Richard Driehaus on why Chicago outshines New York
November 8th, 2016
Richard Driehaus, a celebrated investment adviser and philanthropist, says there’s no question why Chicago outshines New York.
“In New York, I’m just another successful guy,” he told a City Club of Chicago forum Monday. “You can’t make an impact in New York. But in Chicago, you can because it’s big enough and it’s small enough and people actually get along enough.”
The line drew cheers from the group of nonprofit leaders who gathered at at Maggiano’s Banquets to hear a discussion on “Doubling Down” on philanthropy.
Driehaus has donated more than $180 million to nonprofits over the years. He spoke on the panel along with Maria Kim, CEO of the Cara Program, which helps fight homelessness, and Jennifer Fortner, a Goldman Sachs executive who advises clients on philanthropy.
Moderator Joshua Hale, CEO of Big Shoulders Fund, set the tone for the lunch. He urged the audience to cheer for the panelists as if they were political candidates. Hale even passed out placards featuring the faces of Driehaus, Kim and Fortner.
Driehaus, who runs Driehaus Capital Management, recalled his father’s inability to afford a new family home. “I was so surprised,” Driehaus told the rapt crowd. Later, he said he realized at that moment that “different careers paid differently” and he chose a career that offered income “commensurate with effort and success.”
In seventh-grade, Driehaus started learning about the stock market. “It was more interesting than Shakespeare,” he said. That’s funny because he’s now a major contributor to Chicago’s Shakespeare Theatre.
He took $2,000 he had saved from a paper route and invested in two stocks: Union Tank Car and Sperry Rand. Driehaus even remembers the day he invested: July 29, 1957.