Some significant foundations in the Midwest created by Jewish businessmen

Some significant foundations in the Midwest created by Jewish businessmen

The American Midwest Region has traditionally been one of the most important areas in the United States for doing businesses with Israel and the Jewish people. One of the principal reasons for these commercial trades is the great Jewish community established there more than 150 years ago. Due to this great society, all these towns have grown not only economically, but also socially and culturally. As we have seen in previous posts, this region has been the cradle of great entrepreneurs and amazing businessmen, founders of huge empires and corporations in different fields.

These men, are not only great businessmen but also the promoters of multiple social causes, helping both the Midwest cities and other nations around the world. Besides being some of the most important magnates and industrialist in the world, they are the founders of remarkable philanthropic institutions, which have supported and helped different social activities.

Some of the most important entrepreneurs in the Midwest Region are Sam Zell, the founder of the Equity Group, one of the biggest real estate investment trust in the world, or Jay Pritzker, the co-founder of the Hyatt Group, or Leslie Wexner, founder and CEO of L Brands, who are the owners of recognized companies like Victoria’s Secret, Bath & Body Works or La Senza. But as we mentioned before, all these men have extraordinary philanthropic institutions, which receive and invest large donations for their social causes.

Knowing the magnitude and potential of these three businessmen, it is important to show their social institutions and what they have done not only for the Midwest Region people but also for the United States and the world.

The Zell Family Foundation

Founded by Sam Zell and his wife, Helen Zell, this institution has been for years one of the best supports and promoters of different education programs. Moreover, The Zell Family Foundation contributes to other fields, like arts, literature, medicine, recreation, among other activities. This notable organization is currently preceded by Sam himself, and under his leadership, this foundation has benefited education institutes like the University of Michigan, the University of Pennsylvania, and the Museum of Contemporary Art and the Chicago Symphony. Besides the donations in these establishments, the Zell Family Foundation has contributed with the Herzliya Interdisciplinary Center, the Israel Center for Social and Economic Progress in Israel, and the American Jewish Committee and the Bernard Zell Anshe Emet Day School in Chicago.

In 2011, the Zell Family Foundation gave more than $5 million dollars to the University of Michigan Law School (Ann Arbor), letting to this school to provide free legal advice to entrepreneurs. In 2012, the Zell institution contributed $10 million dollars to the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, which served to improve the artistic level in Chicago. Other significant contributions have been to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association for $17 million dollars, to the Bernard Zell Anshe Emet Day School for more than $25 million and to the Ounce of Prevention Fund for $10 million dollars.

The Pritzker Traubert Family Foundation

This incredible institution, focuses all its efforts in the formation of Chicago’s children, with different education programs in multiple fields. The Pritzker Traubert Family Foundation has three pillars; education, health and fitness, and art and culture. Under these elements, this organization helps Chicago and the American society to be a better place, with major opportunities, improving the way of thinking of the young people for new ideas in the future.

The education pillar is focused in the formation of better leaders, so they can support and develop disruptive ideas for the community. In addition, through this element, children can develop more effective and innovative initiatives for Chicagoans. With the health and fitness pillar, The Pritzker Traubert Family Foundation seeks to promote and encourage the physical activities and teach how to eat healthy food in youngsters, helping to avoid the obesity problems and all those issues related with it. The last pillar is focused on arts and culture programs, letting children know and learn about different artistic initiatives.

The Pritzker Prize

Besides the Pritzker Traubert Family Foundation, Jay Pritzker founded the Pritzker Prize, which is considered the most important architectural prize in the world, giving annually $100.000-dollar award to a living architect who has demonstrated its skills and achievements in this field.

The Wexner Foundation

Image courtesy of Yoav Shapira at  (Wexner Foundation dinner)

Founded in 1980 by Leslie Wexner, this imperative institution has dedicated all its efforts to three different programs; the Graduate Fellowship, whose mission is to sponsor Jewish leadership. The other initiative is the Wexner Heritage Program, which is focused in the stimulation of Jewish volunteers for multiple social causes around the world, and the other program is the Wexner Israel Fellowship, which seeks for the promotion and training of public leaders, which can help different public institutions and organizations with their ideas and skills, not only in the United States but also in Israel.

Related: Some of the most significant businessmen in the Midwest Region by Yosef Meystel

* Featured Image courtesy of arcticpenguin at