Press Releases

For Immediate Release - Anniversary Benefit Raises $425,000 for Openlands

June 17, 2013


CONTACT: Colleen R. O’Donnell
(Media inquiries only)


***Songs of Praise: Celebrating Openlands’ Jubilee Marks the Organization’s 50th Anniversary of Conservation Work in the Chicago Region***

(Chicago – June 17, 2013) On Saturday, June 15, Openlands marked its 50th anniversary with the benefit, Songs of Praise: Celebrating Openlands’ Jubilee, which raised $425,000 for the non-profit. The 275 guests enjoyed cocktails and dinner along the bluffs at the Openlands Lakeshore Preserve in Highland Park, Illinois. Live entertainment by Steve Biossat & Sway Chicago honored each decade of Openlands’ work to ensure public access to parks, gardens, trails, and wilderness throughout the Chicago region. Décor and event management was by Designs by Jody; catering was by Jewell Events Catering.

“It was tremendously gratifying to see longtime supporters and also many new faces at our anniversary benefit,” said Openlands President and CEO Jerry Adelmann. “Gathering to celebrate this milestone moment at the Openlands Lakeshore Preserve was particularly fitting. The Preserve’s land was closed to the public for over a century, but now it is open to everyone. The generosity of those who attended the celebration helps to make the Preserve—and the range of Openlands’ work in our region—possible.”

About Songs of Praise: Celebrating Openlands’ Jubilee

The benefit’s co-chairs were Susan DePree and Josephine F. Elting, both of Lake Forest, Illinois. The Openlands 50th Anniversary Emerald Sponsor is ArcelorMittal. The Diamond Sponsors are The Grainger Foundation and Northern Trust. The Gold Sponsors are Bartlett Tree Experts, Designs by Jody, ITW, and Stantec. The Silver Sponsors are Carlson Environmental, Inc., Christy Webber Landscapes, Scott Byron & Co. Inc., and Segall Bryant & Hamill. The Catering Sponsor is Jewell Events Catering.

The evening began with cocktails along the bluff trails overlooking Lake Michigan. Guests were encouraged to stroll the Preserve’s grounds while they enjoyed a signature cocktail and passed hors d’oeuvres.

Following cocktails, guests were invited to dine on a zesty Israeli couscous salad spilling over from a large artichoke marinated in Dijon vinaigrette. It was accompanied by a white balsamic marinated grilled Portobello with diced tomatoes and a yellow and red pepper sunburst. The salad was paired with pea soup garnished with mint and topped with sour cream. The main course was fanned grilled breasts of marinated Amish chicken filled with oven dried tomatoes, gorgonzola cheese, and Jewell honey, seasoned with grey sea salt, mignonette pepper, and ground rosemary. The chicken was served with a tarragon mustard aioli and sprigs of rosemary set on a bed of spaghetti vegetables garnished with watermelon balls and fingerling potatoes. Dessert was comprised of a plate of assorted cheeses and a plate of assorted petite sweets.

During dessert, Steve Biossat & Sway Chicago performed a musical set featuring a song from each of Openlands’ five decades—the 1960s through the 2000s—with lyrics altered to reflect Openlands’ major accomplishments.

About Openlands

Founded in 1963, Openlands is one of the nation’s oldest and most successful metropolitan conservation organizations, having helped secure, protect, and provide public access to more than 55,000 acres of land for parks, forest preserves, land and water greenway corridors, and urban gardens. Openlands’ 50th anniversary celebration continues with the Openlands 50th Anniversary Luncheon, held on October 25 at the Chicago Hilton. For more information about Openlands, visit

About the Openlands Lakeshore Preserve

Located just 25 miles north of Chicago and encompassing more than a mile of Lake Michigan shoreline, the Openlands Lakeshore Preserve gives visitors the opportunity to visit one of the last remaining ravine and bluff ecosystems in the bustling metropolitan region. 

Openlands’ Board of Directors

Openlands’ Board of Directors comprises Jill Allread (Chair), J. Tyler Anthony, Adrienne Archia, Paul L. Becker, Alan M. Bell, Shaun C. Block, Richard J. Carlson, Ph.D., Bill Clarkin, George W. Davis, Garrett Handley Dee, Susan DePree, Derek R.B. Douglas, Victoria C. Drake, Josephine F. Elting, Hugh D. Frisbie, John M. Haight, III, Jonathan C. Hamill, Mark M. Harris, Scott Jamieson, Iris Krieg, Carrie C. McNally, Janis Wellin Notz, Andrew J. Otting, Wendy J. Paulson, Steven M. Ricchio, J. Timothy Ritchie, Charles Saltzman, Patrick Shaw, and Nancy W. Sutherland.

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