January 13, 2014
Why we're watching: Lucas and Hobson, who married last year, announced in December they would give $25 million over five years to After School Matters, the education charity founded by late Chicago first lady Maggie Daley.
What remains to be seen is whether this is a one-time gift in honor of Hobson's friend and mentor, or whether it's only the beginning of the couple's commitment to Chicago.
If the couple decide to raise a family here ¿ they had a daughter by surrogacy last year ¿ Lucas would become Chicago's wealthiest resident, and their ability to raise money for and bring attention to causes they care about would be unparalleled.
As of June 30, 2012, After School Matters reported net assets of about $5.8 million, which demonstrates just how significant Lucas' gift is. The couple's relationship with After School Matters is no doubt unique. Hobson leads its board. And her ties to the Daley family go back to St. Ignatius College Prep, where she attended high school with Daley nieces and nephews and Maggie Daley served on its board.
Pulling the couple westward is a multimillion-dollar beach house under construction near Santa Barbara, Calif.; the more than 3,400 acres Lucas owns in Marin County, Calif., including Skywalker Ranch, where some, if not all, of his businesses are based; and The Lucas Cultural Arts Museum, which he wants to build in San Francisco.
Hobson, who sits on the boards of Dreamworks Animation, Groupon, Starbucks and Estee Lauder, declined to be interviewed for this story.
Lucas is worth a reported $4.2 billion, according to Forbes. In late 2012, after Lucas sold his film company to The Walt Disney Co. for $4.05 billion, a representative announced that he would donate the majority of the proceeds to philanthropy, specifically education. And in 2010, he signed Warren Buffett's Giving Pledge, committing to give away half his fortune in his lifetime or upon his death.
His George Lucas Family Foundation, the source of the After School Matters gift, had more than $1.1 billion in assets as of the end of 2012, according to tax filings.
Having just a fraction of that directed here could boost any unrealized civic effort. With After School Matters, at least, it already has.