What's in a name?
Certain surnames cover plaques all over the city. Who the heck are these people? We find out who's who among Chicago's biggest philanthropic families.
You’ve seen the name on Millennium Park’s Crown Fountain, Arie Crown Theater and Chicago History Museum’s Crown Room (pictured).
Who they are Henry, Irving and Sol Crown founded Material Service Corporation with $10,000 in 1919. The business owned and operated quarries and factories and grew to become one of the city’s biggest commercial builders, helping create properties like the Merchandise Mart and the Loop railway (at one time, they even owned the Empire State Building). In 1947, the Crown brothers started Arie and Ida Crown Memorial, a foundation named after their Eastern European immigrant parents. The foundation has doled out dozens of grants, and continues today (thanks to an allocation of profits from Material Service Corporation), supporting areas such as civic affairs, the arts, health and Jewish philanthropy.