Open Space Institute Holds 50th Anniversary Gala Honoring Founders John & Patricia Adams and Longtime President & CEO Kim Elliman

New York, NY (May 9, 2024)—More than 500 guests joined the Open Space Institute (OSI) at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City on Wednesday, May 8th to celebrate the organization’s 50th Anniversary Gala. The event honored board founding chair John Adams and his wife, Patricia, a vital longtime supporter, as well as Kim Elliman, OSI’s former President & CEO, who retired in early April after more than 30 years in his role. Select photos available here; full gallery here.

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(L-R) John Adams, Patricia Adams, Kim Elliman, Amy Salzman and Erik Kulleseid attend the Open Space Institute 50th Anniversary Gala on May 08, 2024 in New York City.
Image Credit: Photo by Udo Salters/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

The Gala raised more than $1.4 million for OSI, a national leader in land protection and expanding public access to the outdoors.  The event featured a keynote address from Kris Tompkins, President and co-founder of Tompkins Conservation and former CEO of the Patagonia outdoor recreation company.

“The gala was both a wonderful celebration of OSI’s 50 years and a spirited testament to the enormous values of the smart, strategic land conservation on which OSI has built its reputation,” said OSI president and CEO, Erik Kulleseid. “Our deepest thanks to all who had a hand in making our celebratory event an unparalleled success including our Board of Trustees, gala chairs and host committee members, guests. This event was truly one for the ages.”

"From our beginnings in New York’s Hudson Valley and Catskills regions, OSI has grown into a powerhouse in the fields of land protection, conservation policy, and improving the public access to protected land for all,” said OSI Board of Trustees co-chair, Amy Salzman. “We are extraordinarily proud of everything we have achieved over the past five decades and prouder yet of the community of supporters, partners, and friends with whom we share our success. With the strength of this expansive community, our committed board of trustees, and stellar staff, we are poised for continued and greater success in the future."

The event marked OSI’s first-ever Gala. In addition to the Gala, the organization is celebrating a key milestone this year: 2.5 million acres of land saved directly and with partners throughout the eastern seaboard of the United States and southern Canada. View the 50th Anniversary Gala video below to experience OSI's accomplishments over the last five decades; story continues below video.

OSI extends sincere thanks to the honorary chairs for OSI’s 50th Anniversary Gala: Christopher C. Davis, Leonard A. Lauder, Kitty Patterson & Tom Kempner, Larry Rockefeller & Wendy Gordon, Elizabeth W. Smith, and Lucy Rockefeller Waletzky, M.D. They were joined by honorary co-chairs Kate Adams & Duke Wiser, Tom & Currie Barron, Lea Paine Highet & Ian Highet, and Amy Salzman & Randy Milch. The Gala committee comprised Carol Ash, Virginia & Dana Beach, Anne Perkins Cabot, Kim Elliman & Jennifer Cunningham, Paul Elston & Frances Beinecke, Buzzy Geduld, Trustees and Staff of the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, Joseph & Carson Gleberman, Jane & Roger Goodell, Holly Hegener & Jon Cummings, Samuel G. Huber & Catherine Weiss, J.M. Kaplan Fund, the Klipper Family, Larry & Dana Linden, Michael Mantell, Barnabas McHenry, Thomas McHenry, the Prospect Hill Foundation, Jennifer Perkins Speers, Hume Steyer & Nanahya Santana, Patricia F. Sullivan, Marjorie & Charles Van Dercook, Robin & Giorgios Vlamis, and Kim & Finn Wentworth.

About Kim Elliman

Christopher “Kim” Elliman is a nationally recognized leader in land conservation policy, strategy, and advocacy who spent more than three decades at the helm of OSI as President & CEO. Kim’s retirement in April 2024 bookended a remarkable era of programmatic and geographic expansion for OSI, during which the organization grew from a local, Hudson Valley land trust into a nationally recognized conservation leader active in 17 states in the eastern United States and three Canadian provinces. Throughout his career, Kim has served on numerous boards and foundations, including: the Adirondack Land Trust; Black Rock Forest Consortium; Butler Conservation Fund; The Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation; GROW NYC; Jamaica Bay Rockaway Parks Conservancy; Overhills Foundation; Samuel Freeman Charitable Trust; Storm King Arts Center; The Wilderness Society; the Wildlife Conservation Society; and Yale School of the Environment Steering Committee.

About John & Patricia Adams

Over their long and storied careers, John and Patricia Adams have worked together to honor and protect the natural world. John is the Founding Chairman of OSI and has served as the Chair of the Board of Trustees since its establishment. He is also Founding Director of the Natural Resources Defense Council. He has been the recipient of numerous awards and commendations in recognition of his work, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor in the United States. John and Patricia have worked with OSI and local communities to preserve and enhance the Hudson Valley and the Beaverkill, ensuring and expanding public access and protecting our precious environmental resources.

About the Open Space Institute

The Open Space Institute is a national leader in land conservation and efforts to make parks and other protected land more welcoming for all. Since 1974, OSI has partnered in the protection of more than 2.5 million at-risk and environmentally sensitive acres in the eastern U.S. and Canada. OSI’s land protection promotes clean air and water, improves access to recreation, provides wildlife habitat, strengthens communities, and combats climate change, while curbing its devastating effects.

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