Calumet Field Notes

The Foundation’s founders, Gaylord and Dorothy, were no armchair philanthropists. They spent a lot of time roaming the natural lands they loved. They attended concerts and museums devotedly. They loved books and libraries. And they gave generously of their time and treasure to each of these causes.

As the Foundation enters a new era under the leadership of executive director David Farren, the board and staff are emulating Gay and Dot all the more. The second weekend in July, we held an entire three-day board meeting in the Calumet. This gave us an opportunity to immerse ourselves in one of the Foundation’s five Chicago region geographic focus areas.

From the top of the US Bank Building, we relished a view of Millennium Reserve and its rich tapestry of natural lands, cultural gems and economic developments. While dining along the shores of Lake Calumet, we learned of artist live/work spaces underway in the Calumet and elsewhere throughout the greater Chicagoland region.

We hiked dunes and swales – the rare, signature landscape features of the Calumet – along the southern rim of Lake Michigan. Further inland, we strolled through the morainal forest of Meadowbrook Nature Center and Preserve, land we helped the Shirley Heinze Land Trust protect in perpetuity.

Our expert guides through these varied landscapes – both artistic and natural – were some of our long-time friends and partners. John Rogner and Jerry Adelmann, co-chairs of the Millennium Reserve Steering Committee. Paul Labus of The Nature Conservancy. Kris Krouse from Shirley Heinze. New friends included Theaster Gates from the Rebuild Foundation, Colin Hamilton from Artspace, Inc., and Paul Labovitz, the new superintendent of the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore.

During the business portion of the board meeting, the board reviewed and approved nearly $1.8 million in grants for land conservation and artistic vitality in both the Chicago region and the Lowcountry. See our Instagram feed for more photos from the weekend.

Speaking of the Lowcountry, this November we’re planning a similar board meeting adventure in the South Carolina lands that remain a second home for the Donnelley family today. On the docket are guided tours through the Francis Marion National Forest and the Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge, plus a boat cruise past conservation lands along Waccamaw and Pee Dee Rivers.

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