Shriver Center mourns passing of longtime supporter Newton Minow

A contemporary of Sargent Shriver, Newton Minow leaves behind public service legacy.

Chicago, IL—The Shriver Center on Poverty Law released the following statement today regarding the May 6 passing of Newton Minow, a longtime supporter and Chicago attorney known for his exemplary public service.

During his career, Minow was chairman of the Federal Communications Commission as well as the Public Broadcasting Service. Among his many achievements, he helped grow public television, played a key role in establishing televised presidential debates and charged national broadcasters with keeping citizens well informed. Minow also was a mentor and early backer of Barack Obama, who presented him with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2016.

At Sidley Austin, Minow practiced law and held various leadership roles there from 1965 to 1991. His lifelong commitment to public service led the firm to form deeper relationships with community organizations and educational programs, including its first corporate partnership in 1984 with the Kanoon Magnet Elementary School in Chicago. He joined Sidley as part of its 1972 consolidation with Leibman, Williams, Bennett, Baird & Minow.

Newton Minow and Martha Minow
Newton Minow and Sargent Shriver Equal Justice Award winner Martha Minow at the Shriver Center’s 2016 annual gala.

“Newton Minow was a pioneer whose extraordinary life and legacy should inspire us all,” Shriver Center President & CEO Audra Wilson said. “A contemporary and friend of Sargent Shriver, Newt was passionate about public interest law and a longtime supporter of the Shriver Center. He shared our vision for stronger communities built on justice and opportunity for all.”

In addition to numerous civic and charitable activities, Minow and his late wife, Josephine, also a Shriver Center supporter, raised three daughters who are notable in their own right. In 2016, for her contributions to justice for people with low income, daughter Martha Minow, then dean of Harvard Law School, received the Sargent Shriver Equal Justice Award at the Shriver Center’s annual gala.

The Shriver Center on Poverty Law fights for economic and racial justice. Over our 50-year history, we have secured hundreds of victories with and for people living in poverty in Illinois and across the country. Today, we litigate, shape policy, and train and convene multi-state networks of lawyers, community leaders, and activists nationwide. Together, we are building a future where all people have equal dignity, respect, and power under the law. Join the fight at

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