The Kazma Family Foundation is a non-profit organization that provides scholarships and supports education initiatives and other charitable activities. It was established in 1997 by Gerald and Margaret Kazma. At that time, their daughter, Leigh-Anne Kazma, was named president and sole employee. Providing financial assistance to students in need and their families is the primary mission of the Kazma Family Foundation. The extreme generosity of the Kazma family began by providing college scholarships to students at Mercy Home for Boys and Girls in the Archdiocese of Chicago and has branched out to provide scholarships to students throughout the Chicagoland area to include the seven Catholic high schools within the Diocese of Joliet.
The Class of 2023 represents the 16th class of high school students in the Diocese of Joliet that the Kazma family supports and mentors through their generosity. There are 75 Bishop McNamara students that have received Kazma scholarships. The scholarships begin when the students are freshmen and are renewed each year through their senior year of high school. Leigh-Anne Kazma is dedicated to personally engage with and mentor the students who she selects to receive financial aid from the foundation. She spends a great deal of time getting to know each scholar recipient and their families. She reviews their progress and makes a special effort to meet with each student twice during the school year. She keeps the line of communication open and stays in touch with them after they graduate from high school and move on to the next phase of their lives.
The Kazma Family Foundation has solely or in partnership with charitable organizations provided financial support to nearly 1000 students. In recent years, the Kazma Family has established scholarships at the Pontifical North American College in Rome, Ava Maria University in Florida, St. Joan of the Arc school in Florida, Universidad de Don Bosco in El Salvador, and has helped fund school construction in Honduras. Leigh-Anne has served on several boards which include the Catholic Education Foundation, Big Shoulders Fund Executive Board, Edward’s Hospital Foundation Board, and has served as an Arthur J. Gallagher Foundation Mentor.
In 2007, Leigh-Anne Kazma received the St. Elizabeth Seton Award from the National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA) in recognition of the Foundation’s generous patronage of Catholic Education. The Seton Award is NCEA’s highest honor given in recognition of significant contributions to Catholic education. The award is named in honor of St. Elizabeth Seton, the first native-born American saint.
Leigh-Anne and her family’s dedication to Catholic education and Bishop McNamara students is incredibly meaningful. The positive encouragement given with personal interaction contributes to the success of each student that is mentored.