15 Richest People in Illinois

Richest People in Illinois
Photo by Jan Weber

Want to know the richest people in Illinois? Several states compile lists of their wealthiest citizens, some of whom are still working toward the billion-dollar threshold. 

Illinois is an exception to this rule. With numerous billionaires, the state is home to some of the wealthiest citizens in the nation. If you were wondering, the top 15 richest people in Illinois are shown below:

1. Ken Griffin

  • Net Worth: $29.2 billion 

First on our list of richest people in Illinois is Ken Griffin. As of 2022, Ken Griffin is the wealthiest person in Illinois. He was born in Florida in October of 1968. Ken resides in Chicago, Illinois, at the moment. 

He attended Harvard College after high school, earning a degree in economics. With a phone, fax machine, and computer in his undergraduate dorm room, Griffin started his career in 1987. 

To start trading, he received $265,000 from his parents, grandparents, and a few other investors. Following college, Ken began working with Frank Meyer, the creator of Glenwood Capital. 

He started a hedge fund called Wellington, then renamed it Citadel. He acquired his billions from this enterprise. Griffin hasn’t had it easy all the time. 

Along the process, he gained and lost riches. During the 2007 financial crisis, his company suffered a $9 billion loss but recovered. Griffin is a passionate art collector who owns several works worth hundreds of millions of dollars. 

Additionally, he is a philanthropist who has donated more than $1 billion to causes such as the University of Chicago, the American Museum of Natural History, the Ann & Robert Lurie Children’s Hospital, and Harvard’s student aid program, to name a few. 

Recently, Citadel Securities relocated to its new corporate headquarters in Chicago, Illinois, from Miami, Florida. In the financial sector’s hedge funds, self-made millionaire Ken Griffin is the wealthiest person in Illinois. 

As of 2022, he is also the 52nd richest person in the world. In 2020, he was ranked 34th on the Forbes 400 rankings. 

Wealth Milestone

  • He used $265k with funds collected from friends and relatives to invest in his hostel. He had more than $1 million when he graduated. 
  • In the 2008 financial crisis, he lost $1 billion, and his company lost $9 billion. 
  • He owns all his company’s shares, which are $30 billion. 
  • $1.4 billion was earned in 2018 
  • Has spent $750 million since 2013 on personal real estate 
  • He gave $125 million to the University of Chicago in 2017. 
  • He spent $500 million on TWO paintings in 2016. 
  • Records for having the most expensive property. Purchase in the US, Florida, Illinois, and New York. 
  • He only bought land in Palm Beach, Florida, for $200 million. Still has to construct a house! 
  • He paid $240 million for the top four unfurnished floors of a building in New York. 

2. Jude Reyes

  • Net Worth: $8.01 billion 

As of 2022, Jude Reyes has a net worth of about $8 billion. In DC, Jude was born in 1955. An electrical engineer was his father. 

He received his B.A. from Woodford College, where he attended. He is a founding member of Reyes Holdings, a business that invests in Martin Brower, the company that supplies McDonald’s fast food restaurants. 

Reinhart Food Service and the Reyes Beverage Group, the biggest beer distributor in the U.S., are among the other interests. 

Furthermore, Jude and his brother Chris own the investing company. In the food service and beverage distribution sector, Reyes amassed a fortune. He and Chris earn close to $32 billion in income annually.

Additionally, they own stock in Great Lakes Coca-Cola. Mr. Reyes is married and has three kids. He resides in Chicago, Illinois, with his family. He now serves as the Chairman of the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago’s board of directors and co-chairman of Reyes Holdings. 

Jude is a National Beer Wholesalers Association member and a director at the Washington Children’s Hospital Foundation. Jude Reyes is the second-richest resident of Illinois as of the year 2022. 

3. Sam Zell

  • Net Worth: $6 billion 

Next on our list of richest people in Illinois is Sam Zell. Chicago, Illinois, is Sam Zell’s place of origin. He was born on September 28, 1941, in the city. A hardworking teen named Zell ran a 15-unit apartment complex where students may stay for free. 

The business had made over $150k by the time he received his college degree. After completing his education, Zell worked as a lawyer. In 1968, he established a business called Equity Group Investments. 

The business makes investments in logistics, energy, and healthcare. He quickly became one of the country’s most knowledgeable investment gurus. 

Before the 2007 market meltdown, he oversaw the $8.2 billion acquisition of the Tribune Company and the $39 billion sale of the office REIT Equity Office to Blackstone. 

He is credited with founding the current real estate investment trust. He is the board’s Chairman for five publicly traded firms. 

E.Q. Office, Capital Trust, Equity Lifestyle Properties, Inc., Equity International, and Equity Residential are companies he founded. Sam has written several novels, including “Am I Being Too Subtle?” Straight Talk From a Business Rebel. 

Sam is multifaceted and works as an author, businessman, lawyer, and philanthropist. Together with his wife Helen, Mr. Zell resides in Illinois. Matthew, Kellie, and JoAnn are the three kids of the couple. 

Sam Zell now holds the 469th-richest position in the world. The fact that he is a notable self-made billionaire. 

4. Mark Walter

  • Net Worth: $5 billion 

According to Dodger Blue, Mark Walter is one of the wealthiest team owners in Major League Baseball. He also serves as the CEO of Guggenheim Partners, a part owner of the L.A. Sparks of the WNBA. 

Walter owns the Guggenheim Partners company, which manages more than $310 billion in assets. He currently resides in Illinois, despite being born in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. 

He has made wise bets on other national clubs, such as MLB’s New York Yankees, the NBA’s Chicago Bulls, the U.S. League Two team Highlands Ranch F.C., the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets, and the MLB’s Los Angeles Lakers. 

His investing company paid $2.2 billion to acquire the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2012. He lives in Chicago with his wife and one child. 

5. Eric Lefkofsky

  • Net Worth: $4 billion 

Eric Lefkofsky is one of the richest people in Illinois. An American businessman Eric Lefkofsky has a $4 billion fortune. The main reason for Eric’s fame is that he helped develop Groupon. 

Before joining Groupon, he was associated with several businesses, including Lightbank, InnerWorkings Inc., Echo Global Logistics, Inc., and Mediaocean. He currently also serves as the CEO of Tempus, a cancer treatment firm. 

On September 13, 1969, in Detroit, Michigan, Eric Lefkofsky was born. In 2008, Eric invested with Brad Keywell, a longtime business partner, as an angel investor in Groupon, a daily deal website. 

In less than two years, in 2010, Groupon grew internationally, entering 48 different nations. Google reportedly offered $6 billion to acquire Groupon in December 2010. Brad and Eric declined the offer. 

Groupon received $950 million in private capital in October 2011, distributed $810 million to staff members and investors, and paid $398 million to Lefkofsky and his family. 

The largest IPO by a U.S. web company since Google occurred in November 2011, when Groupon raised $700 million for $20 per share. Lefkofsky took over as Groupon’s CEO in August 2013. Eric Lefkofsky first achieved the status of a billionaire in March 2011. 

6. J. Christopher Reyes

  • Net Worth: $3.9 billion 

J. Christopher Reyes is one of the wealthiest in Illinois, with a net worth of $3.9 billion. In the middle of the 1970s, he and his brother Jude paid $74,000 for a South Carolina-based beer maker. They then acquired Chicago Beer Systems. 

In 2012, their business, Reyes Holdings, had grown to become the most extensive beer distributor in the U.S. Since then, they have diversified into other distribution areas, purchasing Martin-Brower, the business in charge of McDonald’s distribution in the U.S. 

Since then, the corporation has increased the spread of McDonald’s to include Canada, Latin America, and Ireland. Additionally, they acquired Reinhardt Foodservice, a reputable food distributor. 

In addition to Dean Foods, the Wintrust Financial Corporation, Allstate, and Lake Forest Bank and Trust, Mr. Reyes serves on the boards of numerous other businesses. Christopher and Jude co-chair Reyes Holdings, and David, their brother, oversees the different beer distribution businesses. 

7. Oprah Winfrey

  • Net Worth: $3.5 billion 

Next on our list of richest people in Illinois is Oprah Winfrey. American media tycoon, T.V. personality, and novelist Oprah Winfrey. Oprah has a $3.5 billion net worth. She makes about $315 million yearly because of her highly profitable, multifaceted media company. 

Key Facts

  • First became a millionaire in 1989 
  • By 1995 her net Worth crossed $500 million. 
  • Became a billionaire in 2000 
  • Makes $300 million per year 
  • Owns $200 million value of real estate 
  • Has donated at least $400 million to charity to date 
  • Is the wealthiest self-made woman in America   

Career

At WLAC-TV in Nashville, Oprah became the Network’s first black female news anchor. She was also the station’s youngest ever anchor. Baltimore’s WJZ station hired her at 22 to co-anchor the six o’clock news, a highly sought-after position. 

She started as co-host of the discussion show People Are Talking in August 1978. By 1980, she outperformed Phil Donahue in the Baltimore market, who was nationally syndicated. 

She was making $220,000 annually by the time her Baltimore campaign concluded, equivalent to almost $560,000 in today’s dollars after accounting for inflation. Oprah received her 30-minute morning talk show from ABC in 1984 when the Network saw potential in her.

King World Productions in Chicago produced the show. King World, a production company, created Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune. A four-year, $1 million contract was included with the employment. After accounting for inflation, $250k in income equals almost $600k. 

She founded Oprah’s Angel Network, a nonprofit organization that helps nonprofits all around the world, in 1998. Oprah’s Angel Network has supported numerous charities by raising more than $80 million.

100% of the Network’s administrative expenses are covered by Oprah personally, allowing 100% of all donations to benefit nonprofit organizations. 

Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls established Oprah in South Africa in 2007. She has directly donated $40 million to the school thus far. The school now has 322 students enrolled, with aspirations to grow to 450. 

With Oprah contributing an additional $10 million, Oprah’s Angel Network was able to generate $11 million for Hurricane Katrina relief. 

She gave the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture $12 million in 2013. The same year, President Barack Obama won the Presidential Medal of Freedom. 

8. Jay Robert Pritzker

  • Net Worth: $3.4 billion 

The same affluent family that Thomas Pritzker comes from includes Jay Robert Pritzker. The Chicago, Illinois native attended Duke University and the Northwestern University School of Law for her legal education.

Furthermore, he is the Pritzker Group’s private equity and venture capital company manager. The business purchases declining companies and revitalize them. The New World venture capital firm was established in 1995 by Jay Robert. The business makes investments in companies with a focus on software and I.T. 

The company reportedly manages 50 enterprises. In addition to being a wealthy businessman and heir, he is also an active philanthropist who donates to institutions and initiatives that focus on providing educational services. 

9. Thomas Pritzker

  • Net Worth: $3.1 billion 

Thomas Pritzker is also one of the richest people in Illinois. The family fortune passed to Mr. Thomas Pritzker. He is a philanthropist and an active businessman. Pritzker established North America Western Asia Holdings LLC. 

It is an advice and investment company that specializes in Iraqi businesses. The company also advises clients who want to conduct business in that region. 

He leads the Art Institute of Chicago board and is the Pritzker Organization’s CEO, which oversees several family-owned properties. 

As Executive Chairman of Hyatt Hotels Corporation, among other responsibilities, The Pritzker Neuropsychiatric Disorders Research Consortium is likewise run by Pritzker. 

Also, he is on the UCLA board of directors. Pritzker recovered and carried on with the administration of the remaining assets after selling off many of the Pritzker family’s assets to settle legal claims in a family feud. 

He and his sister acquired the steel mill servicing company TMS International Corp, which they later sold for $1 billion. After a 10-year battle to determine the distribution of the assets, he kept his part, which is now believed to be worth $3.1 billion. 

10. Ty Warner

  • Net Worth: $3 billion 

Ty Warner was raised in Chicago, Illinois, where he was born in 1944. He attended St. John’s Military Academy in nearby Wisconsin after high school before relocating to Michigan to enroll in Kalamazoo College until he discovered a new interest. 

Mr. Warner left school early and relocated to Los Angeles to pursue his acting career. He returned to Chicago to work for toy maker Dakin after failing to find the success he had hoped for. 

His father was a salesman for the business. He worked there for 20 years, eventually becoming the top salesman, and was sacked when the company allegedly accused him of trying to sell its clients his toys. 

Also, he relocated to Italy on a three-year sabbatical to reflect on his life. The notion for the Beanie Babies company originated from Warner’s ambition to start a toy company. He established the business upon his return to Chicago, doing well for himself. 

He gained a fortune from the business but used the money to make other ventures. Warner acquired a golf course and several upscale hotels in a few years. He is the owner of various residential and business properties. 

In addition, the Montecito Country Club, the San Ysidro Ranch in Montecito, California, the Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara, the Four Seasons Hotel New York, the Las Ventanas al Paraiso Resort in Los Cabos, Mexico, and the Kona Village Resort in Kona, Hawaii are just a few of his assets. 

Mr. Warner has never been married and had children, but he is a generous donor who has given millions to organizations supporting children. 

11. Neil Bluhm

  • Net Worth: $2.8 billion 

Next on our list of richest people in Illinois is Neil Bluhm. In the late 1930s, Mr. Neil Bluhm was born to a Jewish family. He enrolled in the University after graduating from high school. Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Bluhm continued schooling at Northwestern University, where he earned a law degree. 

He was hired by Mayer, Brown & Platt, a law firm, where he worked his way up to the position of distinguished partner. 

In 1970, Neil and a business partner established JMB Realty, which was successful until the 1990s housing bubble burst. Walton Street Capital was the name of the second business he had already established. 

Furthermore, his businesses oversee and expand the commercial real estate. According to estimates, Neil bought an art collection worth over $100 million. He is on the boards of the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Art Institute of Chicago. 

He began as a partner in a legal company and then increased his assets in real estate, fine art, and private equity. Neil Bluhm is expected to be worth $2.8 billion as of 2022. 

12. William Wrigley Jr

  • Net Worth: $2.6 billion  

One of the wealthiest people in Illinois, William Wrigley Jr., with a net worth of $2.6 billion. The second William Wrigley, Jr., is the great-grandson of the first. 

William Wrigley, Jr. created The Wrigley Company in 1891. He handed offered chewing gum to entice people to buy his soap because his initial goal was to sell soap and baking soda. But when the gum gained popularity, he started to create several flavors. 

The Wrigley Company became among the world’s top confectionery manufacturers. In 1985, William Wrigley, Jr. II started working for the family business. He climbed the corporate ladder, eventually holding the CEO position until 2006. 

William Wrigley, Jr. II served as Chairman through 2011 after selling the business to the Mars Corporation in 2008 for $23 billion. He then resigned from his position to focus on his charitable activity. 

13. Penny Pritzker

  • Net Worth: $2.5 billion 

Penny Pritzker is one of the richest people in Illinois. Having a net worth of $2.5 billion, Penny Pritzker is an American corporate executive, entrepreneur, community activist, and philanthropist. Penny is the heir to the Hyatt Hotel and other family fortunes. 

Furthermore, she was born into the Pritzker family, one of the most prominent families in Chicago. Along with being on the board of Hyatt Hotels, she co-founded and served as Chairman of Artemis Real Estate Partners. 

She founded PSP Capital Partners and served as its founder, Chairman, and CEO. its affiliate, Pritzker Realty Group (PRG). This influential Chicagoan raised significant funds for Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign for president, but she maintained a lower profile throughout the 2012 election cycle. 

She was therefore viewed as the favorite to become the secretary of commerce this winter. She is one of the people Mayor Rahm Emanuel of Chicago trusts most. Penny Pritzker is a fervent supporter of education and possesses the necessary resources and will. 

As a Chicago Board of Education member, she collaborates with others to enhance Chicago’s public education system. She gave $5 million to the Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art in 2011, a charity she has previously supported in addition to education. 

14. Jean (Gigi) Pritzker

  • Net Worth: $2.5 billion 

American heiress and filmmaker Jean (Gigi) Pritzker has a $2.5 billion net worth. She was born Jean “Gigi” Pritzker in 1962 in Illinois and became wealthy as a member of the illustrious Pritzker family of Chicago. 

Together with his sons Jay, Gigi’s father, Donald, and Robert, her grandpa Abram Nickolas Pritzker, also known as A.N. Pritzker, co-founded Marmon Industrial Corporation and the Hyatt Hotel network. 

In 2007, the Pritzker family sold Berkshire Hathaway, owned by fellow billionaire Warren Buffett, the controlling interest in Marmon for about $4.5 billion. 

Stanford University alumna Gigi founded Odd Lot Entertainment with her friend Deborah Del as a small film production firm. She had just finished her documentary filmmaking classes at the time. 

The film business first produced Drive with Ryan Gosling in 2011 and then released the Nicole Kidman-starring feature Rabbit Hole in 2010. The most expensive film directed by Odd Lot, Ender’s Game, starring Harrison Ford, was released in November last year. 

In addition to her wealth, Gigi Rawlins and Ted own Relevant Theatricals, a live stage production company. She also bought TMS International Corp., a steel company, for $1 billion with her brother Thomas. 

Additionally, Gigi and her husband, Michael Pucker, established the Chicago Children’s Theater and Pritzker Pucker Family Foundation. 

15. Patrick Ryan

  • Net Worth: $2.5 billion 

Last on our list of richest people in Illinois is Patrick Ryan. American business executive Patrick Ryan has a $2.5 billion fortune. Patrick Ryan, a seasoned insurance entrepreneur, is most known for being the creator and former executive chairman of Aon Corporation. 

Furthermore, Aon is a multinational organization with its headquarters in London that primarily works with insurance, risk management, and reinsurance broking. It has 500 offices throughout the world. Patrick Ryan most recently held the positions of Chairman and CEO of the unsuccessful Chicago 2016 Olympic bid committee. 

In 2010, he founded Ryan Specialty Group and has since served as its Chairman and CEO, coming out of retirement. Ryan founded Pat Ryan & Associates in 1964, following his graduation from Northwestern University, which was his first business venture. 

He combined his business with Combined International in 1982, renaming the new entity Aon. The company has grown to be the biggest reinsurance broker in the world under his leadership. 

He left his post as CEO of Aon in 2008, but he retained a modest share in the company. A devoted football enthusiast, Ryan also holds a 20% ownership share in the Chicago Bears. 

We’ve compiled the list of the top 15 wealthiest people in Illinois and hope this is helpful in your search.  

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