A Chicago native with a deep commitment to the city, Sky owner Michael Alter is dedicated to his new franchise and sees it as a way to encourage opportunities for young women in professional athletics. He is a strong believer that Chicago is the best sports town in the country, a big reason that he decided Chicago needed a WNBA team. Alter values hard work, education, excellence and sportsmanship, all reasons he believes the Sky will succeed as both an organization and a team.
Alter, who was named to the Crain’s Chicago Business 40 under 40 list in 2000. is the President of the Alter Group, one of the country’s largest private commercial real estate developers. Throughout the Alter Group’s 50-year history, they have developed nearly 100 million square feet of commercial real estate; they also offer development, design and construction, and asset management services. The group has won numerous awards for its development of properties including their 835,000 square foot Thomson Learning Distribution Center, which won the Beyond the Box: Exceptional Industrial Projects award from The National Association of Industrial Office Properties. They recently ranked sixth in the National Real Estate Investor survey of America’s top office developers.
Alter is also founder and president of City Year Chicago, which is best known for its signature program, The City Year Youth Service Corps. The goal in the program is to bring together approximately 1,000 people ranging in age from 17-24 from diverse backgrounds and put them through a full-time commitment of a year of community service, leadership development, and civic engagement where they mentor children. During City Year's existence, more than 1 million hours of service in local communities has been logged.
When asked why he is bringing the Chicago Sky to Chicago, Alter stated, “For me, it was like meeting Ernie Banks or Bill Russell in their prime. I was so impressed not only by the WNBA players’ prowess as athletes but their intelligence, their passion, their dignity and their power to inspire. After meeting these amazing women and learning more about the WNBA, it did not make sense to me that the third largest city in the country, and frankly, in my opinion, the best sports town in the country, did not have a WNBA team.”
Alter has a bachelor of arts degree in government from Harvard University and a law degree from the University of Chicago. He and his wife Ellen are parents of three children, all of whom are interested in sports and keep their parents very busy. They live in Winnetka, IL.