You will not believe who is one of the most important Chicago philanthropists.

We are all familiar with philanthropy, it affects our life by changing the community we live in, what we are not familiar with is who are those that help finance and plan this kind of projects and you would be surprised by how well-known some of these faces are. Some of them are famous entrepreneurs like Mark Zuckerberg or Tony Hawk that have founded different organizations to help different communities and countries, while others work in different areas like movie making or acting, one of those in Jean “Gigi” Pritzker.

Gigi is a Hollywood producer that has worked in highly successful movies; some of them include Rabbit Hole (2010), Ender’s Game (2014), Mortdecai (2015) and fan favorite, Drive (2011). During her work, she seems to be an attentive and proficient producer, helping the directors and carefully building the movie from the beginning.

Movie theatre_chicago_Philanthropy

Image courtesy of agnellina at

Rabbit Hole, starring Nicole Kidman, was one of the first movies she was involved with, the movie received extremely positive reviews and Kidman received multiple nominations, including the Academy Awards and Golden Globe Award.  In the movie, Becca, played by Nicole Kidman, and her husband Howie, played by Aaron Eckhart, get their world changed when their son dies in a car accident. They both deal with the trauma in different ways, Becca getting interested in the man that killed her son and Howie starts seeking help from outsiders, both making decisions that will change the course of their lives.

Drive, probably the most famous movie she worked in, was also critically acclaimed, receiving extremely good feedback and praises to the movie aesthetics, production value, acting and record.

Many magazines and critics catalogued it as an Oscar-worthy movie. The movie revolves around a mysterious man, played by Ryan Gosling, who has different jobs involving cars, including mechanic, stunt driver and getaway driver; one day he helps his neighbor Irene and gets involved in a work that will endanger him and those he cares about.

Gigi is an amazing producer but that is not the topic at hand, she is also one of the most important philanthropists of Chicago, following the tradition of her family that has always been close to helping others.

Her grandfather, A.N. Pritzker, helped funding the Pritzker School of Medicine at the University of Chicago and helped funding various schools across Chicago; her father, Jay Pritzker, founder of the Hyatt line of hotels, started the Pritzker Architecture Prize, sometimes considered the Nobel prize of architecture. Her family has donated more than one hundred and ten million dollars to different charities, including the one mentioned earlier. Gigi herself has founded two big organizations, both with a social focus and with the objective of helping families and children.

The first one is the Pritzker Pucker Family Foundation, which wants to help people, families and communities with three different focus areas. These areas are violence prevention; culture, arts and impact; and educational opportunities. Violence prevention focuses on helping communities and neighborhoods, helping people have different routes in life, creating better life conditions and helping those who want to redeem themselves with the intention to reduce crime rates and help restore the community.

Culture, arts and impact wants to create new initiatives in different cultural arts, looking forward to achieving creativeness and innovation; they want to create tolerance and values through art in a local, national and international scale and at the same time helping to the enrichment of the community itself.

Educational opportunities tries to give education of quality to different communities; they create institutions with good infrastructure, that facilitate learning and helps approach education in a friendly way, and organized programs to be effective in the process of teaching and helping studies achieve better levels of knowledge.

Theatre_Philanthropy in Chicago_yosef meystel

Image courtesy of William Cho at

The other big organization is the Chicago Children’s Theatre that offers different kind of theatrical and educational courses to help enrich the community and help children with their projects and dreams. It has been working since 2006, creating different shows and programs with the highest professional quality. Their first production was A year with Frog and Toad and it has been a success since then, receiving a lot of critical and popular support that has helped to improve the quality of the shows and has made the community grow. They create top quality plays and shows for the community to enjoy with family and friends, and encourage young people to live their lives to the fullest.

Both organizations have received incredible support from the community and have helped create a lot of opportunities in Chicago, all thanks to the work of Gigi, her husband and other partners with whom she has developed these programs. Gigi, an arts woman herself, loves bringing arts into the equation and thinks of it as a good way to get to children and adults and help different members of the community construct values and abilities.




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s