Being a business major myself, I’ve always been interested in what makes successful people tick. Seeing how they became successful, and the work that was required to travel down that path. Feel like it’s inspirational for people like me, in hopes that someday I’ll be able to echo the achievements of someone like Ken Griffin.
Kenneth Griffin started his first investment fund with money he gathered from family and friends. He took this $265 million and made a profit by shorting the stock market crash of 1987. One thing made Griffin different from the many other fund managers that were investing at that time: Kenneth Griffin was a student at Harvard University who was trading in his dorm room in between classes. Griffin graduated from Harvard University in 1989 with a bachelor’s degree.
Frank C. Meyer of Glenwood Capital noticed the success that Griffin was having in the investment industry. After Griffin’s graduation, Meyer gave him $1 million. He was expecting Griffin to provide him with a sizeable return on his investment, but he was surprised to learn that Griffin managed to offer him a 70 percent profit.
Founder and CEO of Citadel LLC
On November 1, 1990, Griffin’s next step was to found Citadel LLC in Chicago, Illinois with $4.2 million. Citadel LLC consists of at least three different entities, including the following:
Citadel – The asset manager
Citadel Securities – A liquidity provider for the capital markets
Citadel Technology – A solutions provider for investment management technology
Griffin’s hedge funds are amongst the largest and most lucrative funds in the industry. The company has $14 billion in assets, and Griffin earned several billions of dollars from his involvement with the company. To be exact, his net worth has been estimated to be equal to $5.3 billion.
Griffin’s financial successes landed him on several lists of the wealthiest people in America. One is the Forbes 400 list of 2003. At 34, he was the second-youngest person to be placed on this list with a net worth that was estimated to be $650,000. In 2014, Griffin’s rank on the Forbes 400 increased when he became the 89th richest person in America with a net worth of $5.5 billion.
Griffin has also offered his time and money to benefit causes that are outside of the investment arena. He is a “Reagan Republican” who believes that large government will not lead to prosperity and has donated large sums of money to Republican causes and candidates. He broke records with his $2.5 million donation to GOP candidate for governor Bruce Rauner. In total, Griffin donated $3.7 million to Rauner’s campaign.
The Importance of Education
Griffin serves as director of the Chicago Public Education Fund. He also partnered with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to open charter school Woodlawn High School. According to Griffin, the future of the United States depends on public education. In February of this year, he gave $150 million to Harvard University to benefit students in need of financial aid.
Griffin is also interested in the arts. For this reason, he donated $19 million to the Art Institute of Chicago. A Cezanne painting and a Degas bronze sculpture currently on display at this school belong to Griffin.
When the Fourth Presbyterian Church of Chicago needed $38.2 million to build a new chapel, Griffin donated $11 million toward the venture. The chapel bears the name of Griffin’s grandparents and is known as “The Gratz Center.”