|Born||December 15, 1967|
Jacksonville, Florida, United States
|Education||University of Chicago (A.B.)|
University of Michigan Law School (J.D.)
|Occupation||Board member, Chicago Cubs|
|Spouse(s)||Brooke Skinner (m. 2010)|
|Parent(s)||Marlene and Joe Ricketts|
|Relatives||Pete Ricketts (brother)|
Todd Ricketts (brother)
Tom Ricketts (brother)
|Awards||2016 World Series champion|
Laura M. Ricketts (born December 15, 1967) is co-owner of the Chicago Cubs. Ricketts is also a board member of Lambda Legal and the Housing Opportunities for Women organization. Ricketts' ownership stake in the Cubs is noteworthy because it makes her the first openly gay owner of a major-league sports franchise.
Ricketts' father, J. Joseph Ricketts, founded Ameritrade when Laura was age 7. J. Joseph Ricketts let it be known that he wanted his children to establish themselves through their own hard work and would not be allowed to join TD Ameritrade until they reached the age of thirty.
Ricketts is a former corporate lawyer. Ricketts received her bachelor's degree from the University of Chicago in 1994, and her Juris Doctor from the University of Michigan Law School in 1998. Laura talks of her own struggle to come out; "I came out to my family I would say early to mid 90s. I think for a long time I wasn't really out to myself, growing up in Omaha, Neb., to a Catholic conservative family. It took me a while to come out to myself and not long after that I came out to them. I think that it really couldn't have been a better experience. They were all immediately supportive. ... I have been really really fortunate in that regard."
Ricketts is one of four children. Older brother Pete Ricketts is the current governor of Nebraska. Her brother Tom is chairman of the Chicago Cubs, and the chief executive officer of Incapital LLC. He is also a director of TD Ameritrade Holding Corporation. Her youngest brother, Todd also lives in Chicago.
Ricketts is a Democrat, unlike her parents and her siblings (who are all notable Republicans). Ricketts is liberal and a LGBTQ activist. Ricketts had served as the chairwoman of LPAC, a lesbian Super PAC.
Ricketts was also a supporter of Hillary Clinton's 2016 presidential campaign in the Democratic primaries and the general election. In announcing LPAC's April 2015 endorsement of Clinton, Ricketts said, "We are proud to endorse Hillary Clinton as she begins her run for the White House. Hillary is an unyielding advocate for LGBTQ women. Our endorsement today represents LPAC’s strong support of her candidacy."
In addition to supporting Clinton as a donor and fundraiser, Ricketts supported several Democrats running for other offices in the 2016 elections. Ricketts gave personal donations that year to Jan Schakowsky's congressional re-election campaign, Tammy Duckworth's senate campaign, Maggie Hassan's senate campaign, and Russ Feingold's senate campaign. Ricketts also donated to the Hillary Victory Fund, a joint fundraising committee benefiting both state parties and the Clinton campaign.
During Chicago's 2019 mayoral election, Ricketts endorsed and became a co-chair of Susana Mendoza's campaign in the first round. After Mendoza was eliminated, Ricketts backed Lori Lightfoot in the election's runoff.
On July 6, 2009, the Chicago Tribune reported that the Ricketts family had reached an agreement with the Tribune Company to purchase the Cubs, Wrigley Field, and 25% of Comcast SportsNet Chicago. Final approval came by a unanimous vote of the other MLB owners in an October 6, 2009, conference call. On October 27, 2009, the Ricketts family, with Thomas S. Ricketts as board chairman, officially took over 95% ownership of the Chicago Cubs, Wrigley Field and 25% ownership of Comcast SportsNet Chicago for a purchase price of $845 million. The Tribune retained 5% ownership.
Laura Ricketts joins her three brothers, Tom, Pete and Todd, on the board of the Chicago Cubs. Her brother Tom is the chairman and led the acquisition. NBC Sports highlights the significance of Laura Ricketts ownership standing: "Not only has there never been an openly gay sports team owner before, but there have been next to no gay players -- at least none who were willing to admit it before their retirement." Christman of NBC Sports was able to cite three cases in MLB history of job loss suspectedly due to sexual orientation. Christman adds that "perhaps with a lesbian now on the board of a Major League team, some athlete will be able to come out of the closet while still working in a professional sports franchise and not lose their job."
Laura Ricketts serves on the National Leadership Council of Lambda Legal, the "nation's oldest and largest civil rights organization for lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people, and people living with HIV/AIDS". Laura Ricketts' work with Lambda Legal's Midwest Regional Office in Chicago has advanced lesbian and gay legal rights in the Midwest, including several legal victories. Most prominent are Lambda Legal's efforts toward Same Sex Marriage legalization in Iowa, 2009, where Laura served in a leadership and financier role. Camilla Taylor, Senior Staff attorney for Lambda Legal, is known as the "lead architect" of Varnum v. Brien, in which the Iowa Supreme Court upheld a 2007 district court ruling that said it was unconstitutional for Iowa to bar same-sex couples from marrying. Laura Ricketts' philanthropy includes support for other charitable organizations like the Housing Opportunities for Women organization and Howard Brown Health Center, a Chicago provider of health services for LGBT people.
Awards and honors
- "Lambda Legal Board of Directors and National Leadership Council". Lambda Legal. 22 October 2008. Archived from the original on 5 May 2007. Retrieved 2009-01-30.
- "HOW 2007 Annual Report" (Press release). Housing Opportunities for Women. 2007. Retrieved 2009-11-04.
- "Lesbian makes history as Cubs owner". Windy City Times. 2009-11-01.
- Oneal, Michael; Tribune Staff Reporter (12 July 2007). "Roster of Cubs bidders expands Ricketts family founded Ameritrade". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 30 January 2009.
- Cordes, Henry J. (19 March 2006). "For Ricketts, it's about earning what you get". Omaha World-Herald. p. 1. Archived from the original on 9 July 2007. Retrieved 30 January 2009.
- "Laura Ricketts". Chicago Tribune. 2009-11-01.
- "Laura Ricketts, Brooke Skinner wed". windycitymediagroup.com. Windy City Media Group. June 6, 2010. Retrieved December 16, 2016.
Chicago-area couple Laura Ricketts ( pictured left ) and Brooke Skinner were married June 6 in a wedding attended by family and friends. Ricketts, a co-owner of the Chicago Cubs, and Skinner, who works for Twitter, wore white dresses for the elegant wedding. It was officiated by Lambda Legal Midwest Director Jim Bennett.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-10-17. Retrieved 2016-08-01.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
- Just, David (April 20, 2016). "Cubs co-owner Laura Ricketts discusses coming out, supporting Obama". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved December 16, 2016.
- Cogan, Marin (April 20, 2016). "Talking to Chicago Cubs Co-owner Laura Ricketts, a Big-Deal Democrat in a Family of Big-Deal Republicans". New York. New York City: New York Media LLC. Retrieved December 16, 2016.
- Lynn, Sweet (June 16, 2016). "Hillary to return for July 13 fundraiser at Laura Ricketts' home". Chicago Sun-Times. Chicago. Retrieved December 16, 2016.
- "LPAC Endorses Hillary Clinton for President" (Press release). LPAC. April 13, 2016. Retrieved 2016-12-16.
- Janssen, Kim (September 22, 2016). "Laura Ricketts sends not-so-subtle pro-Hillary message to dad at Cubs game". Chicago Tribune. Chicago. Retrieved December 16, 2016.
- Morgan, John (October 27, 2016). "MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL OWNERS ARE BIG LEAGUE POLITICAL DONORS". citizensforethics.org. Citizens for Ethics. Retrieved December 16, 2016.
- "Unpledged Delegates By State" (PDF). Vox. Vox Media. May 27, 2016. Retrieved December 16, 2016.
- Associated Press (2009-10-06). "Cubs sale unanimously approved". ESPN.com. Retrieved 2009-10-06.
- Paul Sullivan (2009-10-27). "Cubs sale to Ricketts is complete". Tribune Company.
- Zach Christman (2009-11-01). "Cubs 1st Team to Have Gay Owner". NBC Sports.
- Anna Clark (2009-11-02). "Laura Ricketts Is First Openly Gay Owner Of A Pro Team". bitch.
- The Bon Foster Address, Lambda Legal, 2009
- "Lambda Legal Updates: Equality Sweeps the Nation" (PDF) (Press release). Lambda Legal. 2006. Retrieved 2009-11-04.
- "Ms. Laura M. Ricketts". Crain's Chicago Business. 2008-10-20. Retrieved 2009-11-03.