Fred Eychaner
Born1945 (age 77–78)
Known forChairman, Newsweb Corporation
AwardsChicago LGBT Hall of Fame (2015)

Fred Eychaner (born c. 1945) is an American businessman and philanthropist.[1][2]

Eychaner is the chairman of Newsweb Corporation.[3][4] He was included in Chicago magazine's 2014 list of the 100 most powerful Chicagoans.[5] In 2005, the Chicago Tribune estimated his wealth at $500 million.[1] In 2015, he was inducted into the Chicago LGBT Hall of Fame.[6]

Eychaner is a major donor to Democratic campaigns, gay rights advocacy groups, and arts organizations.[7]

Early life and education

Eychaner was born to a middle-class Methodist family in DeKalb, Illinois, the son of Mildred (Lovett) and Howard Franklin Eychaner.[1][8][9][10] His father owned a moving and storage business.[11] He has three siblings, including Iowa businessman Rich Eychaner.[1][12] He attended the Medill School of Journalism.[1]

Business interests

In the late 1970s, Eychaner founded Metrowest Corporation, which would eventually become Newsweb, which prints a wide variety of newspapers. It was in 1982 that, through Metrowest, he launched Chicago television station WPWR-TV Channel 50 in Chicago. It was also in 1982 that, alongside Chicago White Sox owners Jerry Reinsdorf and Eddie Einhorn, he was involved in the launching of the subscription sports television service Sportsvision. The service was sold to Cablevision Systems Corporation in 1984, who converted it into a basic cable service. In 2002, WPWR was sold to Fox Television Stations for a reported $425 million. Then, in 2005, through Newsweb, he launched Chicago radio station WCPT (820 AM), branded as Chicago's Progressive Talk.[1]


He is President of the charitable organization Alphawood Foundation which granted the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London £20m in 2013.[13] Eychaner has given the Clinton Foundation more than $25 million.[14] He is also credited with getting the long-delayed FDR Four Freedoms Park on Roosevelt Island in New York finally constructed.[15]

In November 2013, Alphawood announced a $2 million matching grant to help jumpstart construction of the Bloomingdale Trail in Chicago.[16]

Wrightwood 659 in 2019
Wrightwood 659 in 2019

Eychaner commissioned architect Tadao Ando to design his house in Chicago, which was completed in 1997, and the Wrightwood 659 gallery next door, which officially opened in 2018.[17]

Political activities

He has been a top Democratic donor for several cycles and in the 2012 election cycle was the top donor to Democratic Super PACs, giving more than $14 million.[1][18]


He serves on the board of the Joffrey Ballet,[19] and of the Art Institute of Chicago.[20] He is also a trustee of the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco.[21]

In September 2010, President Barack Obama appointed Eychaner a general trustee to the board of trustees of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.[22]


Eychaner was awarded the 2021 National Medal of Arts.[23]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g McCormick, John (June 7, 2005). "Fred Eychaner". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 1 June 2013.
  2. ^ Armstrong, David (September 30, 2002). "A Long Strange Trip". Forbes. Retrieved 1 June 2013.
  3. ^ Herrnson, Paul S; Deering, Christopher J; Wilcox, Clyde (2012-08-10). Interest Groups Unleashed. CQ Press. pp. 160–. ISBN 9781452203782. Retrieved 1 June 2013.
  4. ^ Gross, Theodore L. (2005-01-01). The Rise Of Roosevelt University: Presidential Reflections. SIU Press. pp. 143–. ISBN 9780809389711. Retrieved 1 June 2013.
  5. ^ "Fred Eychaner - Chicago magazine". Chicago magazine. March 2014. Retrieved 5 June 2014.
  6. ^ "Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame". Archived from the original on 2016-10-22.
  7. ^ "Fred Eychaner, Alphawood Foundation". Inside Philanthropy. Retrieved 18 July 2018.
  8. ^ Chicago Tribune: "Attention-shy Democratic donor Fred Eychaner opens up" by Melissa Harris May 01, 2014 |"Eychaner noted that he grew up in DeKalb, raised by teetotaling Methodists who ended up founding a PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) chapter and marching in the annual gay pride parade."
  9. ^ "Passages: Howard Franklin Eychaner". Windy City Times. 9 November 2005. Retrieved 5 June 2014.
  10. ^ Chicago Tribune Obituary: "Eychaner, Mildred Lovett" May 18, 2005
  11. ^ National Journal: "Meet Fred Eychaner, the Most Mysterious Figure in Democratic Party Politics - Tracking down Fred Eychaner, one of the most reclusive—and powerful—donors in Democratic politics, was no easy task" by Daniel Libit May 8, 2014
  12. ^ Forman, Ross (February 24, 2010). "Baseball history includes gay owner of minor league Cubs franchise". Windy City Times. Retrieved 1 June 2013.
  13. ^ "SOAS given £20m donation from Alphawood foundation". BBC News. November 2, 2013. Retrieved 2 November 2013.
  14. ^ "William J. Clinton Foundation releases donor list; Gates, Chicago's Fred Eychaner major givers". Chicago Sun-Times. January 1, 2010. Retrieved 5 June 2014.
  15. ^ "LEADERS Interview with Ambassador William J. vanden Heuvel, Chairman, Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park". LEADERS magazine. April 2, 2012. Retrieved 5 June 2014.
  16. ^ "Newsweb Corp.'s Fred Eychaner steps up for Bloomingdale Trail". Crain's Chicago Business. November 20, 2013. Retrieved 5 June 2014.
  17. ^ Pollock, Naomi R. "Wrightwood 659 by Tadao Ando Architect & Associates". Architectural Record. Retrieved 15 January 2020.
  18. ^ Schouten, Fredreka (October 29, 2012). "Handful of megadonors dominate campaign money chase". USA Today. Retrieved 6 June 2014.
  19. ^ "The Joffrey Ballet Board of Directors". The Joffrey Ballet. Retrieved 9 June 2014.
  20. ^ "Art Institute of Chicago Board of Trustees". Retrieved 6 June 2014.
  21. ^ "Asian Art Museum Board and Commission". Retrieved 6 June 2014.
  22. ^ Sweet, Lynn. "Obama taps Penny Pritzker, Fred Eychaner as Kennedy Center trustees". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 6 June 2014.
  23. ^ Calfas, Jennifer (March 20, 2023). "Mindy Kaling, Bruce Springsteen, Colson Whitehead Are Among Recipients of National Arts Awards". The Wall Street Journal.