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Shelley A. Davis, President and Executive Director

Shelley is an entrepreneurial leader who is committed to moving resources (social capital and financial) to benefit communities. With more than 25 years of experience in the nonprofit sector, ranging from direct service to advocacy and philanthropy, Shelley joined the Forest Preserve Foundation in 2013 as its first executive director. She is a lecturer and senior mentor at University of Chicago’s Harris School of Public Policy, focusing on nonprofit and philanthropic organizations’ impact on public policy.

As a civic volunteer, Shelley serves as the Board Chair of the Albert Pick Jr. Fund, is a Commissioner for the Illinois Commission on Juvenile Justice, and is a trustee of Lawrence University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology. She holds a master’s in urban planning and policy from University of Illinois at Chicago.

In 2017, UIC’s College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs honored Shelley with the Jim Marek Alumni Appreciation Award, which recognizes individuals for their dedication to the fields of urban planning and public administration and their contributions to the development of the college's students and alumni.  In 2019, University of Chicago Harris Public Policy students, named Shelley as Mentor of the Year.  In 2018 and 2019, Make It Better recognized Shelley as one of Chicago’s Top Black Women of Impact.

A Chicago native, Shelley was inspired to join the Forest Preserve Foundation because she believes access to nature is important for all children and families. In her spare time, she enjoys walking outdoors and learning more about birds, trees and plants with her two children.

Contact Shelley at 312-603-8349 or



Clarmarie I. Keenan, Development Manager

Clarmarie has more than 20 years of experience in non-profit management, operations, and development and advancement. Previously, she was the Director of Institutional Advancement for VanderCook College of Music and previously the Executive Director of the Nineteenth Century Club.

She completed her term representing the Town Board on the Community Mental Health Board in June 2017. In May 2017, Clarmarie was sworn in as Supervisor of the Township for a four-year term.

She is an active member of the Rotary Club of Oak Park-River Forest, where she has served as president. She begins a three-year term as District 6450's chair for the Rotary Foundation Annual Fund on July 1, 2019.

Clarmarie holds an undergraduate degree in sociology and psychology from the University of Michigan. She received her graduate degree in Human Services from Concordia University Chicago.

Born and raised in the northwest suburbs, Clarmarie has always regarded the Forest Preserves as a real treasure - providing opportunities for relaxation, exploration, and inspiration every season of the year. She is committed to her work with the Foundation to support the Preserves, its facilities, and programs. Outside of work, Clarmarie enjoys reading, gardening, cooking, photography, spending time with family and friends, and enjoying all the culture and entertainment Chicago has to offer.​

Contact her at

Cassandra West, Communications and marketing manager

Cassandra spent more than 20 years working as an editor and writer for daily newspapers, including the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times and Kansas City Star. She has wide ranging experiences in corporate and non profit communications as a staff member and consultant, with an emphasis on social justice and environmentalism. She is a former director of communications for Chicago Foundation Women and adjunct lecturer at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism.

Cassandra has a bachelor's degree from Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts and studied U.S. history at Northwestern University. She reads widely on topics related to the environment, government and history.  She enjoys hiking and sharing her nature photos on Instagram. A passion for community gardening led to her to found, Seeding Chicago, Chicago's first blog dedicated to covering the city's urban agriculture movement.

Contact her at


Sam Davis

Sam Davis, Development Associate

Sam is a 2019 graduate of Elmhurst College, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in political science and urban studies. He worked at the school as an intern, first raising money for the annual fund, and later at the office of Conference and Event Services, where he updated the online facility rental portal and moonlighted as the school mascot, Victor E. Bluejay.

While attending Elmhurst, Sam’s interest in public policy and social equity developed into a passion, informing many of the campus activities he enjoyed. During all four years at Elmhurst, Sam participated in Model United Nations, studying the economic, social, and security problems facing different countries and regions, and drafting creative legislation for the American Model United Nations conference in Chicago. Sam also served as the interim president of Elmhurst College Democrats, working with groups such as the Citizen Advocacy Center and the DuPage County chapter of the National Organization for Women. During his time as president, the club worked with a coalition of students, faculty, alumni and clergy advocating on behalf of adjunct faculty fighting to join the Service Employees International Union.

Sam was born and raised in Madison, Wis., but his parents hail from the Chicago area, where most of his extended family lives today. He inherited his love of nature from his father, Steve, an author and professor at Edgewood College. As a kid in the ‘70s, Steve’s only access to nature was riding his bike from his home in Morton Grove to the local forest preserve. It was in those woods that he found his lifelong obsession with the environment.

Sam’s hobbies include hiking, photography, and most of all cycling, both as a means of transportation and recreation. Needless to say, he owes a whole lot to the Forest Preserves of Cook County and DuPage County, and is happy to express his gratitude through his work at the Forest Preserve Foundation.

Contact him at:

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