The richest person in Wisconsin in 2022

Ash Jurberg

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It's my favorite time of the year. The day when Forbes releases their annual list of billionaires.

As a business writer, it feels like Christmas Day as I research all the exciting stories. This year there are 2,668 billionaires in the world, a drop of 329 from last year.

There are eight billionaires in Wisconsin, but only one can lay claim to the title of the richest person in Wisconsin.

The richest person in Wisconsin

John Menard Jr, who lives in Eau Claire, has a net worth of $15.8 billion, making him the richest person in Wisconsin. This is an increase of $1.6 billion over the last 12 months. He is ranked 104th richest person in the world, up from 2021 when he was ranked at number 145.

The name Menard will be familiar to many readers as he owns the home improvement retailer Menards which has over 300 stores across the United States that combine for almost $12 billion in revenue.

John grew up in Eau Claire, the oldest of eight children, and graduated with a business degree from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.

He started his first business in 1958 when he was just 18 and opened his first hardware store in 1964. Menards is now the third-largest home improvement chain in the United States, only behind Lowes and Home Depot.

Philanthropy

When I write these articles, readers also ask me what these successful people do to give back to their community. So let's take a quick look at Menard's charitable efforts.

He has made some large donations in the past, including:

  • $15 million to support Eau Claire's Luther Midelfort Hospital.
  • $10 million to support the Eau Claire Area YMCA.
  • $5 million to the Drug Enforcement and Policy Center at Ohio State University's Moritz Collge of Law
  • $2.1 million to the UW-La Crosse business college
  • $3 million to UW-Eau Claire to fund the school’s Center for Constitutional Studies

While these are all generous donations, some critics point out that Menard has donated less than 1% of his wealth.

Readers, what do you think? Are you glad for Menard's success and the jobs he has created in Wisconsin? Or do you believe he should be donating more the worthy organizations in Wisconsin?

Please leave your comments in the section below.

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