Shawn Shepherd

Director of Development - West Coast

Shawn Shepherd is the Director of Development for the West Coast, and is working to build and lead a comprehensive fundraising strategy across the western U.S.  A lifelong commitment to learning and agriculture started for Shawn while growing up on a family farm in Indiana, where she earned a national 4-H achievement award for the water, soil and wildlife conservation efforts she and her father coordinated on their family land. With her husband, she is part of a large ranching family with operations in Idaho and Oregon and grazing permits across the West. She attributes her commitment to the mission of American Farmland Trust to her lifetime of caring for and living on the land.
Shawn earned a Bachelor of Arts in communications from Indiana State University, a Master’s Degree in higher education from The University of Vermont and a second Master’s Degree in theater history and criticism at Washington State University. She received the university’s outstanding research awards for both of her Master’s Degree theses projects. She was honored to be recognized by the National Speakers Association as one of only four national scholar speakers in her Master’s-level work. In integrating her widely varied interests, she has completed the coursework for her Doctoral Degree in the psychology of creativity from The University of New Mexico.
Professionally, Shawn has a more than 30-year career leading nonprofit organizations and advancement offices in higher education, healthcare, and social service agencies. In her tenure as a successful major gifts fundraiser, she raised more than $100 million in private funds from individuals and family foundations. She served as the Major and Planned Giving Director for the American Lung Association, working with donors across 13 western states and developing a national planned giving curriculum for staff and volunteers. Most recently, Shawn served as the fundraising leader at the Palm Desert Campus of California State University San Bernardino, raising funds to create programs and begin capital campaign efforts to expand the footprint of the university. Shawn has also notably served as the head of a prestigious private school in Boise, Idaho – Foothills School of Arts and Sciences – where she worked with the entire school to measure and lower its carbon footprint and integrate environmental education throughout the curriculum, earning state and national accolades.
Shawn is committed to service and has served on many boards including the Shakespeare Festivals of Dallas and Fort Worth, Rape Crisis Centers of New Mexico, Albuquerque Arts Alliance, the Southwest Diversity Leadership Council, Cabot’s Pueblo Museum in California, and the University Associates of PDC. Shawn is a member of the Land Trust of the Treasure Valley, Conservation Voters of Idaho, and the Desert Horticulture Society. She was appointed to the Arts Council of New Mexico and to the Commission on the Status of Women in Idaho. She has been recognized as a “40 Under 40” leader in Texas and New Mexico, and as an Idaho Woman of the Year.
Shawn serves the regional role out of her home offices in Southern California’s Coachella Valley and the Boise Valley of Idaho. She is passionate about her work, spending time with her husband on the golf course, writing, and enjoying all of the incredibly wonderful things – including agriculture – that the western United States contributes to the nation.