50Forward Event: Press Release

Media Contact:

Kaitlyn McAvoy
Communications Manager, Landmarks Illinois



February 24, 2021

Landmarks Illinois celebrates past & future of preservation movement at 50th anniversary event ‘50Forward’

CHICAGO – Landmarks Illinois, the only statewide historic preservation nonprofit in Illinois helping people save places in their communities, will host a 50th anniversary event, 50Forward, the evening of March 25, 2021. The hour-long, virtual fundraising event will include live entertainment, inspiring videos highlighting Landmarks Illinois’ past, present and future as well as tributes to our 20 “Landmarks Illinois Influencers” – people who have shaped our organization and who we believe will play a pivotal role in the future of preservation in Illinois.

Who are the Landmarks Illinois Influencers?

Landmarks Illinois Influencers are exceptional preservation leaders who have given their time, resources and expertise to ensure places of the past remain part of our state’s future. While they come from a variety of backgrounds, professions and places across Illinois, they each have positively impacted preservation in Illinois. Some are preservationists by trade while others came into the field through volunteer and philanthropic efforts. They include architects, planners, engineers, developers, historians, journalists, community organizers and advocates dedicated to our mission. These 20 Landmarks Illinois Influencers also include people who were part of our organization’s founding in 1971 or have served on our Board of Directors for many years as well as emerging professionals just beginning to make their mark on the preservation field.

“Our 50Forward event will celebrate the vision, passion and generosity of our Landmarks Illinois Influencers and the mark they have made on our mission of saving places for people,” said Bonnie McDonald, President & CEO of Landmarks Illinois. “Collectively, these 20 distinguished preservation leaders represent the growth and evolution of our organization over the last 50 years, helping us become a successful nonprofit recognized not only throughout the state, but nationwide. We know this group will continue to move our organization forward to create a more diverse, inclusive and equitable preservation movement.”

Our 20 Landmarks Illinois influencers are listed below in alphabetical order. To learn more about each of them, visit our website.

  • Joe Antunovich, Landmarks Illinois Board Chair (2003-2005), Founding Principal and President, Antunovich Associates
  • David Bahlman, Former Landmarks Illinois President (1999-2008)
  • Lee Bey, Journalist, Photographer, Editorial Board Member, Chicago Sun-Times
  • Erika Block, Landmarks Illinois Board Member, Skyline Council Co-Chair (2014-2016)
  • Ciere Boatright, Landmarks Illinois 50th Anniversary Task Force Member,
    Vice President of Real Estate and Inclusion, Chicago Neighborhood Initiatives
  • Jean Follett, Landmarks Illinois Board Member, Interim Executive Director (1998, 2011-2012), Historic Preservation Consultant
  • Ed Gerns, Landmarks Illinois Emeritus Board Member, Senior Principal, Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, Inc.
  • Shelley Gorson, Landmarks Illinois Board Chair (2011-2013)
  • Dr. Stacy Grundy, Vice President, Route History
  • Allen Johnson, Partner and Director, Chicago Office, MacRostie Historic Advisors LLC
  • Katie Kim, Landmarks Illinois Board Member, CEO & Designated Managing Broker, The Kim Group
  • Richard Miller, Landmarks Illinois Founder and Board President (1971 – 1976), Attorney
  • Emilio Padilla, Landmarks Illinois Board Member, Landmarks Illinois 50th Anniversary Task Force Member, Project Designer, JGMA
  • Sandra Rand, Landmarks Illinois Board Chair, Purchasing Professional
  • Erica Ruggiero, Skyline Council Member, Principal, McGuire Igleski and Associates
  • Martin Tangora, Landmarks Illinois Board Member (1971-present) and Board President (1976), Mathematician
  • Allison Toonen-Talamo, Landmarks Illinois Board Member, Skyline Council Chair (2018-2020), Associate III, Klein & Hoffman
  • Jack Tribbia, Landmarks Illinois Board Member, President – Restoration Division, Berglund Construction
  • Anne Voshel, Longtime Landmarks Illinois Board Member, Current Emeritus Board Member, Principal, AVA Consultants, LLC
  • Gail White, Former Landmarks Illinois Board Member, Current Regional Advisor, Partner & Principal, White & Borgognoni Architects

You can learn more about how we selected our 20 Landmarks Illinois Influencers and the nomination process here.

50Forward Event Details

50Forward will take place Thursday, March 25, 2021. A pre-program virtual networking event will begin at 5:30 p.m. central with the 50Forward event program beginning at 6:30 p.m. central.

Registration for the all-virtual event is required, and can be done so online. In lieu of a set ticket price, Landmarks Illinois will accept donations from registered guests. Event sponsorships are also available. All donations and fundraising from the event will go directly toward Landmarks Illinois’ advocacy programs.

All registrants will receive a custom link to the event prior to the event date. To learn more about the event and to register, visit www.Landmarks.org/50Forward.

More about our 50th Anniversary

Founded in 1971 in an effort to save the Adler & Sullivan-designed Chicago Stock Exchange building, Landmarks Illinois has grown into the state’s leading voice for historic preservation over the last 50 years. We consistently work as a primary resource for all things related to preservation in Illinois, serving as a persistent advocate on the front line, working with local advocates in Illinois communities to save places and partnering with state legislators and city and town officials to enact legislation and local ordinances that support the preservation of place. We connect people to preservation professionals like architects, engineers and historic advisors and provide grant funding that helps to finance adaptive reuse and restoration projects.

Last year, in preparation for our 50th anniversary in 2021, Landmarks Illinois developed a 50th Anniversary Task Force to begin planning for the future of our organization’s work and the future of the preservation movement in Illinois. Landmarks Illinois will share our vision for the future at the 50Forward event.

“Our anniversary is a time for both reflection and forward thinking of how we want to continue to deliver preservation solutions, expertise and resources people in Illinois need to save the places that matter to them and their neighbors,” said McDonald. “As Landmarks Illinois marks half a century of saving places, our focus will be on ensuring we are best serving all people and all communities in Illinois who want to preserve the buildings, sites and stories that help tell their unique histories.”

For more information on Landmarks Illinois, visit www.Landmarks.org.



Learn more about the 50Forward event:


Support our advocacy

Be a voice for the future of our communities by supporting Landmarks Illinois. Our work enhances communities, empowers citizens, promotes local economic development and offers environmentally sound solutions.

Become A Member