b. December 15, 1967
“I think the Cubs have come quite a long way … I’d like to see it expand for the LGBT community.”
Laura Ricketts is a lawyer, a philanthropist, a businesswoman and the first openly LGBT co-owner of an American major-league sports franchise. She is also an activist who supports LGBT and Democratic causes.
Ricketts and her three brothers grew up in Omaha, Nebraska. She is the daughter of John Joseph Ricketts, the multibillionaire founder and former CEO of TD Ameritrade. Ricketts’s brother Pete is the governor of Nebraska. Her brother Tom is chairman of the Chicago Cubs.
Raised in a conservative Catholic family, Ricketts worried about coming out. In the early 1990s, she told her family, and to her relief, they were immediately supportive.
Ricketts earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Chicago in 1994 and her Juris Doctor degree from the University of Michigan Law School in 1998. She became a corporate attorney practicing with Schiff, Hardin & Waite, a Chicago law firm.
Ricketts left the practice to cofound Ecotravel, LLC — a company dedicated to promoting ecotourism worldwide — that operated Ecotravel.com, an online magazine. The Wall Street Journal named Ecotravel.com one of the top websites of its kind in 2002.
Ricketts has generously supported organizations such as Lambda Legal, GayCo Productions, Opportunity Education and the Democratic Party. She serves on the boards of Lambda Legal and Housing Opportunities for Women (HOW), Inc., an organization supporting homeless women and children in Chicago.
Although her parents and siblings are Republicans, Ricketts champions Democratic politics. She co-chaired the Democratic National Committee’s LGBT Leadership Council and became the co-founder and chairwoman of LPAC, the first lesbian political action committee. She was a prominent fundraiser for President Barack Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign and for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign. At the 2016 Democratic National Convention, Ricketts served as an Illinois superdelegate.
In October 2009, with her brother as board chairman, the Ricketts family paid $845 million for 95 percent ownership of the Chicago Cubs and Wrigley Field. Ricketts and her brothers are board members of the Cubs.
In 2013 the Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame inducted Ricketts. In June 2015 she married Brooke Skinner, an executive at Cars.com. They live in Chicago with their daughter.
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