Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Aleteia
Saturday 25 September |
Saint of the Day: Bl. Herman “the Cripple”

He lived a simple life running a corner grocery store—and left $13 million to a Catholic school

Deacon Greg Kandra - published on 11/22/17

A spectacular act of generosity:

In life, Leonard Gigowski ran a corner grocery store. The bachelor loved ballroom dancing and pigeon racing. In death, he found a way to help generations of students pay their tuition at St. Thomas More High School, his own alma mater back when it was called St. Francis Minor Seminary. This quiet and frugal man left $13 million in a scholarship fund that covers up to half the tuition for needy students who don’t qualify for the private school choice program and its state aid payments. “He lived a very simple life, nothing extravagant whatsoever in his lifestyle. For the most part, he saved his money and wanted to provide a legacy, which he did,” said Larry Haskin, Leonard’s lawyer and friend who helped him set up the Leonard Gigowski Catholic Education Foundation. Leonard was 90 and still in his New Berlin home when he died of cancer on July 21, 2015. He never married or had children. All but one sibling preceded him in death. He made a few small bequests to individuals and family members, but the vast majority of his estate went toward the scholarships, as he wished. Mary McIntosh, president of Thomas More on Milwaukee’s south side, recalls meeting Haskin for coffee and learning of the foundation. “He told me the size of Leonard’s gift, and I almost fell off my chair,” she said. This school year, a total of $489,000 was awarded to 131 students to cover either one-half ($5,400) or one-third ($3,600) of the annual tuition, which is $10,800. The goal is to distribute 5% of the fund balance each year, thus keeping it going into perpetuity. Students can renew the scholarship each year as long as they keep their grades up. All of that is a pretty good reason for the school to feel grateful, especially in this week devoted to giving thanks. “It’s a fantastic recruiting tool to be able to reduce tuition, and to make it a bit more affordable for the families,” said Haskin, a graduate of Pio Nono High School, also a predecessor of Thomas More.

Read more. God bless him.

Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read Aleteia.org every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...




Top 10
1
SLEEPING
Cecilia Pigg
7 Ways the saints can help you sleep better at night
2
VATICAN LEGOS
J-P Mauro
Chicago architect models Vatican City from 67,000 LEGO bricks
3
Tolkien
Philip Kosloski
Why J.R.R. Tolkien loved to attend daily Mass
4
OUR LADY
Philip Kosloski
An alternative Hail Mary to Our Lady of Sorrows
5
PADRE PIO
Bret Thoman, OFS
Exclusive photos: Meet Padre Pio and the place he lived
6
PADRE PIO
Philip Kosloski
How Our Lady saved Padre Pio from a violent demonic attack
7
peace
Cerith Gardiner
9 Padre Pio quotes for when you’re feeling scared or uncertain
See More