When Major Brands CEO Sue McCollum moved to St.Louis several decades ago, she settled in just a few blocks from Forest Park.

The first thing I did was find a job, buy a bike and ride in Forest Park. It was my way of finding peace — and connecting to the city that would become my new hometown.

Her roots have been growing stronger ever since. McCollum and her family have been near-daily users of the Park and passionate, generous advocates for its care. McCollum and her late husband, Todd Epsten, were leadership donors to the Park’s Restoring the Glory campaign, providing significant gifts to help restore Government Hill and create the Park’s recreational path. She is a former Hat Luncheon Co-Chair and currently serves on our Board of Directors. McCollum has also supported Forest Park through her executive role with Major Brands, including with Restaurants for Restoration, a wine promotion the company launched that has raised more than $100,000 for our conservancy. During the early phase of Forever, McCollum made a leadership commitment of $1 million. Recently, she made an additional gift of $1 million to the campaign, underscoring her remarkable commitment. We are pleased to share a few of McCollum’s thoughts about this special place:

“Forest Park is where we taught our kids how to ride a bike. It’s where we’d come after High Holiday services. It’s where we had our first picnic. Forest Park is a part of who we are, and it’s why we are so committed. It’s a place we always come back to as a family.”

“In the Park, you have the opportunity to see the rich and broad diversity of our region. All walks of life come to the Park, often celebrating or cataloging the milestones of life — a wedding, senior yearbook portrait or the perfect Christmas card shot on a bench overlooking Post-Dispatch Lake. Forest Park symbolizes what St. Louis is all about and our future.”

“When Major Brands brings people to St.Louis, we bring them to Forest Park. It says that we are a thriving, modern city that brings people together.”

“I can remember a time when people said maybe you shouldn’t be spending too much time in Forest Park. Today, the Park thrives — it pulses with life. Our chance now is to not ever forget about the Park or take it for granted. To keep it beautiful, we have to keep investing in it, through maintenance and common care.”