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

Funds Will Support New Independent High SchoolOffering Classical and Uniquely Integrated Curriculum

ST. LOUIS PARK, Minnesota (March 7, 2011) - In a dramatic, surprise announcement at this year’s Chesterton Academy Annual Gala, Minnesota entrepreneur and philanthropist Andy Redleaf declared that once again he will match, dollar for dollar, any donations that come into Chesterton Academy by April 1, 2011, up to $75,000. The first Redleaf Challenge, announced last May, ultimately raised $170,000, making it by far the largest and most successful fund-raising initiative in the history of the young school. Now Mr. Redleaf, CEO of Whitebox Advisors, is doing it again!

Chesterton Academy, a classical high school ‘in the Catholic tradition’ started in fall of 2008 with just 10 students. Today, the school enrolls 43 students in grades nine, through 12, and expects to reach 60 students when the 2011-2012 school year begins in the fall.

Redleaf’s gifts to Chesterton Academy have been crucial to a school that relies heavily on fund-raising and receives no public support. To keep the school affordable, Chesterton charges the lowest tuition of any non-public high school in the Twin Cities. Financial aid is offered to families in need. At $5,500 for the 2010-2011 school year, the tuition represents about two-thirds of the actual cost of educating a student, with the remainder made up by donors.

“We are once again deeply honored by Mr. Redleaf's generosity,” said Headmaster John Niemann. "Andy knows us even better than a year ago and it says something that he remains so committed to the school. I don’t know where we’d be without him.”

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 says that watching the young school’s progress persuades him that a Jewish entrepreneur emerging as the leading supporter of a school “in the Catholic tradition” is really a perfect fit.

Chesterton “offers a rigorous classical education priced for middle-class families of any faith. That’s huge for the Twin Cities.” Redleaf emphasizes: “It’s not just talk or a vague goal. Chesterton is really delivering on the promise of the classical curriculum. Recently I met with Headmaster Niemann to review the reading list and what’s expected of the students and I had one word to say afterward: ‘impressive.’”

Redleaf says he is even more impressed with “the demeanor, the maturity, the poise, and the kindness of the students. Chesterton students, “look adults in the eye, speak in complete sentences and have something to say,” he comments. “If every school could raise up adults like those young men and women this country could face the future unafraid."

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.

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MEDIA CONTACT John Nieman, Headmaster E-Mail: info@df8.797.myftpupload.com Phone: 952.378.1779

Posted March 13, 2011
Emily de Rotstein