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$125 million gift from prolific mega-philanthropist Ken Griffin renames Museum of Science and Industry
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$125 million gift from prolific mega-philanthropist Ken Griffin renames Museum of Science and Industry

The Chicago Museum of Science and Industry will officially be renamed the Kenneth C. Griffin Museum of Science and Industry.

The name change comes after a $125 million donation from hedge fund billionaire Ken Griffin. The donation, previously announced, is the largest in the museum’s history.

“This gift helps us create exhibits of the future geared toward the next generation of scientists and leaders,” MSI President and CEO Chevy Humphrey said in a news release announcing the name change.

With Griffin’s donation, the museum will launch a digital space named Griffin Studio and an interactive exhibition about music, “Notes to Neurons.”

The donation also helped the museum renovate its space center and offer a new dome theater film experience, “Superhuman Body: World of Medical Marvels.” It also provides a new home for SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft, which took two missions to deliver cargo and scientific experiments to the International Space Station in 2017 and 2019.

Griffin is the founder and CEO of the hedge fund Citadel. The company was based in Chicago for more than three decades before it announced it would move its headquarters to Miami in 2022.

Griffin has worked with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to promote charter schools in the U.S. and fund tutoring.

In 2011, he worked with University of Chicago economics professor John A. List to test whether investment in teachers or in parents produces better student performance outcomes.

At the beginning of 2014, Griffin made a $150 million donation to the financial aid program at Harvard University, his alma mater, the largest single donation ever made to the institution at the time.

In 2014, he was elected to a five-year term on the University of Chicago’s board of trustees. He is also a member of the Economic Club of Chicago and the civic committee of the Commercial Club of Chicago. Griffin served as the vice chairman of the Chicago Public Education Fund.

In November 2017, Griffin’s charitable fund made a $125 million gift to support the Department of Economics of the University of Chicago, renamed the Kenneth C. Griffin Department of Economics.

In April 2021, he donated $5 million to an initiative to provide Internet access to students in Miami.

Griffin donated $21.5 million to the Field Museum of Natural History and its dinosaur exhibit is named the Griffin Dinosaur Experience.

In November 2021, Griffin outbid a group of crypto investors to purchase the last privately held copy of the United States Constitution at auction for $43.2 million. Griffin said, “I intend to ensure that this copy of our Constitution will be available for all Americans and visitors to view and appreciate in our museums and other public spaces”, with plans to display it first at the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Arkansas.

In March 2022, Griffin donated $40 million to the American Museum of Natural History in New York to help complete the 230,000 square foot renovation.

In July 2022, he donated $130 million to Chicago nonprofits before his move to Florida.

Griffin made a donation of $250,000 to a Miami scholarship program for STEM students in 2022, his first donation since moving Citadel’s headquarters there.

Griffin, the Carnegie Corporation of New York, and the Walton Family Foundation have funded The Education Recovery Scorecard, an analysis of pandemic learning loss released in October 2022 that uses local and national test score data to map changes in student performance.

In April 2023, Griffin made a donation of $300 million to the Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences, and Harvard announced that it would rename its Graduate School of Arts and Sciences after him.[61][62] A few weeks later, Griffin donated $25 million to Success Academy Charter Schools, New York City’s largest charter school network, and gave $20 million to Miami Dade College, where he also addressed the 2023 graduating class.

Griffin supported the University of Chicago’s Center for Urban School Improvement, a program encouraging the construction of an inner-city charter high school, and contributed to the Lurie Children’s Hospital.

In 2017, Griffin contributed $15 million to the Robin Hood Foundation.

In May 2022, The University of Chicago announced a $25 million donation from Griffin to launch an initiative design to train police managers and prevent neighborhood violence. The funds will aid in launching two community Safety Leadership Academies.

The Policing Management Academy aims to professionalize departments by educating their leaders though coaching, accountability and data-driven decision making. This donation came after Griffin’s $10 million donation to the Crime Lab in 2018 to implement an early intervention system to investigate citizen complaints.

Griffin served on the board of trustees of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago from 2000 to 2022.

In July 2007, Griffin donated a $19 million addition to the Art Institute of Chicago designed by Renzo Piano and named Kenneth and Anne Griffin Court. One of his paintings by Paul Cézanne was loaned to the institute.

In 2010, Griffin contributed to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s productions at Millennium Park.

Griffin contributed to the Art Institute of Chicago and resigned from its board in 2022. He serves on the board of trustees at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, whose lobby bears his name: Kenneth C. Griffin Hall.

 In February 2015, Griffin donated $10 million to the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, used to create the Griffin Galleries of Contemporary Art.

In December 2015, he donated an unrestricted $40 million to the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

In 2018, he donated $20 million to the Norton Museum of Art.

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