Every year, the Chronicle of Philanthropy comes out with its list of biggest donors to highlight individuals and couples who have committed large sums to charitable causes. This year, three couples with strong Chicago connections were listed on the Chronicle’s top 50 list. And while not all local donors choose to keep their money close to home, it’s still interesting to see who the big givers are around town.
One of these donors is Larry Gies, who came in at number 14 on the list, and who we’ve covered at IP in the past. Gies is the founder and CEO of Madison Industries, a Chicago-based business management company that works with diverse industries including medical, energy and HVAC services. Gies and Beth, his wife, made the list because of their $177.5 million gift to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. This donation went to the business school for student programs, faculty recruitment and retention, and student scholarships.
Gies’ philanthropic foundation, the Gies Foundation, focuses on education, health, and youth, and it helped establish a full-scholarship school for third to eighth grade boys on Chicago’s West Side. Youth sports and closing the education achievement gap are also among Gies’ interests. The Gies Foundation does not have a website or provide a clear way for grantseekers to get in touch. At the end of a recent year, the foundation had over $4.9 million in assets.
As we go further down the Chronicle’s list, we get acquainted with some other interesting individual donors with Chicago connections.
Although Richard and Amy Wallman live in Jacksonville, Florida, they have a Chicago college connection. The couple appeared on the 2017 list of big donations by individual donors at number 31, and they gave $75 million to the University of Chicago Booth School of Business last year. During their careers, Richard was the CFO of Honeywell, and Amy worked as an audit partner for Ernst & Young. Both of them attended the university and actually met each other here. To say thanks for the donation, Chicago Booth named its academic high honors distinction after the Wallmans.
“We have great affection for the University of Chicago—the Booth School of Business is world-class, and we hope our gift makes it even better,” Amy Wallman said. “The Booth School is very special to us, not only because we met there,” Richard Wallman added, “but also because we have sponsored 26 scholarship recipients over the years and are delighted to have had a modest impact on these students’ lives.”
Finally, Craig Duchossois and his wife, Janet, came in at number 40 on the latest Chronicle of Philanthropy list. They made an individual $50 million donation to UChicago Medicine, and their foundation, the Duchossois Family Foundation, made an additional $50 million donation.
Craig Duchossois is the chairman and CEO of the Duchossois Group and serves on many nonprofit boards. These include the Culver Educational Foundation, Illinois Institute of Technology, University of Chicago, Kellogg Graduate School of Management, University of Chicago Hospitals, World Business Chicago, and the Chicago Council on Global Affairs.
Other local Chicago support from Duchossois’ foundation includes grants to the Boys and Girls Club of Chicago, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Greater Chicago Food Depository and WTTW Chicago Public Media. You can learn more about the Duchossois Family Foundation here.