Ken Griffin, who tossed down $16.5 million to bring a gigantic dinosaur to the Field Museum, is going to wrestle a larger-than-life warrior: David Petraeus, the retired U.S. Army general who commanded troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Griffin, the billionaire CEO of hedge fund company Citadel, will take the stage Sept. 27 with Petraeus to raise money for the Navy SEAL Foundation. The Washington, D.C., group supports wounded members of the Navy’s special operations and families of those killed.
Griffin is receiving the Patriot Award for his personal and corporate philanthropy. He’s donated hundreds of thousands of dollars in recent years to the SEALs, veterans groups and civic endeavors, including that gift to the Field.
“The Navy SEALs represent the best of America — dedication, teamwork and sacrifice. They put themselves in harm’s way every day to protect our nation and our values. I am humbled by this recognition,” Griffin said in a release.
Petraeus, also a former CIA director, is a big draw for what will be a military-centric crowd. He was initially asked to give a speech, but event chairman Bill Strong thought Petraeus and Griffin have a nice rapport, so why not interview each other.
“It would be more fun and engaging for our audience to see a leading investor of our time and the leading warrior of our time ask each other questions,” said Strong, the chairman of Chicago-based Longford Capital Management. “They thought it was a great idea.”
All topics are on the table for discussion, including North Korea and Russia.
With tickets ranging from $2,500 to $250,000, it’s already a charitable success. About $4 million has been raised — and that doesn’t count proceeds from the auction.
Items up for bid: a SEAL war game experience, a day at Fox Sunday Sports and a 2017 Jeep donated by auto baron Bob Loquercio.
Meet quiet but connected Sherman Wright
Sherman Wright brings marketing expertise to the economic development group working around the Obama Presidential Center. And he brings a personal connection.
Wright bought his first Chicago home in Washington Park. He now lives in Bronzeville.
“When it was time to place roots, I wanted to be part of a community that I was passionate about,” he told me. “I wanted to be part of the revitalization.”
Wright joins former Education Secretary Arne Duncan in leading the economic development organization designed to make sure neighborhoods around the Obama Center complex benefit from its success.
“We want to ensure that they are part of it,” Sherman said.
The reserved businessman with an engaging smile has been working behind the scenes of Chicago’s nonprofit community for years. He served on the board of the education-focused A Better Chicago with Liam Krehbiel and on Chicago Urban League’s board with former President and CEO Andrea Zopp. She’s part of the economic development group too.
Wright also has joined the board of OneGoal, which helps underserved college students make it to graduation.
“I know firsthand that education is vital to developing a professional and personal life of prosperity,” he said.
Wright is a Houston native. His family wasn’t hurt by the floods but his police officer brother has worked around the clock to handle the catastrophe. Last year, Wright and business partner Ahmad Islam launched Ten35, an ad and marketing firm with offices in Chicago and Houston.
Among their clients is the Chicago Community Trust, which also has a stake in the new economic development group.
Honors for Richard Price
Richard Price, chairman and CEO of Mesirow Financial, is being honored by the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C.
The Chicago businessman has donated more than $1 million to the D.C. museum over the years and has helped raise millions more — even before shovels hit the ground to build the museum on the National Mall.
He’ll be feted Sept. 8 at the annual Risa K. Lambert Chicago Luncheon, which benefits the museum.
Other big funders at the event: Brian Feltzin of Sheffield Asset Management LLC; David Kahnweiler of Colliers International’s Chicago office; and David Storch of AAR Corp.
Obama’s vacation home plans
While President Barack Obama is having his president center built here in Chicago, the Obama family is shopping for a vacation home on Martha’s Vineyard, the Boston Globe reports.
The former first family is looking to buy “a place of their own on the island” after renting there for many years. One property in their sights overlooks the Atlantic Ocean and is owned by Caroline Kennedy, the paper said.
The Obamas would join a long list of celebrities who make Martha’s Vineyard a home away from home, including Chicago-area native and actor Bill Murray, who was Obama’s recent golf partner at the Farm Neck Golf Club, according to the Globe.
Read more Taking Names at shiakapos.com.