Chicago, IL

The former richest person in Chicago is giving away millions

Ash Jurberg

This week Forbes released a list of the 25 most generous people in the United States.

I love reading articles like these as they are positive and show the good people can do for their communities, and it is great to share positive, uplifting stories with readers.

Featured on the list was Ken Griffin- who held the title of the richest person in Chicago for many years.

Griffin has given $1.56 billion to various organizations over his lifetime.

Let's take a quick look at his story.

The road to billionaire

Griffin was born in 1968 in Daytona Beach, Florida, and spent his childhood across Florida, Texas, and Wisconsin. He started his first business, a discount mail-order education software firm, out of his bedroom while he was still in high school.

He studied Economics at Harvard in 1986, where he began making a range of small investments, which allowed him to build some profits. He even convinced Harvard to enable him to put a satellite dish on his dorm roof so he could get real-time stock quotes. Then, at 19, in 1987, he launched his first fund with $265,000.

Griffin moved to Chicago in 1989 and, a year later, started his own business- Citadel. Griffin was just 22 and was managing assets of $4.6 million. He continued to grow Citadel, and in 2003 he became the youngest self-made individual on the Forbes 400 with an estimated net worth of $650 million.

Citadel now manages $39 billion in assets and is responsible for one in five stock trades in the United States.

This led to Griffin becoming the richest person in Chicago- and he has been very generous in giving a lot of this back.


Griffin has always been very generous with his philanthropy.

He has worked with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to promote charter schools in the U.S. and fund tutoring. In addition, in 2014, Griffin donated $150 million to the financial aid program at Harvard University, the largest single donation ever made to Harvard at that time.

He has also donated $125 million to support the Department of Economics of the University of Chicago and 125 million to the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago, the largest gift in the museum's history.

Last year he donated $130 million across forty organizations in Chicago.

These include:

In 2022, after over 30 years of living in Chicago, Griffin moved to Miami. Even though he has left the city that he spent three decades in, he has promised to continue to support projects and organizations in Chicago.

Your thoughts

What do you think of the charitable giving of Ken Griffin? What other organizations in Chicago would you like to see him support?

Please leave a comment below and share this article with others so they can join the conversation.

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