By Shia Kapos
Local businessman Craig Bouchard has written an e-book with an accompanying video game he hopes will change the world of publishing with its philanthropic model.
If you know his history at all, you know he just might do it.
“The Adventures of Ai” is a historical novel aimed at girls ages 9 to 14. It’s based on bedtime stories and characters Mr. Bouchard made up for his three daughters as they were growing up. The video game dovetails with the novel.
Mr. Bouchard is CEO and chairman of the board of Sherman Oaks, California-based Signature Group Holdings, where a year ago he led a hostile proxy battle with the help of billionaire real estate investor Sam Zell to remove the firm’s board.
He’s also founder and chairman of Cambelle-Inland LLC, in Naples, Florida, which houses his investment activities, including ventures into the electric-car business.
Before all that, Mr. Bouchard, who lives in Hinsdale, was founder and president of Esmark Inc., which was sold to Russian steelmaker AO Severstal in 2008 for $1.3 billion. He also was senior vice president at First National Bank of Chicago (now JPMorgan Chase). Last year, his leadership book, “The Caterpillar Way,” made it to the New York Times Business Best Seller list.
Tomorrow, he’ll be rubbing shoulders with Crane Kenney, the administrative president of the Chicago Cubs, Blackhawks Coach Joel Quenneville and former Cubs pitcher Ryan Dempster to launch “The Adventures of Ai” book and game.
Dr. Marleta Reynolds, chief surgeon at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital, will talk at tomorrow’s event, as will Misericordia’s Sister Rosemary Connelly.
The book/video launch will be held at Lurie, which is among the nonprofits worldwide competing for proceeds from the book and video game. Misericordia Hearts of Mercy and Mr. Dempster’s family foundation also are part of the competition.
Mr. Bouchard will donate 20 percent of revenue from the book/game to the charities, with the largest portion going to the charities in the country where kids get the highest average score on the video game. The competition runs Sept. 6 to Dec. 31 and is called “The World Charity Cup.”
“It’s breaking all the business models. People are watching,” Mr. Bouchard said. “It’s about unlocking the potential of preteens and making them realize it’s possible for each of them to make a real difference.”
Follow Shia on Twitter at @ShiaKapos.