall of 2018, the Foundation adopted a new strategic plan that will provide a blueprint for meeting the conservation and community engagement priorities of the Forest Preserves of Cook County. In November 2018, the Foundation updated its strategic plan, designed to chart its course for the next several years.

Our annual reports and financial info can be found here.

Our theory of action

theory of change graphic

Our history

Founded in 2006, the Forest Preserve Foundation began with the belief that philanthropic giving could best supplement tax dollars that support the visionary goals of the Forest Preserves of Cook County.

In 2012, the Foundation actively started raising private funds, launching the first Conservation Cup, its annual golf benefit. That year the Foundation granted $3,500 to the Forest Preserves.

Since then, the Foundation has increased its annual grant totals. In 2019, the Foundation granted nearly $500,000 to projects that benefit the Forest Preserves of Cook County.


Over its lifetime, the Foundation has granted more than $3.06 million toward its primary goal: increasing access for all to the Forest Preserves of Cook County. The Foundation achieves that mission through a consistent focus on its core program areas: next-generation environmental leaders, ecological restoration, tribute gifts and family programs.

Our Approach

Funding Priorities

The Foundation provides grants to support programs that increase access to the forest preserves for a greater diversity of visitors and deepen their awareness, appreciation and commitment to the health of the preserves. Our funding priorities ​align with the directives of the Forest Preserves of Cook County's Centennial Campaign Plan and Next Century Conservation Plan, which outline the Preserves' goals and strategies for conserving natural habitats over the next 25 years


The Foundation's key focus areas are next-generation environmental leaders, ecological restoration, tribute gifts and family programming. We measure success by the impact we have in each area.


Since 2012, the Foundation has granted  $3.06 million to support programs that ease youth and family access to the wonders of the preserves and innovative educational programming.


Keep up with our programs and events by reading our blog, where we share stories and reflections about the people and many places that makes the Preserves special.

We embrace diversity


The Forest Preserve Foundation (Foundation) believes that the diversity of our principal constituency, the residents of Cook County, IL, is a fundamental strength of our community. Our inclusive culture extends to valuing the diversity of backgrounds and experiences of our volunteers, employees, business partners and community partners.

We believe our mission to improve the quality of life for the residents of Cook County, by protecting native biological species and enhancing outdoor experiences for present and future generations of residents, is best fulfilled when we embrace diversity as a value and a practice.

Therefore, it is the Foundation’s commitment that the composition of our organization reflect the diversity and demographics of the community being served, including among its leadership at the board and staff level. As well, the Foundation encourages grant applicants to make diversity and inclusion an important goal of their organization.

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