Our Town with William Kelly: Ken Griffin among donors offering money to the town

William Kelly  |  Our Town  |  March 8, 2022

Ken Griffin, the billionaire hedge fund manager and part-time Palm Beach resident, is donating $100,000 to the Palm Beach Police Department.

The money will be used to buy a replacement training vehicle for tactical operations and for patrol motorcycles, Town Manager Kirk Blouin said.

“The motorcycles are a highly mobile and visual presence that can quickly get around to respond to crimes in progress,” Blouin said.

Blouin said Griffin approached the town about making a donation, specifying only that the money be used to enhance public safety.

“It’s a generous donation,” Blouin said. “Palm Beach is a special place. These things don’t happen at this level in other places.”

Town policy requires that the Town Council accept any gift to the town that exceeds $25,000, Police Chief Nicholas Caristo said. Griffin’s $100,000 donation will go before the council at its meeting beginning at 9:30 a.m. today.

A Florida native, Griffin is an entrepreneur and investor and the founder and chief executive officer of Chicago-based Citadel LLC, a multinational hedge fund that manages more than $43 billion from its partners.

In 2018, the prominent philanthropist gave $20 million to the Norton Museum of Art toward its renovation and expansion and to endow the museum director’s position.

Griffin owns a massive ocean-to-lake estate a quarter mile south of Mar-a-Lago. He began assembling the property nearly 10 years ago and has so far spent at least $350 million on the real estate alone. A year ago, he unveiled plans for a contemporary-style house and guesthouse to be built on 7.5 acres of the estate.

Griffin couldn’t be reached to comment for this story.

Griffin was the guest speaker at the Palm Beach Civic Association’s Dec. 9 luncheon at the Four Seasons Palm Beach Resort.

Other philanthropic offers on today’s meeting agenda include:

  • A $46,800 gift from “Everglades Island residents” – the donors aren’t named in the meeting documents – for the town to purchase security cameras for the island.
  • The gift of a Starlink satellite and $50,000 from the Kenneth A. Horowitz Family Foundation to start a Technology Fund under Blouin’s direction. Developed by Elon Musk and SpaceX, the Starlink high speed network satellite system uses satellites in low orbit to provide internet connection redundancy, expanded bandwidth and disaster recovery capabilities, Blouin wrote in a memo to Mayor Danielle Moore and the Town Council.
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