NET WORTH: $7.9 billion
FUNDING AREAS: Education, Health, Arts & Culture, Chicago Community
SOURCE OF WEALTH: Founder, Citadel LLC
OVERVIEW: Kenneth Griffin, through his foundation, has shown strong support for education and health care, having given large donations to children's hospitals, as well as research into Alzheimer’s Disease, blindness and cancer. Now divorced from his wife, the former couple's foundation appears to be dissolved.
BACKGROUND: Ken Griffin graduated from Harvard. Griffin started trading in his Harvard dorm room in the 1980s. He founded Citadel LLC in 1990, which is headquartered in Chicago.
EDUCATION: Griffin has sponsored scholarships for students from Illinois and Europe, attending Harvard, and for students attending four designated prep schools in Chicago. Griffin recently made a huge $150 million gift to Harvard, almost all of which was for scholarships. He's also invested $10 million in the Griffin Early Childhood Center in Chicago Heights, spearheaded by the economist John List. Griffin is also Vice Chair of the Chicago Public Education Fund. As a couple, they have also given to Teach for America and the Alain Locke Initiative.
HEALTH: Griffin has given to myriad organizations involved in medical research, from Alzheimer’s to blindness to skin cancer. The Steadman Philippon Research Institute, which studies and develops sports medicine, has received steady, healthy donations, and Weill Cornell Medical School, and Children’s Memorial Hospital, have also received strong sums.
ARTS & CULTURE: Griffin made news in the art world in 2006 when he purchased Jasper Johns’s “False Start” for $80 million. But that’s merely indicative of a deep, behind-the-scenes interest in art, particularly contemporary art. Griffin bought two paintings by Willem de Kooning and Jackson Pollock from David Geffen in late 2015, reportedly paying $500 million in one of the biggest private art sales ever. Griffin once gave $40 million to the MoMA in New York. He also donated $19 million to the Art Institute to construct Griffin Court, which connects the museum to Millennium Park.
CHICAGO COMMUNITY: The lion’s share of Griffin's grant making has gone to Chicago-based organizations, including the University of Chicago, which received over $5 million between 2010 and 2011. Griffin also made a $12 million gift in late 2016 to the Chicago Parks District.
LOOKING FORWARD: Griffin was born in 1968, so there’s lots of time remaining to add another billion or two to his fortune. It's unclear what will happen with his foundation in the wake of his divorce, but in the meanwhile Griffin has been making a number of individual donations. What's more, a Griffin representative has said that "Griffin and Citadel will continue to play a very active role civically and philanthropically," which spells good news for grantseekers.
CONTACT: Citadel LLC