About

Discover a state-of-the-art collection of architecture, landscape design and art that provides the backdrop for hundreds of free cultural programs including concerts, exhibitions, tours, and family activities. In Millennium Park, you’ll find a new kind of town square- a lively, spectacular gathering spot located in the heart of the city and destination for Chicagoans and visitors alike.


ABOUT MILLENNIUM PARK FOUNDATION

The Millennium Park Foundation is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to maintaining Millennium Park as a free venue for all Chicagoans today and for generations to come. In partnership with the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, the Millennium Park Foundation is also committed to the stewardship and improvement of Millennium Park and has the responsibility for the programming and care of several features including the public garden, the sculpture galleries and the public art.

Also visit City of Chicago’s Millennium Park Website.


HISTORY

Grant Park has historically been portrayed as the “front yard” of Chicago. Since its official designation as parkland in 1844, its approximately 320 acres of green space has served as the primary recreational area for generations of city dwellers. However, in 1852, despite early 19th Century legal restrictions that prohibited any development within the vacant premises, the City gavea significant portion of the land to the Illinois Central Railroad Company (ICR) in exchange for constructing a breakwater in Lake Michigan. This “swap” resulted in the construction of an immense system of railroad tracks running between Chicago’s waterfront and the developing Loop district. In 1909, Daniel Burnham laid out a master plan for the City of Chicago, calling for Grant Park to become the premier cultural center for the City. Because the City no longer controlled certain sections of the land; Burnham’s plan accommodated the existing railroad tracks and built the park around them.

Over the years, Grant Park evolved and cultural amenities were added in and around it. However, a lingering eyesore still remained – the Illinois Central Railroad tracks. Chicago’s long-sitting mayor, Richard M. Daley, found this blemish especially troubling (he was reported to have been particularly displeased with the view of it from his dentist’s office in a bordering building). During the 1990s, Daley set out on an ambitious campaign to make Chicago one of the greenest cities in the United States. Mayor Daley long viewed the northwest portion of Grant Park as an opportunity to provide additional public green space. The Mayor instructed his staff to pursue site control of the railroad lands. As a result, in 1996, the City filed a lawsuit against the ICR to regain some of the property within Grant Park. As it turned out, a provision in the original 1852 contract required the ICR property to be used for railroad purposes – a function that much of the land no longer maintained. The ICR therefore had to cede control of the property to the City. The reacquisition of this land made Daley’s proposal for the future Millennium Park possible.

Millennium Park Foundation and patrons hired various artists and architects to design and construct its sculptures and facilities. Each new addition to the Park presents its own story of vision, risk, project design, finance, construction and operation. In many ways the Park is the aggregate of the initial framework and individual additions of art, landscape design and architecture that were not anticipated in the original plan. Yet at each stage, the framework for planning was flexible and neutral enough to enable multiple options to evolve successfully. Each project enriched the whole, adding to the critical mass of attractions – and thus to the ability of the Park to attract a diverse group of visitors. In June 2004, a month before the Park’s opening date, the City announced that the Park would be managed the private, not-for-profit conservancy, Millennium Park Foundation. On July 16, 2004, four years after the initial estimated completion date, Millennium Park officially opened to the public.

Visit Chicago Public Library for more archival photos of Millennium Park.


FOUNDERS INDIVIDUALS

  • Anonymous (1)
  • Barbara and James F. Beré
  • Naomi T. and Robert C. Borwell
  • Suzann and Gary Brinson
  • Neville and John Bryan
  • Gilda and Henry Buchbinder Family
  • Kay and Matthew Bucksbaum
  • Rosemarie and Dean L. Buntrock
  • The Clinton Family
  • Gary and Francie Comer
  • The Crown Family
  • Judy and Jamie Dimon
  • Sue and Wes Dixon
  • Richard H. Driehaus
  • Janet and Craig Duchossois
  • Deborah and Bruce Duncan
  • Andrew "Flip" & Veronica Filipowski Family
  • Ginny and Peter Foreman Family
  • Linda and Bill Gantz
  • Glasser and Rosenthal Family
  • Anne and Howard Gottlieb
  • William B. Graham
  • Perry and Marty Granoff
  • Joyce and Avrum Gray and Family
  • Anne and Kenneth Griffin
  • Sandra and Jack Guthman
  • Bette and Neison Harris
  • Joan W. and Irving B. Harris
  • Natalie and Ben W. Heineman
  • Blair Hull and Family
  • Judy and Verne Istock
  • Debby and Ned Jannotta
  • Gretchen and Jay Jordan
  • Anne and Burt Kaplan
  • Dolores Kohl Kaplan and Morris A. Kaplan
  • Lindy and Michael Keiser
  • Connie and Dennis Keller
  • Rebecca and Lester Knight Family
  • Janet and Michael Krasny
  • Kay and Fred Krehbiel
  • Posy and John Krehbiel
  • Bill Kurtis and Donna LaPietra
  • Lavin and Bernick Family
  • Carol and Larry Levy Family
  • Loucks Family
  • Ann Lurie
  • Martha and John Mabie
  • Mary and Robert C. McCormack
  • Mary Ann and Barry MacLean
  • Newton N. and Josephine Baskin Minow
  • Janet and Richard Morrow
  • Muriel Kallis Newman & son Glenn Steinberg
  • John D. and Alexandra C. Nichols
  • Ellen and Jim O’Connor
  • Cathy and Bill Osborn
  • James A. Otterbeck Family
  • Sarah and Peer Pedersen
  • Port, Washlow, and Errant Family
  • Eleanor and William Wood Prince
  • Pritzker Family
  • Diana and Bruce Rauner
  • Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Family
  • Chris and Ted Schwartz
  • Dan Searle
  • Sally and Bill Searle
  • Stephanie and Bill Sick
  • Alice and Frank Slezak Family
  • Lois and Harrison Steans
  • Stone Family
  • The Stuart Family
  • Helen and Richard Thomas
  • Howard J. and Paula Miller Trienens
  • Tina and Byron Trott
  • Kim and Miles White
  • Oprah Winfrey
  • Vivian and Alexander Wislow
  • Helen and Sam Zell
  • Lisa W. and James J. Zenni, Jr.

CORPORATIONS

  • Abbott
  • The Allstate Corporation
  • Arthur Andersen
  • Aon Corporation
  • Ariel Mutual Funds
  • BP
  • Baxter International
  • The Boeing Company
  • Chase
  • CNA Foundation
  • Deloitte
  • Exelon
  • Goldman, Sachs & Co.
  • Harris Bank
  • JMB Realty Corporation
  • LaSalle Bank
  • McDonald’s Corporation
  • Northern Trust
  • PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP
  • Sara Lee Corporation
  • SBC
  • The Sears-Roebuck Foundation
  • Target
  • UBS
  • Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company Foundation

FOUNDATIONS/TRUSTS

  • Cooper Family Foundation
  • Marshall and Jamee Field Family Fund
  • Lloyd A. Fry Foundation
  • J. Ira and Nicki Harris Family Foundation
  • Kovler Family Foundation
  • The Francis L. Lederer Foundation
  • Ann and Robert H. Lurie Foundation
  • John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
  • Robert R. McCormick Tribune Foundation
  • Elizabeth Morse Genius Charitable Trusts
  • Polk Bros. Foundation
  • The Regenstein Foundation
  • Dr. Scholl Foundation
  • The Searle Funds at The Chicago Community Trust
  • The Siragusa Foundation