This billionaire rebuilt her town - while funding a right-wing revolution in her state - 2019-06-12
Diane Hendricks is not one of America's better-known billionaires. But she is, according to Forbes, the richest self-made woman in the country, with a fortune estimated at around $7.2 billion. Her wealth swamps that of better-known billionaires like eBay veteran Meg Whitman, Oprah Winfrey, Facebook's Sheryl Sandberg, and Kylie Jenner.
Hendricks founded and grew the ABC Supply wholesaling company (which sells roofing, siding, windows, and gutters) with her husband, Ken, who died in 2007. In recent years, though, she's focused on philanthropy, particularly on causes in her adopted hometown of Beloit, Wisconsin, a small postindustrial city near the border with Illinois.
She funded an international film festival for the town, a performing arts center where the library used to be, modern apartments near high-end burger and sushi restaurants, and a startup hub in the industrial foundry that used to employ much of the town. As Alexandra Stevenson, a New York Times reporter who profiled Hendricks, puts it, it can seem at times like she's "playing SimCity."