millennium park

Timothy Gilfoyle has written a marvelous history of all of the elements that went into the creation of this special urban space: the legislation that provided an open lakefront, the rise of the railroad infrastructure that brought economic wealth and cultural clout to Chicago and the subsequent decline that left a ghostly space in the heart of the city, the public private investments needed to fund the park, the impact of globalization on local corporate philanthropy, and the aesthetic vision that informed contemporary sculpture suitable to the scale of the park.


Crain’s Chicago Business
August 22, 2005
Out of the kindness of their hearts?
Big corporations give to recruit new customers, hedge bad press



LENGTH: 703 words

To witness the extent of corporate benevolence in Chicago, simply take a stroll through the city’s new crown-jewel attraction, Millennium Park.

On display: Wrigley Square. Exelon Pavilion. Chase Promenade. SBC Plaza. And, since June, a pair of art galleries bearing the Boeing Co. name.

Like many of its corporate brethren, Boeing made a $5-million contribution to help build the park’s open-air exhibition spaces as a token of “good corporate citizenship,” says Anne Roosevelt, Boeing‘s director of community and education relations. “We invest here because we live here.”


t could also be a case of keeping up with the Joneses-kicking in $5 million because that’s what the other big public companies did.

“Everything is politics between networks of executives and boards of directors,” Mr. Kotler says.

A stronger philanthropic presence can also hedge against bad press. “No amount of (charitable) support will overcome a scandal, but it could lessen the impact of it,” says Jim Andrews, vice-president of IEG Inc., a Chicago firm that tracks companies’ promotional spending.

`Intellectual deception’

Companies make charitable contributions for a variety of reasons, but pure altruism-known in the giving world as “checkbook philanthropy”-is rarely one of them.

That’s not to say that communities don’t benefit. They clearly do.

But these days, concepts like “strategic philanthropy” and “cause-related marketing” are bandied about as signs that companies are increasingly interested in wringing marketing benefits from their charitable dollars.

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