They used these “disadvantages” to fuel their desire to persevere and triumph. They used the discrimination as energy that would propel them into extreme wealth, instead of focusing on negative thoughts.
And while it’s clear that some of them have inherited their great fortunes, they always make time to give back to their communities in different ways, sometimes in ways that are even more valuable than money, like taking the time to listen to local business owners and exchange advice with them.
Disclaimer: Some numbers can be different from Forbes, but this article follows the numbers provided by Movoto’s map. Click here for the 50 wealthiest people in America, by state: Part 1, Part 2, Part 4 and the last part here.
30. Minnesota: Whitney MacMillan; a Cargill legend – $5.3 Billion
The last member of the Cargill family to run their agricultural firm, Cargill, Inc., founded by Whitney’s great-grandfather in 1865, Whitney MacMillan was the CEO of the company from 1977 to 1995. Today, Cargill, Inc. is the largest private company in the world. MacMillan lives a very quiet life in Minnesota and has a few ranches, one in Montana, which he put up for sale this year: a 40,000-acre property that hosted Lewis and Clark on their voyage through the Louisiana Purchase and was also the site of the first dinosaur fossil discovery in North America.
29. Illinois: Ken Griffin; the lord of Citadel – $5.5 Billion
The founder of the $24 billion hedge fund firm Citadel, LLC, Ken Griffin started trading in his Harvard dorm room in the 1980s, using about $265,000 in seed money from his family and friends. He is also a philanthropist and donated $150 million to Harvard University this year to help students with their financial aid. He is back in the public eye after news of his divorce and custody battle broke.
(Photo: Chicago, IL, skyline)
28. Ohio: Leslie Wexner; Victoria’s Secret is out – $5.7 Billion
If you or someone in your family has ever purchased anything at Victoria’s Secret, then you know that Les Wexner is a retail genius. He has built famous brands such as Abercrombie & Fitch, Lane Bryant, Limited Too and Express. He grew up in Columbus, Ohio and watched his father toil away in his small store. Even though he swore he would never be involved in retail, he dropped out of law school and started helping his father at the store. A disagreement led him to open his own store, which he named The Limited because his stock was limited to women’s sports clothes. Then in 1982, Wexner bought the nearly-bankrupt Victoria’s Secret for $1 million, along with its six shops. And even though he sold most of his famous retail concepts, he still runs the lingerie store, which has more than 1,000 location in the U.S. and around the world. Wexner still lives in Columbus where he founded a CEO-only organization called Columbus Partnership in 2002, which meets up with business leaders in the community and partners with the mayor of the city to build a better future.
(Photo: Retail mogul Leslie Wexner, left, and his wife Abigail tour the “Transfigurations” exhibit at the Wexner Center for the Arts Friday, Sept. 19, 2014, in Columbus, Ohio. The “Transfigurations” exhibit is from the Wexner’s private collection will mark the 25th anniversary of the Wexner Center for the Arts. AP Photo/Jay LaPrete)
27. Indiana: Gayle Cook; the medical devices family – $6 Billion
The co-founder of the Cook Group, Gayle Cook and her husband William Cook started their medical device company in a spare bedroom in Bloomington, IN in 1963. When William died in 2011, Gayle inherited her husband’s stake in the company. She currently sits on the company’s board. The company specializes in catheters, stents and other medical devices.
(Photo: Indiana University’s Bloomington campus)
26. Montana: Dennis Washington; copper mining and trains – $6.1 Billion
It’s like playing the Monopoly board game and buying your own railroad: you know you’re practically set for the game of life, right? That is, unless you land on Boardwalk and someone has a hotel there, then your time might be limited.
Well, you might say that Dennis Washington bought his own Boardwalk and then some. He not only owns the Montana Rail Link, which transports freights across 900 miles of track, he also owns: a copper mine in Butte, a barge business in Vancouver, and he is also the majority shareholder of Canadian container shipping firm Seaspan, which has an $8 billion contract with the Canadian Navy and Coast Guard to build 12 vessels over the next 20 years.
Washington had polio when he was young and spent eight months in a hospital and rehab clinic in Seattle. He also lived in a government housing during World War II and shined shoes for pocket money. Washington ended up living with his grandparents in Missoula, Montana after his parents divorced. He realized early on that he was passionate about machinery and that’s why he went to Alaska when he was 17 and became a heavy-crane operator. He started his company, Washington Construction, with a $30,000 loan he took from a friend’s company.
(Photo: Glacier National Park)
25. Tennessee: Thomas Frist, Jr.; hospital magnate – $6.9 Billion