Gin Foundation's Mega Millions Pledge to Clobber Gun Crime & Boost Brains in Chicago

Gin Foundation's Mega Millions Pledge to Clobber Gun Crime & Boost Brains in ChicagoSource: Google Street View
Damon R. Sheffield
Published on November 28, 2023

Chicago's been hit with a one-two philanthropic punch as the Sue Ling Gin Foundation dropped a hefty $21 million to punch out gun violence in the Windy City and buffed up the Field Museum with another cool $20 million to keep educating young minds. It's raining green, and it's all in memory of late business titan Sue Ling Gin, whose foundation is on a giving spree aiming to make Chicago a safer and smarter town.

In a power move reminiscent of her groundbreaking career, Gin's legacy is now fueling the fight against Chicago's notorious gun violence through a massive donation to Chicago CRED, the nonprofit squad led by a former U.S. Education Secretary and bigwig of the Chicago Public Schools, Arne Duncan. According to the Chicago Tribune, the foundation has locked and loaded a three-year financial booster that's set to propel the program to new neighborhoods, aiming to snipe out 80% of the city's violence in five years.

But the Gin Foundation isn't just setting its sights on the streets. It's also bringing culture to the forefront with a hefty $20 million endowment that's got the Field Museum's name written all over it. The museum's annual gala threw a spotlight on the generous endowment, which is going to supercharge their edutainment game for Chi-Town's eager learners. This educational fireworks show was named in honor of the late Gin—dubbed the Sue Ling Gin Center for Education and Public Programs—credited with serving more than 400,000 students each year, as detailed by the Field Museum's press release.

Let's roll back the tape to Chu-Town's darkest hour—804 homicides back in 2021. Since then, thanks to the likes of initiatives like Chicago CRED, there's been a dip in the crime chart. Now, with the Gin Foundation's dough bolstering CRED's coffers, the streets might just get a little less mean. "It’s a transformational gift for us," Duncan told the Chicago Tribune, getting ready to scale the program that has already shown a 73% violence-related arrest cut for graduates of the program. In a city stamping down hard on this entrenched issue, this generous shot in the arm signals hope.

The tokens of Gin's magnanimity aren’t just to keep outlays afloat. It's a testament to a legacy built on tenacity and resilience, sprouting from her early days slinging chow mein to becoming an air-catering queen and a real estate maven. As the Gin Foundation Trust keeps on trucking, doling out funds from her $400 million estate, it seems like Chicago's playing with house money in the game of tackling violence and igniting young imaginations.