Ken Griffin, founder of Citadel
Pat Nabong/Sun-Times file
The spotlight has long been on Ken Griffin’s political donations, the controversies they generate, and his recent clashes with Gov. J.B. Pritzker.
But the impact of his departure on the world of philanthropy and charitable giving cannot be overstated.
That’s in no small part because it’s the latest and largest of several recent departures by wealthy Chicagoans with a history of giving the most.
That includes the Reyes family of Reyes Holdings, former Gov. Bruce Rauner, former Commonwealth Edison CEO John Rowe and former Morgan Stanley executive Bill Strong. Like Griffin, all three of those families picked up stakes and moved to Florida.
“Many of the major funders — like Ken Griffin, like so many others, the Reyes family … who are huge donors — are checking out. … And they’re in Florida. When they leave, their charitable dollars leave,” said a source close to the world of philanthropic and charitable giving in Chicago and Illinois.
“And so, when you look at institutions like the Art Institute … Golden Apple Foundation. Pick any of them. They’re all hurt by the impact of the charitable dollars leaving. It’s not just the jobs that are lost. It’s not just the taxes that are lost. It’s not just the political dollars that are lost. These are gonna hurt the front-line charities that are doing so much to help people. Who’s left? It’s heartbreaking. This whole thing is heartbreaking.”
Griffin’s departure is merely the “symptom of a larger problem,” the source said.
“If you look at the number of philanthropic donors who have left the state of Illinois and choose not to give to charitable organizations in the state of Illinois because they have to prove residency, it is a long and distinguished list. To quote Queen, ‘Another one bites the dust,’” the source said.
In fact, the source knew of at least 15 big-money donors who have left Illinois for Florida.
And those are just individuals. It also leaves a huge gap in donations when companies, such as Boeing, move their headquarters out of town.
People should be less concerned about how Griffin “spent his political dollars” and more concerned about the impact his departure will have on Chicago and Illinois charities, the source said.
“You think the 606 [trail] would have been built without Ken? Do you think the Field Museum would have gotten a new dinosaur or what he did for the [Museum of Science and Industry] or the University of Chicago?” the source said.
“Pick a million other things that he invested in. You think any of those things are gonna happen again? That he’ll want to do that? Probably not.”
In all, according to Citadel, Griffin has donated more than $600 million to educational, cultural, medical and civic organizations over the past 30 years.
Some of his donations:
May 2022 — $25 million to launch two academies at the University of Chicago that will provide six months of training to police leaders here and across the country and to people who …read more
Source:: Chicago Sun Times
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