Millennium Park Foundation

2020 Annual Report

View Chairman's Remarks

With Gratitude

"Facing what seemed insurmountable obstacles, Millennium Park overcame the challenges of 2020 and remained as Chicago’s free and open cultural space for all to enjoy."

Donna LaPietra, Chair and President, Millennium Park Foundation

Donna LaPietra

Greetings from Millennium Park and welcome to our first ever virtual annual report. Being in Millennium Park provides visitors the wonder of discovering a great outdoor cultural Oasis set against the towering urban skyscape of Chicago. Over the past year, we learned just how irreplaceable spaces like the Park are, as we faced a challenge unlike any other with the COVID-19 pandemic. From March through June of 2020, for the first time in its 17 year history, the Park was closed to visitors.

However, while we were not open to the public, the Foundation and its staff continued its regular maintenance responsibilities but also used the time to add some new enhancements, eagerly awaiting the day we could welcome visitors once again. We were able to complete the new North Gardens. Our new bulb plantings from the previous fall were shared with the world for the first time, dazzling social media. And our arborists were able to get to work on the “front yard” of Millennium Park, pruning the trees on Michigan Avenue and along the entrance walkways. It wouldn’t be long before it was all part of welcoming visitors into the Park once again.

In June, as Chicago entered a less restrictive phase of pandemic mitigation, Millennium Park safely reopened to in-person visitors. The great works of art, and the trove of horticultural treasures provided a restorative power to all who would simply come to walk among them. The Great Lawn opened as social distancing circles were created for guests to enjoy. Mask wearing metered entry and limited access to certain artworks allowed the public to enjoy the Park throughout the remainder of the summer, fall, and winter. But despite the spectacular outdoor space the park provided, the ability to provide public engagement was still needed.

The Foundation worked with the City to create virtual programming to help bring the rich cultural experiences of the Park to online visitors. And, building on the partnership with the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, students developed, directed and delivered a virtual arts engagement event featuring the work of Edra Soto and Christine Tarkovsky. Those works will continue to be on display in the Boeing Galleries throughout the spring of 2023. Continuing the rich tradition of summer music festivals, Millennium Park brought the sites and sounds of our outdoor programming to visitors at home. The Millennium Park at Home series welcomed a diverse set of artists to perform for virtual jazz, blues, house, and gospel festivals, Chicago Children's Choir, Grant Park Music Festival, a special music series and summer workouts.

In 2020, Millennium Park won two prestigious awards. The American Society of Landscape Architects' 2020 Landmark Award that recognizes a public landscape project that has both maintained its design excellence and helped to redefine public park and public space projects. And, a silver medal for the World Urban Parks, International Large Urban Parks Award. This silver medal recognizes the Park as one of the best all-around public parks in the world. Millennium Park continues to set new standards for public space design, landscape, arts, and cultural activities.

Weathering the storm of this past year would not have been possible, were Chicago’s great oasis not built on such strong foundations. Not the kind that support our buildings and installations, but all of you who support the soul of our beloved Park. I thank you all for your dedicated support to the Millennium Park Foundation. It really helped to ensure that we made it through this year of obstacles and difficulties. As long as we continue to work together, we will be able to adapt and ensure incredible memories are made here in the Park and that we will enrich the lives of all Chicagoans and all visitors who come from around the nation and the globe. Thank you.

Donna LaPietra
Chair and President, Millennium Park Foundation

millennium park at home

Connecting and Sharing Through Health & Wellness

Millennium Park Foundation, through the generous funding provided by the McDonald’s Active Lifestyles Endowment, supported a series of free virtual workout and fitness sessions in 2020.



lead chicago instructors



free virtual workout sessions




Movement In A Time of Stillness

Millennium Park Foundation, in partnership with the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, produced Movement in a Time of Stillness, a virtual art experience enhancing the works of Edra Soto and Christine Tarkowski currently on display in Millennium Park’s Boeing Galleries. The special event included a commissioned dance and music piece by Ayako Kato and Mabel Kwan.

"The collaboration with Ayako and Mabel was such a creative moment. The collision between different works of different artists has brought a new spark to Edra’s Screenhouse and created more possibilities for the exhibition."

Saijun Wang, SAIC student

ayako kato & mabel kwan performance

Ayako Kato, an award-winning dancer and choreographer, and Mabel Kwan, a classical and experimental pianist, created an embodied response to Edra Soto’s Screenhouse. While Kato and Kwan’s combination of dance and sound was created in response to Soto’s Screenhouse specifically, it also spoke to the events of 2020.

park enhancements

Landscape Excellence

In 2020, Millennium Park Foundation continued efforts to elevate the horticultural arts throughout Millennium Park. Over 30,000 square feet of new gardens were completed—adding a higher standard of landscape artistry and ecology to the Park.

lurie garden

Nurturing A World-Class Urban Garden

Lurie Garden, Millennium Park’s urban public garden, showcased the floriferous display of tulips and other spring bulbs by bringing the experience to the public through virtual tours and special online events with the Garden’s bulb designer, Jacqueline van der Kloet.

Lurie Garden team (left), with Jacqueline van der Kloet (right), planting bulbs in Lurie Graden in Fall 2019.






new types of bulbs

lurie garden

Jacqueline van der Kloet, world renowned garden designer from the Netherlands, oversaw the planting of her spring design initiative at Lurie Garden in Fall 2019.

millennium park holidays

Celebrating Hope

Millennium Park Foundation provided support for enhanced décor surrounding the base of the City of Chicago Christmas tree, as well as supporting the production of DCASE’s virtual tree lighting event.


Excellence and Impact

2020 Landmark Award | ASLA

In September 2020, Millennium Park was awarded the American Society of Landscape Architects’ 2020 Landmark Award. The award recognizes a public landscape project that has both maintained its design excellence and helped to redefine public park and public space projects.

ASLA logo

Silver Medal | World Urban Parks

In December 2020, Millennium Park was awarded a Silver Medal for the World Urban Parks, International Large Urban Parks Award. The Silver Medal recognizes the Park as one of the best all-around public parks in the world.

World Urban Parks logo

“Millennium Park has become the most visited and recognizable destination and visible public space in Chicago... I have every confidence and belief that it will come roaring back with the opening of our city and economy to take its place of preeminence that it has always had. I’m so proud to be affiliated with this unique and most important Chicago asset and destination.”

Douglas Mabie, Director, Millennium Park Foundation


Anonymous (1)
Barbara and James F. Beré
Naomi T. and Robert C. Borwell
Joan Boughton and Henry Kleeman
Suzann and Gary Brinson
Neville and John Bryan
Gilda and Henry Buchbinder Family
Kay and Matthew Bucksbaum
Rosemarie and Dean L. Buntrock
Rita and John Canning
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” and 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
Mellody Hobson and George Lucas
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
Michael and Janet Krasny
Kay and Fred Krehbiel
Posy and John Krehbiel
Bill Kurtis and Donna LaPietra
Lavin and Bernick Family
Liz and Eric Lefkofsky
Carol and Larry Levy Family
Loucks Family
Ann Lurie
Martha and John Mabie
Barry MacLean Family
Mary and Robert C. McCormack
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
Michele Schara and Randy Mehrberg 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.


The Allstate Corporation
Arthur Andersen
Aon Corporation
Ariel Investments
Bank of America
BMO Harris Financial Group
Baxter International
The Boeing Company
CNA Foundation
Goldman Sachs & Co.
JMB Realty Corporation
McDonald’s Corporation
Northern Trust
PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP
Sara Lee Corporation
The Sears-Roebuck Foundation
Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company Foundation

foundations & trusts

Cooper Family Foundation
Marshall and Jamee Field Family Fund
Lloyd A. Fry Foundation
The Grainger 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 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

board of directors

Ms. Donna LaPietra, Chair and President
Mr. A. Steven Crown
Mr. James F. Feldstein
Mr. Scott Hurwitz
Mr. Michael L. Keiser
Mr. Henry Kleeman, Secretary and Counsel
Mr. Douglas Mabie
Mr. John Mabie
Mr. Craig C. Martin
Mr. Cary D. McMillan, Treasurer
Mr. Randall Mehrberg
Mr. James J. O’Connor, Sr.
Mr. James J. O’Connor, Jr.
Ms. Gigi Pritzker Pucker
Mr. John W. Rogers
Mr. William Sick

Thank You.

Millennium Park Foundation extends its deepest gratitude to all essential workers who continue to keep Millennium Park safely open and functioning during the COVID-19 pandemic. The ongoing safe operation of the Park would not be possible without the thoughtful efforts of our electricians, engineers, security, custodial, and management staff.