Kalamazoo, MI

The Kalamazoo billionaire giving away millions of dollars

Ash Jurberg

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Recently, I have been writing a series of articles on business leaders and entrepreneurs who have been giving back to the community. I like to spread good news stories, and readers enjoy these uplifting articles.

Today I wanted to shine the spotlight on a Kalamazoo billionaire who has given so much back to the city and numerous organizations worldwide.

Let's take a look at his story.

The Kalamazoo billionaire

Jon Stryker was born in Kalamazoo, Michigan, in 1958 and attended Kalamazoo College, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in 1982.

Although he has worked primarily as an architect, his wealth comes courtesy of his grandfather, Homer Stryker, who founded the medical products company, the Stryker Corporation.

Thanks to his share in the family business, Jon Stryker is worth $3.9 billion. And he is determined to give a lot of this away.

Philanthropy

In 2000, Stryker established the Arcus Foundation. This foundation primarily supports great ape conservation efforts and LGBT social justice and has awarded over $500 million in grants.

Stryker is also the co-founder of Save the Chimps, and his work to protect apes has seen the threatened species Rhinopithecus strykeri named after him.

In addition to those causes, Stryker has also donated to:

  • $5 million to the Equal Justice Initiative to help fund a national memorial to victims of racial lynching in the United States.
  • $55 million to the New York Community Trust to help those affected by the COVID pandemic.
  • $2.3 million project grant in 2009 to help launch the Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership at Kalamazoo College.
  • In 2018, Stryker donated $20 million to Kalamazoo College to create a 10-year scholarship program for students of color, first-generation students, and those from lower-income families.
  • In 2021, a $23 million grant to Kalamazoo College, which is the largest donation in the college's history.
  • In 2018, Stryker donated $20 million to Kalamazoo College to create a 10-year scholarship program for students of color, first-generation students, and those from lower-income families.
  • The donation of 22 acres of land along the west fork of Portage Creek in Kalamazoo to the Kalamazoo Nature Center. He also donated $700,000 to the project.

Stryker is known for his philanthropy, having given away over $675 million over his lifetime, and there appears no end in sight. He has been recognized as one of the nation's Top 50 donors by the Chronicle of Philanthropy.

Readers, what do you think of Jon Stryker's philanthropy? And what other organizations in Kalamazoo would you like to see him support?

Please leave your comments below.

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