Press Releases

For Immediate Release - Openlands Celebrates Record-Breaking Annual Luncheon

October 29, 2012

CONTACT: Brandon Hayes
(Media inquiries only)
***Jeanne Gang Presented Phil Enquist with Openlands’
2012 Conservation Leadership Award***
***Noted Urban Planner Toni Griffin Delivered the Keynote Address***
(Chicago – October 29, 2012) The Openlands 2012 Annual Luncheon was the most successful ever, raising more than $215,000 for the non-profit’s efforts to connect people with nature throughout the greater Chicago region. The event—held for the first time at the Grand Ballroom of the Palmer House Hilton—was also Openlands’ best-attended, hosting more than 800 guests, among them Chicago First Lady Amy Rule; former Treasury SecretaryHenry Paulson and his wife, Openlands board member and noted conservationist Wendy Paulson; Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle; Chicago Commissioner of Public Affairs and Special Events Michelle Boone; General Superintendent of the Forest Preserve District of Cook County Arnold Randall; Representative Barbara Flynn Currie; and Director of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources Marc Miller.
The luncheon—which was held on Thursday, October 25—highlighted the importance of planning for open and natural areas in a bustling metropolitan region. From improving air and water quality to affording recreation and respite to enhancing the region's economy and vitality, these open spaces are essential to quality of life. Openlands has played an important role at varying levels to green the greater Chicago region—from one-lot neighborhood gardens in Chicago to the 19,000-acre Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie.
“It was an inspiration to have so many committed individuals in one room,” said Openlands President and CEO Jerry Adelmann. “From visionaries like Phil Enquist and Jeanne Gang, who do so much to shape the nature of our city, to the community gardeners and TreeKeepers who are daily stewards of our green space, I am deeply proud that this is the largest gathering of conservation-minded individuals in the region.”
The 2012 keynote speaker was Toni Griffin. A Chicago native, Griffin has built an impressive 25-year career in both the public and private sectors, combining the practice of architecture, urban design and planning with the execution of innovative, large-scale, mixed-use urban redevelopment projects and public policy reforms. She is currently Professor of Architecture and Director at The J. Max Bond Center on Design for the Just City at the Spitzer School of Architecture at The City College of New York.
Jeanne Gang presented Openlands’ 2012 Conservation Leadership Award to Phil Enquist, FAIA, the Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP partner who leads its global city design practice, the world’s most highly awarded urban planning group. Enquist’s commitment to environmentally harmonious design has elevated urban living in Chicago and on five continents.
The Openlands 2012 Annual Luncheon Platinum Sponsors were ITW, Northern Trust, and Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP. The Gold Sponsors were Allstate Insurance Company, ArcelorMittal, Bartlett Tree Experts, BMO Harris Bank, ComEd, Stantec Consulting Services Inc., and U.S. Bank, N.A.. The Silver Sponsors were The Care of Trees a Davey Company, Christy Webber Landscapes, Motorola Mobility Foundation, The University of Chicago, and WRD Environmental.
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. For more information, visit
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, Victoria C. Drake, Josephine F. Elting, Joseph M. Flavin, Hugh Frisbie, John M. Haight, III, Jonathan C. Hamill, Mark M. Harris, Scott A. Jamieson, Iris J. Krieg, Carrie C. McNally, Janis Wellin Notz, Andrew J. Otting, Wendy Paulson, Steven M. Ricchio, J. Timothy Ritchie, Charles Saltzman, Patrick Shaw, Nancy W. Sutherland, and Randall G. Vickery.
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