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According to the Americans For Tax Fairness (ATF), “17 billionaires in Illinois saw their net worth increase by $4.9 billion or 9.3% during the first three months of the COVID 19.”

The top three Illinois billionaires – Thomas Pritzker, Joe Mansueto, and Mark Walter – increased their wealth by 16.9%, 26.1%, and 24.1%, respectively.

A total of 13 people from Illinois made to the Forbes 400 list of America’s richest people. Below, we’ve discussed the top wealthiest people in the state of Illinois.

Top 6 Illinois Billionaires

The outbreak of COVID 19 affected the world in ways we could not have imagined. The hospital system reached its capacity, and the economy suffered globally.

The economic downturn led many people to lose their jobs. Nonetheless, the nation’s billionaires saw an increase in their combined net worth.

For instance, the three richest Americans – Jeff Bezos, William Henry Gates III, and Mark Zuckerberg, saw an increase of $87 billion estimated net worth (38%, 11%, and 58%, respectively)

Taking these circumstances into consideration, the executive director of Americans for Tax Fairness (ATF) said, “It’s unfair that billionaires are getting richer and richer while average Americans are treading water if they are lucky, or drowning from the economic crash caused by the pandemic.”

It was the same time when wealthiest Illinoisans also experienced a spike in their total net worth. Below, we’ve curated a list of the top six richest Illinois billionaires.

Ken Griffin

The founder and CEO of Citadel, Ken Griffin, is the state’s wealthiest resident.

According to Forbes, his total net worth is $10 billion, making him the first richest person in Illinois and 45th richest person in America.

He is the founder and owner of hedge funds that manage assets worth $39 billion approximately.

In 1987, Citadel CEO Ken Griffin began trading from his dorm at Harvard University with a telephone, a fax machine, and a PC.

Though his beginning was humble, he was ambitious. As a result, he soon caught the attention of the co-founder of Hedge Funds, Frank Meyer. This hedge funds opportunity led him to establish Citadel in 1990.

Since then, Griffin has made a name for himself in the financial industry. After working his way up from the bottom, Citadel CEO Ken Griffin’s net worth is estimated to be $10 billion.

Today, Citadel is recognized as one of the most successful and respected organizations in the world. In addition, with an increase in wealth of approximately 54% since COVID 19 began, Ken Griffin is ranked #1 on our list of Illinois billionaires.

During the COVID-19 crisis, Citadel CEO Ken Griffin donated around $45 million to community initiatives in Miami and Chicago.

Currently, Ken Griffin lives in Chicago, Illinois, with his three children.

Sam Zell

Sam Zell is an American billionaire and philanthropist. According to Forbes, he is ranked as the second wealthiest person in Illinois and the 114th richest in the US.

His net worth is estimated to be $5.6 billion. According to the ATF, Zell saw an increase in wealth of $1.4 billion or 38% after COVID 19 spread across the nation.

American billionaire real estate tycoon Sam Zell was born in Chicago, Illinois, on February 5, 1941. He graduated from Northwestern University and later received his MBA from the University of Chicago.

He made most of his fortune through various investment activities during the late ’60s and throughout the 1970s. Under his leadership, Equity Residential has grown to become one of the largest landlords in America.

American billionaire real estate tycoon Sam Zell is ranked #2 on our list of Illinois billionaires. During COVID 19, he contributed a significant amount of money to various charities and organizations such as the American Cancer Society, Aid for AIDS of Illinois, and others.

Sam Zell was raised in a Jewish household in Chicago. His father worked as a jewelry dealer, and his parents immigrated to the US just before Germany attacked Poland.

Have you wondered how he made his fortune? He invested in a few undervalued real estate properties and held onto them for a long time. Today, he is widely regarded as the pioneer in the real estate investment trust.

He also created a company, “Equity Group Investments,” (to invest in properties in 1968). Surprisingly, the firm expanded tremendously.

This privately held real estate firm now controls a billion-dollar investment portfolio with shares in numerous industries, including media, finance, transportation, and energy.

Today, Sam Zell is the chairman of five big companies, including Equity Residential (EQR), Covanta Holding Corp (CVA), Equity Commonwealth (EQC), Equity LifeStyle Properties (ELS), and Anixter.
Currently, he resides in Chicago, Illinois, with his wife and three children.

Thomas Pritzker

With a net worth of $4.2 billion, Thomas Pritzker, the chairman of Global Hyatt Corp, stands third among the Illinois billionaires and 172nd wealthiest persons in the country.

Born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, he graduated from Claremont Men’s College and earned his JD and MBA degrees from the University of Chicago.

He is one of the 11 billionaire heirs in the Pritzker clan (including Jennifer Pritzker, J.B Pritzker, Penny Pritzker) and serves as a chairman of Hyatt Hotels Corporation.

The history of Hyatt Hotel dates back to 1957 when Jay Pritzker (Thomas’ father) bought the first Hyatt house motel near LA International Airport. His uncle Robert and father purchased a manufacturing business Marmom in the 1950s. The firm was later sold to Berkshire Hathaway by Thomas.

Another significant achievement was the foundation of the Pritzker Neuropsychiatric Disorder Research Consortium. In addition, according to Forbes magazine, he has donated $15 million to his alma mater, Claremont Men’s College.

He has been involved in many controversies in the past years, including a class-action suit filed by employees who alleged that Hyatt Hotels Corporation systematically denied them a meal and rest breaks and failed to compensate them for the time they worked off the clock.

Thomas Pritzker is ranked #3 among the wealthiest individuals in Illinois. During COVID 19, he contributed an undisclosed sum of money to various charitable institutions, including the Rush University Medical Center, Lurie Children’s Hospital, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s fund-raising committee, etc.

Neil Bluhm

According to Forbes, Neil Bluhm, the casino & real estate magnate, has an estimated net worth of $4 billion. His fortune makes him the fourth-wealthiest person in Illinois and 179th richest in America.

As a young man, he desired to become a lawyer. So, he went to law school at Northwestern and worked with Brown & Patt (Mayer) for a short period. It was here when he co-founded JMB Realty and started investing in real estate.

His real estate portfolio developed quickly to include residential projects, urban shopping centers, commercial office towers, and five-star hotels. He now owns marquee Chicago properties, the Ritz Carlton, and numerous casinos in Chicago, New York, Schenectady, Pittsburgh, and Philadelphia.

What’s more, Rush Street Interactive, Bluhm’s online gaming firm, became public in 2020 and is one of the fastest-growing organizations in the gaming industry. So, when Chicago legalized online casinos in 2020, Bluhm made the most of it.

His philanthropic work includes funding the North Shore-LIJ Health System (through Rush Den City) and United Cerebral Palsy of Greater Chicago.

In addition to his business acumen, Bluhm has a passion for music. In 1987, he acquired JAM Productions, a live show production company that owns or operates arenas in Chicago and Denver.

Neil Bluhm is ranked #4 among the wealthiest individuals in Illinois and #179th in America. He donated $115k to Rahm Emanuel’s campaign during Chicago COVID 19.

He also owns shares in Chicago White Sox and Chicago Bulls.

Joe Mansueto

Joe Mansueto, the founder and executive chairman of the Morningstar, has a net worth of $3.6 billion, making him the 215th richest person in America and the fifth-richest person in Illinois.

In 1984, the billionaire entrepreneur began his investment research company Morningstar with around $80,000 savings. Years later, the company was worth over a billion dollars and had branches in the UK, Australia, Canada, Germany, and France.

His dedication to philanthropy includes a $45 million donation to the Illinois Institute of Technology to construct the Joe and Rika Mansueto Library.

In 2018, he bought a 49% share in sports teams like the Chicago Fire soccer team (he purchased the rest in 2020). He has kept out of the political arena and has funded several projects involving education, science, and the arts.

Joe Mansueto is ranked #5 among the wealthiest individuals in Illinois. During COVID 19, he donated $90k to Rahm Emanuel’s campaign.

He also owns shares in Chicago Cubs. Currently, he resides in Chicago, Illinois, with his family and three children.

Mark Walter

Mark Walter is the CEO of Guggenheim Partners and part-owner of the WNBA’s LA Sparks. According to Forbes, his estimated net worth is $3.5 billion. His estimated wealth makes him the 223rd richest person in the country and the sixth wealthiest person in Illinois.

His investment firm Guggenheim Partners controls more than $310 billion in assets.

The self-made billionaire was born and raised in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He is a Doctor of Jurisprudence but chose finance over practicing law. Interestingly, in 2014, he gave $40 million to the school before starting his career in finance.

His investment group bought LA Dodgers for $2.2 billion in 2012. Since then, he has been the owner of the company.

He also owns stakes in the LA Lakers and Brooklyn Nets (NBA), New York Yankees (MLB), Chicago Bulls (NBA), and Highlands Ranch FC (USL League Two).

Currently, he lives in Chicago, Illinois, with his wife and one child.

The Wealthiest People in The World

2020 has been a year like no other. Not only in terms of the global crisis but the surging stock prices and increasing cryptocurrencies.

The number of billionaires on Forbes’ annual list increased to 2,755, almost 660 more people from the previous year, including the 6 Wealthiest People in Illinois.

Here’s a quick look into the estimated net worth of the world’s richest people.

Jeff Bezos

Jeff Bezos, the owner, and founder of Amazon (a big E-commerce platform), tops the list of wealthiest individuals in the world. In 2021, he stepped down as the company’s CEO and became an executive chairman. His estimated net worth is $131 billion.

His net worth peaked at $117 billion in 2021 compared to the previous year, about $113 billion.

He is continuously ranked as one of the world’s wealthiest billionaires due to his constant investments in the e-commerce industry.

Forbes reported that he donated $99 million worth of Amazon stock to fund scholarships for DACA students. In 2017, he owned a 16% stake in Amazon and currently owns 79 million shares, 5% of the company.

Jeff Bezos is currently ranked #1 among the wealthiest individuals in Illinois and 8th in the world rankings. His current net worth (USD) is $131 billion, and he owns stakes in Amazon, Blue Origin, and The Washington Post. He lives in Seattle, Washington, with his wife MacKenzie and four children.

Elon Musk

The owner of Tesla and Space X, Elon Musk, is revolutionizing transportation with his futuristic mindset. He is restructuring transportation on Earth with electric cars like Tesla and with rockets in space.

According to Forbes, there was a drastic increase in his estimated net worth in the year 2021. In 2020, his net worth was $24.6 billion, which peaked at a surprising rate of $151 billion in 2021.

This significant increase is due to his company, SpaceX’s contract with NASA for space travel. Earlier in the year, he announced that they would be sending tourists on a trip around the Moon soon.

Elon Musk is ranked #s among the wealthiest individuals worldwide, with an estimated net worth of $151 billion. He lives in California with his five sons.

Bernard Arnault & Family

Popularly known for the brands like Sephora and Louis Vuitton, Bernard Arnault owns 70 brands. A dramatic increase was seen in his net worth. In 2020, his estimated net worth was $76 billion that reached $150 billion in 2021.

Bernard Arnault’s net worth is currently ranked #46 among the wealthiest individuals in the world. He lives in Paris, France, with his wife and four children.

Bill Gates

Bill Gates, Microsoft developer, American business magnate, and the chairperson of Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, is fourth on the list of the top richest people in the world.

His estimated net worth peaked at $124 billion in 2021, significantly more than in 2019. His financial worth is due to a rise in Microsoft’s stock prices after acquiring GitHub, a code-sharing service.

He is the founder of the world’s largest PC software company, MS-DOS, and many other computer programs that were exclusive at that time.

Today, Bill Gates’s net worth is ranked #4 among the wealthiest individuals globally. His net worth is estimated to be $124 billion, and he lives in Seattle, Washington, with his wife Melinda and three children.

Mark Zuckerberg

Mark Zuckerberg, the owner of the social networking site Facebook and Meta, experienced a growth in his net worth in 2020 and 2021.

The pandemic led more people to turn to the internet to break the monotony, and as a result, his net worth reached $97 billion in 2021, making him the fifth wealthiest person in the world.

In 2020, he was ranked #23 among the wealthiest individuals globally with a net worth of $53.9 billion and currently owns 16% of Facebook.

Mark Zuckerberg is currently ranked #5 among the wealthiest individuals globally, with an estimated net worth of $122 billion. He lives in California along with his wife Priscilla Chan and two daughters.

Warren Buffett

Warren Buffett is, by common agreement, the most successful investor of all time. His estimated net worth increased tremendously in 2021, compared to the previous year.

In 2020, his net worth was $67.5 billion, which reached $96 billion in 2021. Buffett is ranked #7 among the wealthiest man in the world.

He lives with his wife Susan and three children in Omaha, NE.

Other Notable Wealthy Men and Women

Other notable wealthy individuals include:

  • Michael Bloomberg
  • Larry Ellison
  • Thomas Duff
  • Alice Walton
  • Ty Warner
  • Jerry Reinsdorf
  • Joseph Grendys
  • Eric Lefkofsky
  • Charles Koch of Koch Industries

Final Words

These billionaires come from different walks of life, but they all have at least one thing in common: an initial investment that made them billionaires.

The keys to their success are diligence, luck, patience, self-control, effective planning skills, expert knowledge of business, great risk-taking abilities in the right section, great leadership skills in decision-making.

Though the global crisis led to an economic decline, the wealthy people became wealthier. A drastic increase was seen in the estimated net worth of entrepreneurs, and they invested in real estate that further expanded their assets.

We hope the above information has helped you gain some extra knowledge.


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