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Faces of the Pier

Navy Pier is here for good -- and it always has been.

In 1909, architect and urban planner Daniel Burnham laid out an important vision.

“The lakefront by right belongs to the people … it should be made so alluring that it will become the fixed habit of the people to seek its restful presence at every opportunity.”

More than a century later, Navy Pier still belongs to the people. The generosity of philanthropic, individual, foundation and corporate donors ensures that Navy Pier remains free and accessible as the People’s Pier today.

There’ve been many challenges along the way. So to help guarantee the Pier’s future; to protect its commitment to culture, education and the arts; and to remove its operational burden from city and state taxpayers, Navy Pier became a non-profit organization in 2011.

Today, it’s the generous support of philanthropic, individual, foundation and corporate donors that allows Navy Pier to provide the Chicago community with more than 250 free annual arts and cultural programs each year.

Meet some of the Faces of the Pier who have had their lives benefited by your support.

brownsugarbakery stephanie Resampled

Brown Sugar Bakery

Stephanie Hart

"Coming from a community that is underrepresented, it is a celebration everyday for me to represent my community to the entire world, and it's just really important. And so, I don't feel like I'm at Navy Pier alone. I feel like at Navy Pier, I get to say, 'I'm here, and so are a bunch of other people that look like me, cook like me, speak like me,' and it's a huge honor."


Navy Pier Employee

Tierra Scott

"One thing I most enjoy about working at Navy Pier this summer is the guest! What would Navy Pier be without them. I love when people are enjoying themselves which makes me happy. Knowing that I am working hard to make people have a great day and enjoy Navy Pier, makes me love working at the Pier."

Navy Pier gives Chicagoans a piece of the waterfront to call their own

Navy Pier is here for good. But it will only continue to be with your help.

Now, as Navy Pier enters its second decade as a nonprofit, it seeks enthusiastic supporters and partners who share in its vision to help it be a vibrant civic space that makes memories for families and guests from across the street and around the globe. Help us keep this lakefront treasure the People’s Pier for centuries to come.

Navy Pier 4

Told by Jason Vasquez, Manager of Corporate & Volunteer Relations

Boys & Girls Clubs of Chicago

"Visiting Navy Pier every summer is one of the biggest highlights to our kids. To have such an iconic space to run, play and explore what the city has to offer is crucial to our Club members. We must continue to maintain and contribute to such an iconic Chicago institution."

JC Aevaliotis in the Centennial Wheel, with Navy Pier stretching out behind him

Program Officer, Polk Bros. Foundation

JC Aevaliotis

"I really love the idea of the 'People’s Pier,' the vision in Daniel Burnham’s 1909 Plan of Chicago. Chicago is truly unique in how much of its amazing lakefront is retained as public land, and the Pier is an important part of that legacy."

A model of sustainability

Navy Pier has been reinventing 50 acres of urban lakefront as a spectacular global destination and model of sustainability that will improve the health and vitality of the local community.


Musician with Sixteen Candles

Dave Ensslin

"Navy Pier is a place that “get’s it”. All of the staff that I have worked with at Navy Pier are upbeat and and you can feel that they are passionate about their job and truly enjoy being there. That just sets the tone for the incredible and welcoming experience that Navy Pier is. Navy Pier is more than another gig, it’s a tradition. It’s an experience!"


Pier Fitness Instructor

Robert Sanchez

"The best part are the people I get to meet each week. It is always a beautiful thing to see so many new and familiar faces year after year. Through Tuesday’s classes I have been able to build relationships with people I might not have had the opportunity to otherwise."

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Performing Artist

Brooke Reams

"Performing at Navy Pier has made a huge impact on me. I meet new people every time I play here. And playing at an outdoor venue with such a large and diverse audience has been a learning experience for me as a performer."

Help us keep our public programs free, all year long.

From workouts to after-work hangouts, the People's Pier is here to serve up the best in free public programming throughout your week.

About Navy Pier

More Than You Imagine

Navy Pier is the People’s Pier, Chicago’s lakefront treasure, welcoming all and offering dynamic and eclectic experiences through partnerships and programs that inspire discovery and wonder.

Since its reopening in 1995, more than 180 million guests have come to enjoy the Pier's 50 acres of unparalleled attractions and experiences. In 2021, Navy Pier continues to evolve into an accessible, year-round centerpiece for Chicago’s diverse arts and cultural treasures.

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Navy Pier

1-800 595-PIER (7437)

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