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Multimillion-dollar gift from Michael and Cari Sacks to support business and law students from Chicago

Gift brings Kellogg fundraising over $500 million, extends couple’s support for Northwestern students who attended Chicago Public Schools

we will. the campaign for northwestern
Michael and Cari Sacks have given $13.3 million throughout the “We Will” Campaign.

A new $5 million gift from Michael ’88 JD, MBA and Cari Sacks will include scholarship support for former Chicago Public Schools (CPS) students attending Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management and Pritzker School of Law.

The gift brings the couple’s total giving throughout We Will. The Campaign for Northwestern to $13.3 million, expanding on their past support for Northwestern undergraduates who attended CPS. In total, 89 students have received a Sacks Family Scholarship, including 41 CPS graduates.

Of the Sackses’ latest gift, $2 million will support students at Kellogg and $2 million will support students at Northwestern Pritzker Law, creating an endowed Cari and Michael Sacks ’88 JD, MBA Family Scholarship at each school. The scholarships will fund tuition, books and supplies, student fees and living expenses for at least one student at each school per year in perpetuity. 

“Now more than ever, student support is essential to making education more accessible to Chicago’s brightest minds,” Northwestern University President Morton Schapiro said. “Through their latest philanthropy, Michael and Cari are doubling down on their commitment to Northwestern students from Chicago Public Schools, helping them to become tomorrow’s leaders in business and the law.” 

The gift pushed Kellogg’s total fundraising past the $500 million mark in its Transforming Together campaign, part of the University-wide “We Will” Campaign. A hallmark of Transforming Together has been the construction of the Global Hub, a 415,000-square-foot LEED Platinum building. The campaign has also focused on raising support for thought leadership, global innovation and the educational experience at Kellogg. 

“Michael and Cari’s gift is very meaningful because it allows us to provide need-based scholarship support to ensure we are bringing in the most talented students from our own backyard, regardless of their financial circumstances,” said Francesca Cornelli, dean of the Kellogg School of Management. “Scholarships like the Sacks family’s make a huge difference for the recipients — as well as for the Kellogg community.” 

The gift supports Kellogg’s diversity, equity and inclusion initiative, which seeks to enrich the diversity of the Kellogg community, enhance the experience of every Kellogg community member and benefit the surrounding communities of Evanston and Chicago.

At the Pritzker School of Law, the Sackses’ support will help Northwestern remain competitive with other top law schools by successfully recruiting excellent students, reducing the burden of debt for future lawyers and leaders, and thus empowering students to pursue areas of the law about which they are the most passionate.

“This generous gift helps the Law School further its goals of diversity, equity and inclusion by expanding access and deepening our connections to the city of Chicago,” said James Speta, interim dean of the Pritzker School of Law. “As a leading law school based in Chicago, we seek to enroll the most talented local students, regardless of their ability to pay.”

The Sackses are longtime benefactors and leaders within the Northwestern and Chicago communities. Since their first gift to the University in 1991, their giving has included the endowment of the Cari and Michael Sacks Scholarship Fund for CPS Students in 2013 and support for Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Bienen School of Music, Pritzker School of Law, Kellogg School of Management, Athletics and Recreation, Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, Student Affairs, and Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing and Communications, among other areas of the University. The Sackses are members of NU Loyal, a society that recognizes consistent annual giving to Northwestern.

Michael Sacks is chairman and CEO of GCM Grosvenor, a global alternative asset management firm with $59 billion in assets under management. He joined Grosvenor in 1990 and became its chief executive in 1994. Under his leadership, the firm, which is headquartered in Chicago, grew from its position as an early participant in a cottage industry to its current position as one of the largest and most diversified independent alternative asset management firms in the world. Grosvenor’s prioritization of diversity, equity and inclusion, along with environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria, distinguish the firm within the industry. Grosvenor has over $16 billion committed and invested in ESG- and impact-related themes. 

Michael Sacks sits on the boards of World Business Chicago and the Barack Obama Foundation. He has served as an adviser to Illinois Governor JB Pritzker ’93 JD as well as former Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel ’85 MA.

A Chicago native, Michael Sacks received a joint law and MBA degree from Northwestern in 1988. He has been a University trustee since 2007. He also is a member of the “We Will” Campaign Steering Committee and Kellogg Finance Network.

“Cari and I feel fortunate to be able to support Kellogg and the Pritzker School of Law in providing opportunities for talented students from the Chicago Public Schools,” Michael Sacks said. “Connecting the success of Chicago Public School children with Northwestern has been a passion of ours for many years, and we are thrilled to take this additional step forward. We thank President Schapiro, Dean Cornelli, Interim Dean Speta, Bob McQuinn and the entire team at NU for their focus on Chicago’s school children and helping Cari and me to make this gift count.”

Cari Sacks is a vice chair of the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago Board of Trustees and serves on the board of trustees of the Erikson Institute, a nationally recognized graduate school in early childhood development focused on improving the lives of young children and families. In 2010, she was appointed to the President’s Advisory Committee on the Arts for the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. She also has served on the Midwest regional advisory board for the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum and board of directors for the Ounce of Prevention Fund (now Start Early).

Cari Sacks has been a member of the Northwestern Medicine Campaign Cabinet since 2013.

‘We Will’ Campaign

The funds raised through We Will. The Campaign for Northwestern are helping realize the transformational vision set forth in Northwestern’s strategic plan and solidify the University’s position among the world’s leading research universities.

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