Former Mayor Richard Daley is giving more than $500,000 remaining in his campaign fund to 13 charities, with the biggest bequest going to the After School Matters organization founded by his wife Maggie, a spokeswoman said Tuesday.
He's also giving six-figure sums to a cancer center that bears the late Maggie Daley's name and a prominent children's hospital.
Daley could have put the money in his pocket and paid taxes on it. State law bans that practice, but Daley is part of an increasingly smaller group of veteran politicians allowed to take what was in their campaign funds as of the end of June 1998. The former mayor chose another route.
"I have to say, that's pretty commendable," said David Morrison, deputy director of the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform. "It's pretty rare that a campaign committee gives that much to charity."
The decision to give the money to the charity came nearly two years after Daley logged his last full day in office in May 2011. He did not run for re-election after serving a record 22 years as Chicago mayor.
Some of the donations have been sent out. Others are in the works. Before they were settled on, Daley had spent more than $600,000 of the nearly $1.1 million that was in his campaign coffers a month after his departure from city government.
Daley took none for himself. Instead, he's found other ways to make a living.
The 71-year-old onetime Cook County state's attorney sits on the board of Coca-Cola, and he is "of counsel" at the international law firm of Katten Muchin Rosenman. He also coordinates an urban lecture series at University of Chicago as a distinguished senior fellow.
He is a senior adviser at JPMorgan Chase, where he heads the Global Cities Initiative financed by the Brookings Institution.
Along with his son Patrick, Daley has launched a Chicago-based investment and advisory firm called Tur Partners that focuses on sustainable urban development.
The former mayor did spend a good chunk of the campaign money on pet causes before giving the rest to charity. After leaving office, he paid Carol Brown and Eileen Hubbell more than $215,000 to organize his archives and provide services to the RMD Global Cities Institute, an outgrowth of the Richard J. Daley Global Cities Forum named after Daley's late father, according to campaign finance reports.
In late 2011 he spent nearly $29,000 on office space where the organization of his archives was staged and nearly $63,000 to move and store the materials from his city tenure. He also paid Patricia Kilroe, his campaign fund chairwoman and treasurer, a total of $114,000.
Last December, Daley gave $100,000 to After School Matters, which runs many of Chicago Public Schools' after-school programs.
Here's how he's dividing up the remaining $540,000 of his campaign fund, according to longtime spokeswoman Jacquelyn Heard:
•$150,000 more to After School Matters.
•$100,000 each to the Maggie Daley Center for Women's Cancer Care and the Lurie Children's Foundation of Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago. Maggie Daley in November 2011 died from metastatic breast cancer after living with the disease for many years. She had been treated at the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University. The foundation named after Ann Lurie and her late husband, Robert, endowed The Lurie Garden at Millennium Park, one of Daley's signature city projects.
•$25,000 each for the Misericordia Home for people with developmental disabilities, and De La Salle Institute, the Catholic high school Daley attended.
•$20,000 each to the Children of the Crossroads Foundation, a scholarship fund affiliated with the Frances Xavier Warde School founded by Maggie Daley; the Faith Community of St. Sabina, which provides safe homes for foster children; and Kids Off the Block, which provides at-risk, low-income youth programming in the Roseland community.
•$20,000 apiece to Sweet Beginnings LLC, a honey-producing arm of the North Lawndale Employment Network; Casa Central, an agency that provides a wide array of programs in Humboldt Park; and El Valor, a similar organization in Pilsen.
•$10,000 for the Chicago Police Memorial Foundation and the Widows' & Children's Assistance Fund set up by retired Chicago firefighters.
He made sure this story got in the press too.