Who We Are

Why do we love old buildings so much? They’re beautiful, they’re well-crafted and they just feel good to us. Oftentimes, they hold special memories. They anchor our neighborhoods and downtowns and make them unique. They provide context to our lives. They make us proud. Over time, they become part of our identity.

When a place that is important to people is threatened, Landmarks Illinois is here to help. Through a wide range of programs, we give people the inspiration and the tools they need to save the important places in their lives. We are an on-the-ground advocate, offering technical assistance, practical resources, small grants, education and endless support— all completely free of charge.


  • A primary resource for all things related to preserving and reusing older historic buildings in Illinois, and the only non-profit preservation organization serving the whole state.
  • A visionary leader experienced at navigating the political landscape and helping to shape policy for historic preservation and community revitalization.
  • A persistent advocate on the front line, ensuring the preservation perspective is part of the community decision-making process.
  • A proactive and strategic group leveraging resources to maximize community impact.
  • An innovator delivering new solutions that save more historic places.
  • A collaborative partner who can help make complex projects happen.

Founded in 1971, Landmarks Illinois is the state’s leading voice for historic preservation. We promote preservation, restoration and adaptive reuse of buildings and sites of many types in order to leverage our past to create a better future. We know that blending old and new makes communities resilient and interesting places to live, work and play.
We are people saving places for people.


Landmarks Illinois hosts many events throughout the year ranging from intimate gatherings to our 750-person gala. Each March, friends, supporters, business professionals and civic leaders gather for our Legendary Landmarks Celebration to acknowledge our successes and honor leaders and visionaries who contribute to a vibrant cultural landscape in Chicago and beyond.


Since its founding, Landmarks Illinois has been guided by the governing contribution
of a volunteer Board of Directors. Our 32 board members support the organization in many ways including the generous donation of intellectual, professional and financial capital. Landmarks Illinois’ board members are among our greatest strengths.

Our History

Landmarks Illinois is the state’s leading voice for historic preservation. The 1971 demolition of Adler and Sullivan’s Chicago Stock Exchange Building, widely considered an architectural masterpiece, gave rise to the formation of Landmarks Illinois. Today, it is statewide organization with 2,500 members.

In the 40+ years since its founding, Landmarks Illinois has saved countless architectural and historic treasures throughout the state. The organization has established a variety of programs to facilitate, promote and educate people about historic preservation.

Landmarks Illinois’ founding mission was to stop the demolition of significant buildings in downtown Chicago. Its mission today is the same, only broader – its scope now encompasses architecturally and historically significant sites, structures and districts in all the cities, towns and rural areas of Illinois.

Our Accountability

We strive to promote organizational accountability for and transparency about, how we operate and implement nonprofit best practices. Our strategic plan, annual reports, financial information and records of our accomplishments are available to the public, enabling you to feel confident about your investment in Landmarks Illinois. The Landmarks Preservation Council of Illinois (DBA Landmarks Illinois) is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Our Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN) is 36-2879987.

Landmarks Illinois’ Statement of Values

(Approved by the Board of Directors, November 28, 2017)

Landmarks Illinois is guided by four, core values that reflect our mission, culture and vision for an Illinois where people value places of the past as vital to the future.

Landmarks Illinois values:


We are at the forefront of the historic preservation field with inventive ideas and solutions that better help people to save the places of the past that matter to them.


We seek and freely share knowledge that furthers our mission and vision.


We seek to inspire others to believe, as we do, that preservation is progress and that by reusing places of the past we conserve irreplaceable cultural resources for people today and into the future.

Empowering People & Improving Lives:

We seek to be inclusive and equitable in our work to inspire people to save places for people, to help them succeed, to grow our movement and to improve the quality of life in the communities that we serve.

What are some of the ways Landmarks Illinois demonstrates its values?

  • Sharing our Statement of Values publicly on our website and in appropriate printed materials such as our annual report and case for support.
  • Implementing our values in our decision-making about the people and places that we serve.
  • Representing our values in areas of board and staff recruitment, development and training.


Fight for and model justice, equity, inclusion, diversity and accessibility.

  • Acknowledge the lives and land of Illinois’ ancestral and current Native communities and their sovereignty.
  • Respect people’s identities, beliefs, backgrounds, and ways of living.
  • Identify and eliminate barriers to engagement and provide fair and equitable access to resources and opportunities throughout the state.
  • Create an environment where people feel welcomed and valued, that they belong, are treated with dignity and where diversity is the culture.
  • Combat racism by identifying and challenging our own unconscious stereotypes and prejudices, intervening against acts and systems of discrimination and oppression, and ensuring the historic advantages that have privileged white people are no longer perpetuated in and through our work.

Confront climate change and promote environmental justice.

  • Become more knowledgeable about preservation’s role in confronting climate change and actively promote this message.
  • Prioritize projects where people and communities are most negatively affected by climate change and the inequitable distribution of polluting industries and actions.
  • Embrace new materials and technologies that reduce carbon emissions and improve the energy efficiency of historic places.

Build lasting and positive relationships through the investment of time and the free sharing of resources to support communities in their preservation efforts.

  • Positive relationships are where we succeed at achieving our mutual goals.
  • Investment refers to freely sharing many kinds of tools, including knowledge, connections to other people, successful examples, encouragement and money.
  • Communities will decide for themselves what is important and what’s needed to feel supported.

Identify, share and reinforce honest stories of people’s intersection with place.

  • With their permission, work with community members to find more information about the narratives and places they consider to be significant.
  • Engage in consensus building around these places and narratives and possible solutions.
  • Amplify community voices by sharing stories that may have gone untold. Recognize that the histories of many communities have been overlooked or intentionally excluded and that these histories may reveal difficult truths.

Be fully transparent and accountable.

  • Begin with being accountable to our own organizational history.
  • Transparency means open-access publishing of our policies, practices and processes, including who is involved, how decisions are made that allocate resources, where those resources are going and with whom we will be working.
  • Being transparent ensures accountability to our Guiding Principles and helps identify where change is still needed.



Our 50th Anniversary

Landmarks Illinois turned 50 in 2021. We treated the monumental anniversary as an opportunity to plan for our future to remain relevant for the next 50 years. Click below to learn more.

Our Code of Conduct

As the state’s leading voice for historic preservation and a registered 501(c)(3) organization, Landmarks Illinois’ policy is to uphold the highest legal, ethical and integrity standards. As an organization, Landmarks Illinois strives to be accountable and transparent, openly sharing its Guiding Principles, Statement of Values, strategic plan, annual reports and financial records with stakeholders and the public. Consistent with these principles and values is Landmarks Illinois’ conscientious observance of all applicable laws and regulations, as well as requiring the ethical, appropriate, decent and respectful conduct of all involved with the organization.

Click here to read our Code of Conduct.




  • Website: www.landmarks.org
  • Founded: 1971
  • Tagline: People Saving Places for People
  • Mission: To preserve, protect and promote architectural and historic resources in Illinois through advocacy and education.
  • Annual Budget: $2.3 million
  • Board of Directors: 32 members
  • Auxiliary Boards: Emeritus Board and Skyline Council
  • President and CEO: Bonnie McDonald
  • Staff: Nine staff members. Learn more.
  • Service Area: State of Illinois


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