Without the loyal support of our sponsors, this year’s Earth Day Benefit Month-Long Festival could never have come to fruition. We appreciate sponsors and donors at every level, but wanted to shine a special spotlight on some of our Oak, Maple and Birch sponsors from 2021.
If you have enjoyed The Conservation Foundation’s graphics, videos or website over the past couple of decades, we have Sikich to thank. This team of creative professionals gives our mission a visual appeal that both engages and delights. The Agency at Sikich is the new home of our long-time partners; their public relations, internal and external marketing teams have combined to create a full service agency devoted to getting their client’s messages out into the world. Two members of this team, brothers Matt and Mike Stout, grew up in Naperville, spent many hours exploring local parks, and even worked for the Naperville Park District. In this digital and newly distanced world, being able to communicate and connect over a computer screen is so important, and The Conservation Foundation could not be successful without Sikich helping to craft and amplify our message. For the Earth Day Benefit Month-Long Festival this year (and for many years before), Sikich created our graphic theme, the video montages of our County Gatherings, and the inspiring Light For Nature video we all enjoyed on Earth Day.
Limestone Production Group and Signature Production Group
If you attended one of our in-person events, you were treated to live music and ambient lighting that accentuated our gorgeous host parks and preserves. If you watched the live stream from home, the switching done from the presentations at Bobak’s to the videos and back requires equipment and expertise, and we were lucky to have both donated through Limestone Production Group and Signature Production Group.
Limestone Production Group is located in Batavia and headed by Jeff Beck, husband of Senior Advancement Officer Abby Beck. Limestone is a technical consulting company, providing technical direction, production design and production management services. Jeff served as the Technical Director and Production Manager for each county event, Earth Day Trivia Night, and Earth Day Benefit LIVE.
Friend Dave Schwarz, owner of Signature Production Group in St. Charles, generously donated all of the equipment necessary to create these awesome experiences. Signature has steadily invested in the latest production technology to create the best quality audio, lighting and video systems possible and we are fortunate they shared these systems with us! Their latest investment includes a 180-degree wraparound LED wall, perfect for creating high-impact virtual events in the COVID era!
CITGO has provided The Conservation Foundation support in many ways over the years, and we were so happy to have them as a sponsor for our Earth Day festivities in 2021. Our partnership began with the restoration of Heritage Quarries Recreation Area in Lemont years ago. Since then, they have been our partner on the restoration of O’Hara Woods Nature Preserve and supported not only the physical and ecological improvement of that land, but also community outreach, education and involvement – a core piece of our mission. CITGO has made O’Hara woods a destination for hikers, birders, and photographers who come to capture the beautiful blanket of spring ephemerals. We’re thankful that CITGO takes conservation and stewardship to heart and helps us achieve our mission through this important work!
Forest Preserve District of DuPage County
No one entity can tackle the great need to preserve habitat, restore native land, or protect wildlife alone and our longstanding partnership with the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County has been able to accomplish some amazing things that neither of us could have done on our own. The work the Forest Preserve District has done to preserve open space and create a diverse offering of recreation and education opportunities allowed many of us places to breath and relax during COVID 19. They saw almost 100% increase in visitors this past year and continue to have 40,000 more website hits per month than before the pandemic. Let’s hope some first time visitors engage with nature again and again in the future, grow closer to nature, and inspire more and more support for this important work going forward into a post-pandemic world!
We’re especially grateful to the Forest Preserve for hosting our DuPage County Earth Day Gathering in April at St. James Farm. If you haven’t had a chance to visit, this stunning property was the personal estate of Brooks McCormick, one of The Conservation Foundation’s founders.
The Inland Real Estate Group of Companies
You certainly can’t travel far in the Chicagoland region without seeing an Inland logo. We’re lucky to have a real estate giant that cares about the conservation of open space and works to protect high quality environment and high quality of life.
Love for the community has been woven into the Inland culture since its conception. Four school teachers wanted to make a bit of additional income, so they bought a few homes. Then a few more. They supported their families and involved other teachers to help out their own and increase their investment potential. It has since grown to employ over 1,000 people nationwide! Environmental stewardship has also been a priority of Inland’s from the start. Their Environmental Committee has included over 100 people, some that have stayed involved for decades. We’re thankful to have wonderful partners on this committee, including Dan Wagner, who also serves on The Conservation Foundation’s Board of Trustees. Their support for our work complements their leadership across the industry.
Paul and Eileen LeFort
Paul and Eileen have been close friends of ours for years. The contributions this couple has made not only to The Conservation Foundation but the greater good are immeasurable – from microlending in Africa, to teaching food co-ops in Chicago, to developing incubator programs for social impact companies, they are bringing forth a world their kids and grandkids can be very proud of. We’re honored to be included in the many local causes they support and are inspired by their relentless pursuit of a cleaner, greener, more just world!
Wheaton Bank & Trust Company
A big thank you to Wheaton Bank & Trust Company for being a sponsor of this year’s Earth Day Benefit! Wheaton Bank is a lot like The Conservation Foundation, in that they work in your neighborhood to support, strengthen, and serve the community. Especially during this past uncertain year, many people found themselves in need of the personal reassurance that comes from knowing your banker and having a familiar voice on the other end of the line that supports your hopes and dreams during the good times and has your back during the bad.
We are lucky to have Wheaton Bank & Trust President, Bob Hutchinson, as a long time trustee and former board chair of The Conservation Foundation. Having grown up in the region, Bob witnessed rapid development and the disappearance of open space firsthand. But thanks to his leadership and support of The Conservation Foundation, he can take pride in the return of the bald eagles, the egrets, and the ospreys among other species. It represents a higher quality of life for all of us when habitat is restored!
Christopher B. Burke Engineering, Ltd.
We are so grateful for the support of Christopher B. Burke Engineering, Ltd. as an Oak Level sponsor of this year’s Earth Day Benefit Month Long Festival.
Christopher B. Burke Engineering, Ltd. (CBBE) is a full-service engineering firm headquartered in Rosemont, IL serving both public and private sector clients. The organization is committed to sustainability and social responsibility, with committees actively engaging in programs to reduce their collective carbon footprint through recycling, composting and transportation. They have even been awarded Platinum Status as a Bicycle Friendly Business by the League of American Bicyclists for their Bike to Work program! They take pride in solving problems for their clients and putting into action programs to solve global problems as well.
This ethos comes from the top – Christopher Burke himself is an avid outdoorsman who’s been committed to conservation since high school. Chris is currently the Chairman of The Conservation Foundation’s Board of Trustees, and through his leadership and support, we are able to pursue our mission of protecting open space and cleaning up waterways. Chris helps us connect to the communities we serve, guide our conversations and broaden our reach. We’re very grateful for his service!