NET WORTH: Unknown
SOURCE OF WEALTH: Ariel Investments
FUNDING AREAS: Education & Youth, Financial Literacy, Racial Equity
OVERVIEW: John W. Rogers Jr. does not yet appear to have a personal or family foundation. Much of his civic and philanthropic engagement involves his native Chicago. Rogers was an early donor to the Barack Obama Foundation.
BACKGROUND: John W. Rogers Jr. was born in Chicago in 1958. As a kid, Rogers started receiving gifts of stock from his father, a juvenile court judge, for Christmas and birthdays, which helped introduce him to investing. Rogers went on to graduate from Princeton University with a degree in economics. He worked as a stockbroker before founding Ariel Investments, the first minority-owned mutual fund company, in 1983.
EDUCATION & YOUTH: Rogers has shown strong support for the University of Chicago and its Laboratory Schools. At the end of 2016, he gave a $10.5 million to support a scholarship fund for Lab Schools students and establish a "professional development program for under-resourced College students to pursue careers in finance." Rogers and his daughter Victoria attended the Lab Schools and his parents are alumni of UChicago's law school, of which Rogers's mother was the first black, female graduate. Rogers has served on UChicago's board for years and served as chairman of the Lab Schools board, during which time he helped raise $80 million for new buildings and programs. Rogers played a role in directing a $25 million gift to the Lab Schools from Mellody Hobson and her husband George Lucas, via the George Lucas Family Foundation. Hobson has been president of Ariel Investments for years.
Rogers has also supported alma mater Princeton, where he donated $1 million for athletic facilities and sits on the board.
FINANCIAL LITERACY: Rogers donated $1 million last decade to endow scholarships for eighth graders graduating from Ariel Community Academy, a public school located on the South Side of Chicago. The school emphasizes financial literacy in its curriculum. Rogers also co-chaired a presidential advisory council aimed at strengthening young people’s financial skills.
OTHER: Rogers serves as a director of the Barack Obama Foundation. The foundation's primary focus will initially be on overseeing the design and construction of the Obama Presidential Center, to be built on the South Side of Chicago. Rogers is also a director of the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights.
LOOKING FORWARD: Rogers is only in his 50s and still very much engaged in business. But there is plenty of time for his philanthropy to ramp up and his unique personal story makes him someone to especially watch.