Trees Forever names new executive director as community works to replenish lost tree canopy

Kiley Miller to succeed founder Shannon Ramsay starting early 2021

Kiley Miller
Kiley Miller

CEDAR RAPIDS — Marion nonprofit Trees Forever will welcome Kiley Miller as its new executive director in early 2021 amid a historic effort to replant trees downed by the Aug. 10 derecho in Iowa.

Trees Forever’s board appointed Miller, president and chief executive of Iowa Lakes Corridor Development Corp. in Spencer, to succeed Shannon Ramsay, the nonprofit’s founder.

Miller brings a background in community building, strategic planning and communications to his new role, according to a new release.

“Trees Forever is a collaborative organization,” Miller said in a statement. “Fulfillment of the mission depends upon partnerships with benefactors, governments, businesses and volunteers. I like to think that fits pretty well with my own talent for building teams.”

Ramsay will remain with Trees Forever but focused on “Planting Hope,” a fundraising initiative to assist hard-hit communities and farms, and to guide the ReLeaf public-private partnership with Cedar Rapids to replenish the city’s tree canopy. She announced her plans to step down from Trees Forever in August, days after the derecho.

Trees Forever, founded in 1989, focuses on tree-planting projects and conservation efforts through volunteer engagement across Illinois and Iowa. The organization works with more than 7,000 volunteers each year on average and has helped plant more than 3 million trees.

“We are so fortunate to have someone of Kiley’s caliber and experience to lead Trees Forever during this critical time,” Ramsay said in a statement.


The board selected Miller after a search led by The Overture Group. Board Chair Dave Blankenship said in a statement, “Kiley Miller has all the attributes and skills we were seeking. I believe he can lead Trees Forever into the future with strength and vision combined with pragmatic action.”

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