Since the economic troubles of 2008 many Americans hold a negative view of wall street, and are quick to question the character of those in the financial industry. This negative view is bolstered by the many voices on cable news shows talking about income inequality. They point to the unfair economic advantages of the very wealthy. Money in politics is another issue that has pitted the very wealthy against every other income class. Most arguments on both sides of these complicated issues have elements of truth, elements of spin, and elements that are completely false. The contention leads to one unavoidable outcome for many people, and billionaires are often counted among the evil of society. As with most generalizations, some billionaires probably belong in the evil category, but societies must always tread carefully when passing judgment on one whole group based on the actions of a few. Societies must also consider that billionaire’s donate significant funds to a wide variety of charities. Ken Griffin is one billionaire that believes in giving back to his community.
Ken Griffin built his personal fortune by founding an investment firm named Citadel http://www.wsj.com/articles/citadels-ken-griffin-leaves-2008-tumble-far-behind-1438655887. Since its inception, Citadel has grown to a respectable worth of approximately $25 billion. Some would argue that this success, and the fortune that comes with it, places Ken squarely in the evil billionaire category. Taking a look at the activities of the Kenneth and Anne Griffin Foundation will provide significant evidence to the contrary.
The Griffin’s foundation donates serious money in several areas where they feel they can help. Their primary interests are education, health care, community development, and anti-poverty. In the areas of health, Ken’s philanthropic interests are widely varied, but all have to do with research aimed at finding a cure. Both Mr. and Mrs. Griffin through their foundation have given large amounts of money to children’s hospitals and have donated large amounts into researching serious illnesses like Alzheimer’s and cancer. One of Mr. Griffin’s favorite educational institutions for donation is Harvard. He recently donated $150 million for scholarship funds. The Griffins also believe strongly in supporting early childhood educational development.
The Griffin’s also bestow grants to Chicago organizations. The University of Chicago has received very significant amounts of money from Griffin grants. In addition to funding causes that help others, Mr. Griffin also supports the arts. He has served as a member on the Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art’s board of trustees for about fifteen years. He has a serious penchant for collecting modern art, and earlier this year used the Kenneth G. Griffin Charitable Fund to donate $10 million to the museum.
Perhaps billionaires do live in the rarified air above the majority of regular working class people; however, if Kenneth Griffin is any example some of them are still connected to the regular world and understand that with great wealth comes great responsibility.