Crain's: Retired Walgreen CEO Jorndt Stays Connected to Midtown Tutoring Program
Shia Kapos Takes Names
by Shia Kapos
CHICAGO - Daniel Jorndt retired as chairman and CEO of Walgreen Co. nearly 10 years ago and spends his time doing all those things you imagine someone in retirement might do.
He travels (he just returned from Bonita Springs in Florida), reads (just finished the Steve Jobs biography by Walter Isaacson), and, of course, there's lots of time with grandkids. He recently celebrated the birthdays of his 5-year-old twin granddaughters. "It's the best," he says of all their energy.
Mr. Jorndt and his wife, Pat, also have stayed connected to the Midtown Educational Foundation, a nonprofit supported by Walgreen.
In 1989, when he was chief operating officer, the company established a tutoring program with Midtown, which helps disadvantaged Chicago kids in the fourth, fifth and sixth grades.
Fundraising wasn't much back then, Mr. Jorndt says, so the company came up with the idea of a benefit dinner to recognize success stories from the program. For the first dinner, the company went to suppliers and others connected to Walgreen to buy tables. "We raised a few hundred thousand dollars. Today those dinners raise more than $1 million," he told me, referring to an evening gala that featured Madison Dearborn Chairman John Canning Jr.
The tutoring program is in its 23rd year and serves some 400 pupils through after-school programs in Midtown's centers for boys (in Bucktown) and for girls (in the West Loop).
On Thursday, the group is holding a modest fundraising luncheon featuring Patricia Miller, co-founder of women's handbag-maker Vera Bradley, and emceed by Zoraida Sambolin of CNN. (Ms. Miller also is a former secretary of commerce for the state of Indiana.)
Mr. Jorndt, who lives in Northbrook and is an adviser at Winona Capital Management, says Midtown's work makes up for what kids aren't learning in school.
He took a full-blown swipe at Chicago Public Schools, even calling the system "lousy."
Like I said, when you're retired, you get to do (and say) a lot of things you could only dream about when you were working.
Follow Shia on Twitter at @ShiaKapos.