Jennifer Pritzker: Transgender Billionaire Makes Forbes Richest List

Tuesday, 17 Sep 2013 08:26 AM

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Billionaire Jennifer Pritzker has become the first transgender person named to the Forbes list of 400 richest Americans, with a listed net worth of $1.7 billion.

Formerly James Pritzker, she is one of 11 Pritzker family members who appear on the Forbes list. The family sold a majority stake in industrial conglomerate Marmon Holdings, which Pritzker's father started, to Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway for $4.5 billion in 2007.

There are only 48 women in total on the list of 400. She is a retired Army lieutenant colonel who served 11 years in active duty, followed by 16 years in the U.S. National Guard.

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Crain's Chicago Business reported that Pritzker announced her name change in August.

"As of Aug. 16, 2013, J.N. Pritzker will undergo an official legal name change, will now be known as Jennifer Natalya Pritzker," stated an email announcement, according to Crain's. "This change will reflect the beliefs of her true identity that she has held privately and will now share publicly. Pritzker now identifies herself as a woman for all business and personal undertakings."

Crain's said Pritzker, 63, is currently president and CEO of Tawani, founder and chair of the military library and on the board of Squadron Capitol LLC, a private-equity firm in Connecticut. Her Tawani Foundation promotes conservation and military causes and programs.

The business newspaper reported that Vermont's Norwich University received a $25 million donation from Pritzker to establish an ROTC program there. The newspaper said ROTC inspired Pritzker's interest in the military.

Crain's reported that Pritzker has had a long interest in preservation projects in the Chicago area. The newspaper wrote that she spent $6 million to rehabilitate the Morse Theater into the Mayne Stage Theater and restaurant, and she purchased and restored the Emil Bach Prairie-style house designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, also in Rogers Park.

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Pritzker opened the Pritzker Military Library in 2011, a 40,000-square foot facility near the Art Institute of Chicago.

In July, the Palm Center announced a new, multi-year research initiative to study transgender service in the U.S. military funded by Pritzker's Tawani Foundation and Wells Fargo, according to a news release from the center.

Related stories:

GOP Lawmaker Pulls Son from School Due to Transgender Bathroom Law

California Gov. Brown Signs Transgender Student Bill

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