Indianapolis, IN

The richest person in Indianapolis is giving away millions

Ash Jurberg

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Jim Irsay with President George W. Bush after the Indianapolis Colts visited the White HouseImage from WikiCommons images

I have been writing a series of articles about successful entrepreneurs and business leaders and what these wealthy people do to give back to the community. Readers love to see good news stories about people doing good things.

Today, I thought we would take a quick look at the richest person in Indianapolis and his charitable efforts.

The richest person in Indianapolis

The richest person in Indianapolis is Jim Irsay.

Irsay was born in Illinois in 1959 and went to high school in Illinois before attending Southern Methodist University to study broadcast journalism.

He played linebacker for his college team before an ankle injury ended his on-field football career. However, this led to the beginning of his off-field career with the Colts- a team he had grown up with since his father Robert purchased them in 1972.

When Robert Irsay relocated his NFL team from Baltimore to Indianapolis in 1984, Jim was promoted to Vice President and General Manager. When Robert suffered a stroke in 1995, Jim assumed day-to-day team management. Robert died in 1997, which led to a legal fight between Jim and his stepmother over the team's ownership.

Jim won the legal stoush, and at the age of just 37, he became the youngest NFL team owner. Since he became owner, the Indianapolis Colts have improved their on-field success- earning 14 winning seasons and winning the Super Bowl in 2006.

The team's success has given Irsay a net worth of $3.5 billion. And he is putting his money to good use by helping others.

Philanthropy

Jim Irsay is passionate about mental health.

Last year, he committed over $4 million to expand mental health treatment throughout Indiana. In addition, together with the Indianapolis Colts, he launched the Kicking the Stigma Action Grant program, which offers Indiana-based organizations the opportunity to request funding for projects and programs focusing on the education, support, and advocacy of mental health and mental illness.

People are afraid, they’re scared, they’re lonely, they’re outgunned. They need support in a big way. Mental illnesses make you feel like there is no solution.That’s not true. That’s why we’re here, boots on the ground, and we’ll try to help every single person, any way we can.” Jim Irsay

In January this year, Jim Irsay and his family donated $650,000 to the Riley Children’s Foundation to expand the Indiana Behavioral Health Access Program for Youth. This program aims to improve access to mental health services for children and adolescents in Indiana.

Irsay contributes to other organizations as well. Some notable donations include:

Readers, what do you think of Irsay's commitment to philanthropy? What other organizations in Indianapolis would you like to see him support?

Please leave your comments below.

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