Bloomington, IN

The richest person in Bloomington is giving away millions

Ash Jurberg

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I have been writing a series of 'good news' articles looking at people who have been generous in giving back to their community.

Today, I wanted to shine the spotlight on the richest person in Bloomington, Indiana, and his charitable giving.

Let's take a quick look at his story.

The richest person in Bloomington is giving away millions

The wealthiest person in Bloomington is Carl Cook, who has a net worth of $10.5 billion.

Cook can thank his father, Bill, for his vast fortune. Bill Cook founded the Cook Group- a privately held company based in Bloomington that manufactures medical devices. Together with his wife Gayle, they started the company in their small Bloomington apartment in 1963. The Cooks invested $1,500 into a soldering iron, a blowtorch, and plastic tubing and started making catheters, needles, and wire guides from the spare room in their Bloomington apartment.

The business, Cook Group, has since grown to over 16,000 products sold in 135 countries. It has revenue of over $2.5 billion and employs over 12,000 people, with over 3000 in Bloomington. When Bill passed away in 2011, Carl took over as CEO of Cook Group.

In addition to medical supplies, the Cook Group owns CFC Properties, a property development company. Their properties in Bloomington include the Fountain Square Mall and Grant Street Inn.

Philanthropy

Both Bill and Carl Cook have donated significantly to organizations in Indiana.

Although Bill never attended Indiana University, he was a big donor to them. The Cooks donated over $45 million to the university while Bill was alive.

And Carl has continued the philanthropy of the Cook family since his dad's passing.

Carl has a love for historic restoration. Together with Bill, he provided $10 million to finance the restoration of the Old Centrum at 12th Street and Central Avenue on the Near Northside. The provided $7-million pledge to restore the former Central Avenue Methodist Church in Indianapolis, now known as the Indiana Landmarks Center.

The Cooks have also restored the Tivoli Theater in Spencer, Indiana, and supported an expansion of Ivy Tech’s Connie and Steve Ferguson Academic Building and the Lions Club office building in Newport. Together they have saved at least 57 historic structures in Indiana, including many in downtown Bloomington.

Readers, what do you think of Carl Cook and his family's contributions? And what other organizations in Bloomington would you like to see him support?

Please leave your comments below.

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