Chairman and Founder, Susan Crown Exchange

Susan Crown is a philanthropist and business executive with a strategic, results-oriented approach. She is Chairman and Founder of the Susan Crown Exchange (SCE) and Chairman and CEO of Owl Creek Partners.

Unlike most foundations, the Exchange uses an approach that goes beyond traditional grant-making; it fosters partnerships and collaborations to create social change. SCE’s mission is to help people acquire skills needed to succeed and thrive in a rapidly changing, highly connected world. SCE is focused on two program areas: digital learning and social and emotional learning, building grit, empathy, and emotion management. The Exchange intends to add programs to cultivate other 21st century skills.

SCE is a leader in promoting social and emotional skills. In 2016, SCE published “Preparing Youth to Thrive: Promising Practices in Social and Emotional Learning,” the first field guide for organizations aspiring to foster social and emotional growth in young people. The content was collected from experts of exemplary programs across the nation – and it is the first best practices field guide of its kind (which can be downloaded at no charge from SELpractices.org).

In the digital learning arena, SCE partnered with Common Sense Media to develop the rubric for a learning ratings system. SCE and Common Sense Media have rated more than 3,500 digital learning products. The system informs parents, educators, and others about the educational value of a specific digital product and what style learner might benefit most from its use.

Owl Creek Partners is a private equity company with focused investments in real estate, securities, and consumer products. Most investments are with firms owned or managed by women.

For nearly three decades, Susan Crown dedicated time and talent to social causes and the business world. As Partner of Henry Crown & Co, she helped manage businesses as diverse as oil and gas, defense, banking, cellular technology, and real estate. As Chairman of the Crown Family Philanthropies, she professionalized an ad hoc family process and spearheaded numerous initiatives including the celebrated Crown Fountain in Millennium Park and the Covenant Awards for leaders in Jewish education.

The first woman board member of Illinois Tool Works (ITW) – a multi-faceted manufacturing and engineering business with a market cap in excess of $30B – Ms. Crown now chairs its Executive Committee. She’s also a board member of The Northern Trust Corporation and a former board member of Baxter International.

Ms. Crown serves as Vice-Chair of Rush University Medical Center. She led a $1 billion effort to transform the medical center campus, including the development of Chicago’s first gold level LEED-certified hospital which in 2014 won the World Architecture Prize for best designed health care facility.  She’s a former Fellow of Yale Corporation and co-chaired the Yale Tomorrow Campaign. She’s a director of CARE USA and, in 2011, co-chaired its National Conference on Global Poverty, which led to legislative reforms.

Susan Crown graduated with honors with a B.A. from Yale University, earned an M.A. from New York University, and attended the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. She lives with her husband, William Kunkler, in Chicago, IL. They have two children.