I searched online and found a number of Reddit threads about how tough it is to get money back from your unused Ventra card. And one old Redeye article from 2014 showing how to do it — IF you move out of state: https://www.chicagotribune.com/redeye/redeye-how-to-cancel-your-ventra-card-when-you-move-20141001-story.html
And there were some threads about selling loaded ventra cards at a discount for cash. I don’t know if this is legal — or even if it is, whether the amount you receive is taxable, or traceable, since it was a pre-tax gift to you.
I’m thinking you should write this off and stop thinking about it– unless you personally know someone who could use the card.