“We’ve got limited public sector resources to maintain these precious resources, so we need the public that benefits so much from the forest preserves to provide additional support with the maintenance and the wonderful programs that the Foundation supports.”

— Thomas Lanctot

 

The Forest Preserves of Cook County have long been a backdrop in the life of Thomas Lanctot, the Foundation’s newest board member. Growing up in Park Ridge, the former Boy Scout lived near a preserve. Then later, during the 30 years he and his family lived in Winnetka, “our house basically backed up to the forest preserves, so I’ve been around them a lot,” he says.

Tom Lanctot
Tom Lanctot

That proximity to the preserves over time has given Lanctot a deep appreciation for what he calls a “precious resource.” And that appreciation has carried over into how he sees his role as a board member.

These [preserves] are a gift to all of us in perpetuity and they’re irreplaceable assets,” he says. “Yet they require TLC, and that’s one of our missions at the Foundation.”

It was through Al Pritchett, former Foundation board chair, that Lanctot learned about the Foundation. Calling Pritchett “one of my all-time heroes,” Lanctot says that because Pritchett championed the Foundation’s mission, he was automatically on board with it.

Lanctot also serves as a board member for the Chicago Botanic Garden, Illinois Institute of Technology, and the Big Shoulders Fund. Additionally, he serves as director for the Ruth M. Rothstein CORE Center, and a trustee for the Vanguard Charitable Endowment Program.

Lanctot, who practiced law for many years and retired at the end of 2017 as managing director and head of debt capital markets for William Blair, also sits on the board of Chicago Botanic Garden, serving as its vice chair. He’s served on that board since 1995. Lanctot also serves as a board member for the Chicago Botanic Garden, Illinois Institute of Technology, and the Big Shoulders Fund. Additionally, he serves as director for the Ruth M. Rothstein CORE Center, and a trustee for the Vanguard Charitable Endowment Program.

It's not lost on Lanctot that the Garden sits on Forest Preserves land. "It's a great public-private partnership between the Garden and the Preserves," he says. “It’s a great example of how government and nonprofits can work together."

While he’s been a financial supporter of the Conservation Cup, the Foundation’s major fundraiser, Lanctot (pronounced Lang-toe) has never played in it. But now that he’s retired, he says he’s looking forward to actually playing golf with Pritchett at the outing, which takes place Sept. 13 this year.

In the meantime, he’s enjoying his retirement and looking forward to making a lasting contribution to the preserves through this work on the board.

He says: “We’ve got limited public sector resources to maintain these precious resources, so we need the public that benefits so much from the forest preserves to provide additional support with the maintenance and the wonderful programs that the Foundation supports.”

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