Republican mega donor Ken Griffin gives $1 million to Obama Foundation

WASHINGTON – Ken Griffin, the Chicago business mogul who is one of the richest men in the nation and a Republican mega donor, contributed $1 million to the Obama Foundation, according to disclosures released on Friday.

Griffin’s gift – officially through his Kenneth C. Griffin Charitable Gift Fund – is the first jumbo GOP donation to the Obama foundation.

It comes as the organization is making a push for major money from get top Chicago civic and corporate leaders – Republicans and Democrats – and the companies and foundations they control. Griffin, one of the biggest donor to Republican candidates and causes in the nation, may give in a sense political cover to other civic minded Chicago Republicans who are on the fence about making a gift to the former Democratic president’s foundation.

Griffin gave the $1 million in September, with teams from both sides working to make it happen. Former President Barack Obama called Griffin to thank him for his donation.

“President Obama has been an important part of the civic community in Chicago. It is a great honor to have his presidential library in our city, where Chicago residents and visitors can enjoy it for years to come,” Griffin, the founder and CEO of Citadel said in a statement.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation also donated at least $1 million. The Obama Foundation only lists ranges of contributions; the Sun-Times confirmed the Griffin gift was $1 million

The Obama Foundation is raising money to build the Obama Center in Jackson Park – an event forum, an office building, museum, recording studio, library and community garden complex.

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