Press Releases

For Immediate Release - Openlands 50th Anniversary Luncheon Breaks Records

October 31, 2013

CONTACT:    Brandon Hayes
(Media inquiries only)


***Presenting Sponsor was ComEd***

***Noted Dr. Michael Suk was Keynote Speaker***

***Openlands’ 2013 Conservation Leadership Award Honored Judith Stockdale***

(Chicago – October 31, 2013) The Openlands 50th Anniversary Luncheon was the highest earning and best attended luncheon in Openlands history, raising over $330,000 for the organization’s mission of connecting people with nature across the Chicago region. Almost 1,000 guests enjoyed the keynote speech by Dr. Michael Suk, which focused on “park prescriptions” and other green alternatives as a way to combat the growing health issues that face our communities. Central to Openlands’ mission is the belief that nature is vital to all people and that accessible, open space offers recreation and respite from the daily bustle of life. The culmination of Openlands’ 50th Anniversary celebration, this event looked to the future of conservation and how we collectively can make a positive impact on the greater Chicago region for the benefit of all.

The event was held October 25 at the Hilton Chicago. The Presenting Sponsor was ComEd, and Anne R. Pramaggiore, President & CEO, was the co-chair of the Luncheon Committee. Laura Donnelley, board chair of the Gaylord & Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, also served as this year’s co-chair. Guests included Senator Dick Durbin, Chicago First Lady Amy Rule, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, General Superintendent of the Forest Preserve District of Cook County Arnold Randall, Director of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources Marc Miller, and Dr. Henry Betts.

The 2013 keynote speaker was Dr. Michael Suk, a native of Flossmoor, IL and Chairman of Orthopaedic Surgery for the Geisinger Health System based in Danville, PA. Dr. Suk was asked to serve as Senior Advisor on Health and Recreation to the National Park Service and in 2011 served on the National Parks Centennial Steering Committee. In 2003, Dr. Suk was selected as a White House Fellow by President George W. Bush and served as Special Assistant to Secretary Gale A. Norton at the U.S. Department of the Interior. To date, Dr. Suk has spoken to over 100 organizations and has engaged over a thousand leaders in health care, recreation, and public health across the nation on this important issue.

Openlands honored Judith Stockdale with its 2013 Conservation Leadership Award. Stockdale joined the Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation as Executive Director in 1994 and retired at the end of 2012. Prior to the Donnelley Foundation, she served as the first executive director of the Great Lakes Protection Fund, an endowment created by the governors of seven of the Great Lake states to better manage their shared natural resources. She was a senior staff associate of the Chicago Community Trust and executive director of Openlands from 1978 to 1986. She is currently a director of the Nuveen Funds, is on the boards of Donors Forum and Friends of Ryerson Woods, and has served on a number nonprofit boards and government advisory commissions.

Corporate/Organizational Sponsors

The Openlands 2013 Annual Luncheon Platinum Sponsors were Allstate Insurance Company, Best Portion Foundation, Gaylord & Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, and Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP. The Gold Sponsors were ArcelorMittal, Bartlett Tree Experts, BMO Harris Bank, The Boeing Company, The Grainger Foundation, Northern Trust, Stantec Consulting Services, Inc., The University of Chicago, and U.S. Bank. The Silver Sponsors were Advocate Health Care, The Care of Trees, Chicago Wilderness, Grand Victoria Foundation, Liberty Prairie Foundation, Living Habitats, Nicor Gas and Public Communications Inc.

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, wildlife refuges, land and water greenway corridors, and urban gardens. For more information, please visit

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