January 4, 2020
By Bonnie McDonald
President & CEO, Landmarks Illinois
Like many, we at Landmarks Illinois are welcoming the new year with equal parts relief and joy. There’s a sense of relief that we can turn the page on 2020. It’ll be a year we’ll remember and that our organization will remember for its mark on history. There’s a more joyful reason to celebrate the dawn of 2021. This is the year that marks a milestone anniversary — 50 years of Landmarks Illinois. Fifty years of impact that you’ve made possible.
It’s an honor to be a part of this important moment for Landmarks Illinois. It’s been incredible to reflect on what we’ve accomplished. I’ve spent time in recent months putting together our highlight reel — a list of our major achievements by decade that will inform special content published on our website in the coming months to help celebrate our 50th anniversary. As this list grew, it became overwhelming to see how much we’ve done. (For just one year’s accomplishments, read our 2020 Year in Review. You’ll be wowed.)
Landmarks Illinois has played a more significant role than I could’ve imagined in shaping our communities around the state. Our thousands of volunteers, board members, activists, organizers, staff members as well as local advocates, Illinois property owners and elected and appointed officials have helped make these many successes possible. Trades workers, craftspeople, journalists, historians, architects and so many more have played a role as well. With you, our Landmarks Illinois community, we’ve helped save almost 25,000 historic places during our first 50 years.
Every person in the groups listed above were and are donors to Landmarks Illinois. They might have donated time, expertise and helped make important connections. These resources were imperative to our successes and we are incredibly grateful for them. Many generous people have also given financial resources to support Landmarks Illinois’ programs, grantmaking and operations. We have received gifts of $5 and $1 million, and everything in-between. As a nonprofit, grassroots advocacy organization, every gift is meaningful to us and has an impact. From enabling us to have a phone line that connects us with thousands of calls from residents around the state, to funding more than $700,000 in grants to restore Illinois’ historic courthouses, our donors have played a role in saving our historic places and having a positive impact on peoples’ lives.
Thank you! All of us at Landmarks Illinois express our thanks for being a supporter and a part of our community. Together, we are people saving places for people. I invite you to celebrate this special year with us – our past, present and future. If, like me, you’re impressed with what we’ve done over these past 50 years, you’re going to be amazed by what we envision for the future.