Minnesota Entrepreneur, Andrew Redleaf, Awards Chesterton Academy $75,000 Challenge Grant


ST. LOUIS PARK, Minnesota (May 17, 2010) - Chesterton Academy, a private, independent college preparatory school, announced today that it has received an exciting fundraising opportunity from Andrew Redleaf, founder and CEO of Whitebox Advisors. Mr. Redleaf has agreed to match, dollar for dollar, any donations that come into Chesterton Academy between now and June 15, up to $75,000. To be eligible for the match, gifts must be new and cannot be the fulfillment of commitments previously made.

News of the challenge grant comes near the end of the second year of operation for Chesterton Academy, a classical high school ‘in the Catholic tradition’ started in fall of 2008 with just 10 students. Today, the school enrolls 20 students in grades nine, ten, and eleven, and expects to add 15 to 20 students when the 2010-2011 school year begins this fall. The result of a grass-roots movement of parents, the school is named for the great English writer, G.K. Chesterton, who, among many other achievements, was one of the first English-speaking writers to predict and condemn Adolf Hitler’s holocaust against the Jews.

“We're deeply honored by Mr. Redleaf's generosity and interest in helping us build a strong foundation for Chesterton Academy,” said Headmaster John DeJak.

Mr. Redleaf is a native of the Twin Cities and a graduate of St. Paul Academy and Yale University. A passionate supporter of classical education, Redleaf cites three particular achievements that led him to support Chesterton Academy.

Citing his concern with “the national decline in educational achievement among young men” Redleaf notes that at co-ed Chesterton “it’s cool to be smart, even for the boys. We need more of that.”

Redleaf, who is Jewish, adds that by "offering a rigorous classical education at a price middle class families can afford, Chesterton provides a huge service to our entire community. I hope many more non-Catholics in the Twin Cities will join me in supporting that effort.”

“Besides,” he points out, “what the folks at Chesterton call ‘the Catholic tradition’ are really foundational values of our civilization. And with all due respect to my Catholic friends, the Catholics weren’t the first to discover those values.”

Redleaf’s company, Whitebox Advisors, is an investment adviser located in Minneapolis. The firm manages approximately $3 billion and employs over 70 professionals. Celebrated by the New York Times and others for predicting the mortgage crisis long before it happened, Redleaf’s monthly client letter is avidly read and quoted not only on “the Street” but also in the financial press.

Redleaf’s gift is among the largest received by Chesterton Academy since its founding. The school relies heavily on fundraising, as it receives no public support. In order to keep the school affordable, the school charges only $5,500 in tuition, roughly half of the actual cost of educating a student.

About Chesterton Academy The result of a grass-roots movement of parents, Chesterton Academy is a pro-family, independent high school offering an integrated, college preparatory curriculum centered on the Incarnation of Jesus Christ. Focusing on the classics, the school develops complete thinkers who learn to draw on faith and reason for the purpose of building a culture of life.

Posted May 17, 2010

Emily de Rotstein