Since March 2020, our world has been mired by hospitalizations, deaths, lockdowns, layoffs and economic hardships. The pandemic affected everyone, but Black and Brown communities suffered disproportionately. At the same time, the demand for social justice, equity and inclusion took hold.
Our list of 2021’s Top Chicago-area philanthropists aims to highlight those who put their philanthropy to work in those arenas. Meet these superstars in our communities and learn how their work is driving social change and helping those hurt by the pandemic.
Wilson, founder of the Dr. Willie Wilson Foundation, is a philanthropist, entrepreneur, and occasional political candidate.
At the start of the pandemic, he committed to providing masks to those who needed them, giving away an estimated 25 million masks in Illinois and another 10 million in California. He also donated $500,000 to start Ramo, a non-profit organization that helps churches figure out a way to become profitable on their own to create jobs and scholarship opportunities.
“I do what I do because I believe in God and I believe in helping those in need,” Wilson said. “Giving gift cards, donating face masks to our first responders and others, donations to churches, helping seniors and the homeless … are some of the ways we have helped in the past.