UPDATE 7/13/16: The Tawani Foundation is actually an alternate name for the registered charity “Colonel IL James N Pritzker Charitable Distribution Fund.” See below for details.
How did it happen so fast? That’s what so many of us keep wondering: the complete saturation of the media, government policy, school systems, psychology and medicine with unwavering promotion of the notion that people can change sex—with or without medical transition.
A societal upheaval this big doesn’t happen without a lot of funding, and the money has been flooding into medical clinics, summer camps, and every other conceivable outpost of the transgender child initiative, with a seeming acceleration in the last 2 or 3 years.
One source of gushing cash is the Tawani Foundation via its billionaire CEO and Director, 66-year-old Colonel (ret.) James “Jennifer” Pritzker, one of several family heirs to the Hyatt Hotel fortune, who announced a transgender transition a scant 3 years ago.
According to the 2013 announcement of Pritzker’s transition in Chicago Business, Pritzker’s net worth as of that year was roughly $1.5 billion. The article mentions Pritzker’s philanthropic work, including efforts to include transgender people in the military, Pritzker’s investment and real estate ventures, but nothing about child transition—even though Tawani’s money was used to launch the gender clinic at Lurie Children’s Hospital, an initiative announced several months before Pritzker came out as trans.
Oddly enough, the current website for the Tawani Foundation still, in 2016, makes no mention of that group’s ongoing philanthropic donations to the cause of transgendering children; all we see are military charities, military history, and a few museums.
Even under the grant guidelines (“not accepting inquiries at this time”) and grant history sections, there is no mention of the sizeable amount of Col Pritzker’s Hyatt Hotel fortune that has been devoted to the cause of transgender children. The annual reports section stops in 2012—the year before Pritzker’s transition was publicly announced. A search of all grantees in that 2012 report does yield a $25K donation to Lurie Children’s Hospital for the “launch of new multi-disciplinary ‘gender management’ clinic,” as well as $9.5K to the Kinsey Institute for “the LGBT talk at Indiana University with Chaz Bono for Sexploration Week.”
Given the far larger June 2016 Tawani grant to the pediatric transition clinic at Chicago’s Lurie Children’s Hospital, it’s very odd that there is zero evidence of current philanthropic giving to transgender causes on the Tawani Foundation website. An exhaustive Internet search for more information on Tawani also came up empty, including the Illinois Attorney General’s database of charitable organizations–despite a clear statement on that website requiring philanthropic foundations to register with the state.
UPDATE 7/13/16: Further research reveals that Tawani is actually an alternate name for the private foundation registered as the “Colonel IL James N Pritzker Charitable Distribution Fund” (EIN: 300040386). The so-named fund (with assets of around $50 million) filed with the state of Illinois and the IRS (latest filing 2014).
The question arises: Why does Pritzker donate (and receive press accolades) under the Tawani name, which has no information on its website about grants made after 2012, while the legal entity continues to be registered under Pritzker’s male name, Colonel James N. Pritzker?
In addition to funding the Lurie Children’s gender clinic, in January of this year, the Chicago Tribune announced that Tawani donated $2 million to “the world’s first endowed academic chair of transgender studies” in Canada’s British Columbia. Global capital knows no national boundaries.
In June, Pritzker announced the $1 million grant to the Lurie Children’s Hospital “gender and sex development” program, run by Dr. Rob Garafolo, a US pioneer in pediatric transition:
“I am pleased to continue the Tawani Foundation’s support of the Gender & Sex Development Program at Lurie Children’s,” says COL (IL) Jennifer N. Pritzker, IL ARNG (Retired), Tawani Foundation President and Founder. “The team at Lurie Children’s has done an excellent job of initiating and developing a program of local and national significance. Yet, there remains a compelling need for expanding access and developing comprehensive services for gender-nonconforming children and transgender youth. It is my hope that the community will join me in investing in the health and well-being of these young people.”
…“This gift is so important for the families we serve,” said Robert Garofalo…
“Col. Pritzker had the incredible foresight to invest seed funding in our program and I’ve been proud to shepherd its growth,” he continued. “We are now a national leader serving a diverse patient population of gender nonconforming and transgender youth from across the Chicago area and an increasingly broader regional reach. “
I’m struck by the now-common lumping of “gender nonconforming” with “transgender” in the Lurie announcement. This is becoming more and more common—broadening the definition of who fits under the trans umbrella. I’ve started to think of this as a sort of mission creep. Even the American Psychological Association has fused the “T” to the GNC, labeling anyone who doesn’t fit stereotypes as TGNC in its guidelines for how therapists should approach and treat kids.
Why do “gender nonconforming” children even need the services of a medical clinic which promotes medical transition? Gender nonconforming/gender defiant children need love and support, but do they need millions of dollars from a late-transitioning male-to-female billionaire to foster medical dependency and (likely) eventual sterilization?
One online Chicago news outlet dispensed entirely with the term “transgender” in announcing Pritzker’s big donation to the Lurie clinic:
CHICAGO — The world’s wealthiest transgender person is backing a big fundraising campaign for nonconforming patients at Lurie Children’s Hospital.
The Streeterville hospital, 225 E. Chicago Ave., said Thursday it was launching a $500,000 campaign for gender nonconforming patients in its Gender & Sex Development Program launched in 2013. It was the first such clinic in the Midwest upon its opening.
“Nonconforming patients.” If they’re “nonconforming,” why are they patients in the first place at a clinic that will help them “conform” to the opposite sex? Nonconformists don’t need hormones and surgeries to help them conform to sex stereotypes—do they?
Col. Pritzker is evidently not averse to continuing with a male identity in some online venues. A bio on the National Guard Educational Foundation website unapologetically refers to Pritzker under his male name.
There is even a photograph of Col. Pritzker still linked on the NGEF website, though it appears to have been removed from the bio page.
Having it both ways seems to be a hallmark of the trans movement: Society at large is supposed to accept that any man—no medical transition necessary–who believes he is a woman, even part-time, needs to be respected as such, yet we should all also be celebrating the idea that children as young as 12 should be put on cross-sex hormones, or have double mastectomies at 14. We’re supposed to accept that “some girls have penises” but at the same time accept that teens absolutely need to permanently alter their bodies with hormones and surgeries as early as possible.
In another trans-typical expression of having-their-cake-and-eating-it too, many proponents of pediatric transition are themselves biological fathers. Pritzker is no exception; as several of the websites referenced in this post note, he has fathered three children. Why do so many of these late-transitioning fathers take such an interest in turning other people’s kids into lifelong, sterilized medical patients? It’s one thing to advocate for the civil rights of adult transgender people (as Pritzker’s foundation does for transgender military personnel and veterans). But this involvement in the ever-burgeoning pediatric transition clinics springing up all over the US? Does Pritzker wish, as so many MtoF trans-activists also claim, that he’d had access to estrogen and sterilizing surgeries as a teen? That would have meant, of course, that he’d never have been a father (nor experienced 63 years of life as a fully intact man).
If questions like these result in any soul-searching or cognitive dissonance for trans activists like Pritzker, we don’t hear about it. Maybe, in the case of a billionaire philanthropist, having your cake and eating it too is just all in a day’s work.