CCS partnered with Navy Pier to further their impact through a critical bridge campaign and develop a plan to expand and diversify Navy Pier’s philanthropic funding sources.

Based in: Chicago, IL, Central US, United States

Sector: Arts & Culture

Key Elements

  • CCS provided intensive bridge campaign management for Navy Pier at a highly critical time during the COVID-19 global pandemic
  • We partnered with Navy Pier to deepen and diversify its philanthropic revenue streams, creating long-term sustainability and growth
  • Inspired by a matching public grant of $8 million, this partnership raised over $9 million to reopen, support, and sustain Navy Pier

An iconic landmark focused on inspiring discovery and wonder in its guests, Navy Pier embraces all that is Chicago—its artists, culinary richness, cultural organizations, and diverse neighborhoods.

We partnered with CCS during a critical time for Navy Pier, as the global pandemic posed immense challenges for our organization. Together, we collaboratively conducted a successful Save the People’s Pier campaign and, with inspiration from our generous donors, engaged CCS to develop a sustainable, long-term fundraising strategy to advance Navy Pier’s mission and community impact.

Andrea Chwee, Director of Planning, Navy Pier


To continue serving the community in meaningful ways, Navy Pier needed to firmly establish itself as a future-facing, premier cultural destination. 

CCS was retained in early 2020 to consider a philanthropic effort to fuel the next phase of Navy Pier’s redevelopment, both in transformational physical infrastructure and impactful community programming. However, the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic severely impacted Navy Pier and its critical business and nonprofit partners. To minimize future operating losses and preserve resources for both the Pier and its partners, and to support public health and safety efforts, Navy Pier enacted a temporary closure. 


CCS shifted from campaign planning to seeking bridge funding to support immediate needs and preserve future operations and programs at Navy Pier. Through the Save the People’s Pier campaign, CCS provided intensive bridge campaign management for Navy Pier. 

Thanks to generous commitments from key supporters, Navy Pier was able to reopen in April 2021 and continue its revenue-generating operations. With a close partnership from CCS, Navy Pier explored strategies to diversify its philanthropic revenue to ensure long-term sustainability and growth. 


This critical partnership led to over $9 million raised philanthropically, inspired a matching public grant of $8 million from the State of Illinois, and provided momentum for $9 million from the federal Shuttered Venue Operators Grant program. Throughout the campaign and beyond, Navy Pier was able to explore diverse donor pipelines that paved the way for incredible new community programming. As a vital leader in the arts and cultural landscape of Chicago and beyond, Navy Pier was proud to reopen and continue to serve as a platform for so many beloved cultural programs and institutions.

Featured Team Member

Navy Pier is an important cultural organization of Chicago, providing hundreds of free community programs on an annual basis. CCS was proud to partner with this flagship institution to further their mission and impact in a time of great uncertainty in the city.

Maeve Riley, Senior Vice President, CCS Fundraising
A profile picture of Maeve Riley.

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