Jennifer Pritzker is the founder of the Tawani Foundation and the world’s first and only transgender billionaire. She’s one of 11 billionaire heirs of the Chicago-based Pritzker family, one of the wealthiest families in the United States. Jennifer enlisted in the US Army in 1974 and retired as a Lieutenant Colonel in 2001. She also founded the Pritzker Military Library.
Jennifer founded the Tawani Foundation in 1995 and incorporated Tawani Enterprises the following year. The Tawani Foundation supports causes related to military awareness and heritage, arts and culture, health and wellness, and LGBTQ+/human rights. Through the foundation, Jennifer donated $1 million to the University of Victoria in British Columbia to create the world’s first endowed chair in transgender studies.
During her time in the military, she received over a dozen honours, such as the Meritorious Service Medal, the Army Commendation Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, the Army Achievement Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, the National Defense Service Medal with Star, the Antarctic Service Medal, the Outstanding Military Volunteer Service Medal, the Armed Forces Reserve Medal with 20 year Device, the State of Illinois Long and Honorable Service Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, the U.S. Army Parachute Badge and the Air Assault Badge.
While she identifies as a Republican, much to the chagrin of her self-proclaimed “rich socialist” family, she does not support the Trump Administration. In January 2019, she wrote an open letter to the GOP titled, Why should I support a political party that is marginalizing me out of existence?
“I don’t want to see my life, and the life of people like me, become a political poker chip,” she told Vanity Fair, regarding the president’s decision to exclude transgender people from the military. “I felt he disrespected a whole category of people in a really thoughtless way, and if he disrespects one category, everybody is subject to that. Everybody has the right to be considered on their own merits.”
In 2016, Jennifer received the Bonham Centre Award from the Mark S. Bonham Centre for Sexual Diversity Studies at the University of Toronto for her contributions to LGBTQ+ advancement and education.Tags: Investment and Funding, LGBTQ+, military, philanthropy