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
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 $2.5 millon toward its primary goal: increasing access for all to the Forest Preserves of Cook County. Through achieves that mission through a consistent focus on its core program areas: next-generation environmental leaders, ecological restoration, tribute gifts and family programs.
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
We embrace diversity
The Forest Preserve Foundation believes that the diversity of our principal constituency, the residents of Cook County, is a fundamental strength of our community. Our inclusive culture extends to valuing the diversity of backgrounds and experiences of our volunteers, employees, and business 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, and should include diversity among its leadership at the board and staff. As well, the Foundation encourages grant-applicants to make diversity and inclusion an important goal of their organization.