Nature for All: Founded on Courage


There is courage in acting for something you may not be able to enjoy in your lifetime. It takes an understanding of the urgency of the present paired with the imagination to see a potential future.

In 1963, Openlands was founded on courage.

In response to a nationally-recognized call for more natural and recreational open spaces in urban areas, The Welfare Council of Metropolitan Chicago formed the Open Lands Project. Ever since, Openlands has vigorously preserved natural recreational land and has become the organization people turn to, to address the Chicago region’s most pressing environmental issues.

Today, Openlands is propelled by new, accelerating challenges. The trifecta of environmental injustices, the climate crisis, and the rapid loss of biodiversity demands empathy, responsiveness, and vision for a bright and just future. Preserving and restoring natural spaces is one of the most powerful solutions to the global climate crisis. Verdant natural spaces and tree-lined streets increase health, safety, and quality of life for all. Openlands stands ready to play its vital role but seeks your help to redouble for the work ahead.

The Nature for All Campaign debuts during the 60th anniversary of the organization and the transition of its, President and CEO Jerry Adelmann. What better way than to build, in his honor, the organization’s resilience and vision for the work ahead as we welcome Michael Davidson to serve at its helm?

In planning the Nature for All Campaign, Openlands met with its most ardent donors. They emphasized how nature is essential to everyone’s lives, from wide-open acreages of Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie and the shorelines of Lake Michigan to intimate gardens, natural playgrounds, trails, and picnic groves. We are grateful to our long-time supporters who have already committed to join the campaign and especially for our two lead gifts from the Hamill Family Foundation and Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation.

We hope that you will join us in building a region of health and wholeness. Together, we will increase the pace of conservation of our lands, waters, and wildlife – our part in the planet’s future.

Looking forward to the work together.

Dean Fischer and Judith Stockdale
Co-Chairs, Nature for All Campaign

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