Donor Spotlight
The late Leo and Anne Pondelick

Philanthropy Interests: Each May 12, the Heart of Illinois Community Foundation celebrates the wedding anniversary of the late Leo and Anne Pondelick by sharing a 5% distribution from their endowed fund.

Anne was born December 21, 1931, in Chicago, Illinois, the second child of Charles Angelo and Elizabeth (Bertrand) Brady. She attended Marywood School for Girls in Evanston, Illinois, and received her B.A. from Elmhurst College, with a major in German. She did advanced studies in the German language at Illinois State University in Bloomington-Normal and at the University of Vienna in Austria. Anne taught German at MacArthur High School for over twenty years. During five summers she accompanied MacArthur German students to Vienna, where they also studied German.

During her teaching career, Anne served as a Board member and President of the Illinois Foreign Language Teachers Association. After her retirement in 1991, she served on the Board of the Lincoln Square Theatre, the Millikin Homestead, and the Historic Decatur Foundation. Anne was appointed by the Mayor of Decatur to serve on the Historical and Architectural Sites Commission, and the Zoning Board of Appeals.

Leo was raised in Chicago and graduated from Lakeview High School in 1944. After high school he traveled with The Free Fair Follies of ’46 performing all over the Midwest and the South. On May 12, 1951, Leo married Anne and they made their home in Chicago and Leo taught violin lessons at Wurlitzer’s downtown. In 1954, they built a house in Elmhurst and for the next 17 years Leo directed the orchestra and choirs at York High School. In 1969, they moved to Decatur, Illinois where Leo taught violin and conducted the orchestra at Millikin University. During the summers the Pondelick family often traveled abroad in Germany and Austria. In 1972, he continued his education by completing a Masters in Music at the University of Illinois in Urbana. He taught for the Urbana Public School System until retiring in 1987.

Throughout his years as a teacher, Leo ran a successful business booking dance bands, string quartets or strolling musicians for parties and weddings across central Illinois. During their first years in Decatur, Leo and Anne were involved in Theater 7, the community theater. After retirement they increased their travels to include Australia, China, Norway and Russia.

Anne passed away in 2014 and Leo passed away in 2016.

As members of the James J. Madell Society, the Pondelicks created the Leo and Anne Pondelick Family Fund with a gift through their estate of $426,031.

Their original gift has grown to $601,478.31 and granted out $172,800 to date!

Their legacy continues as each May 12 in celebration of their wedding anniversary, grants are made to organizations which were very special to the Leo and Anne: The Decatur Area Arts Council, Decatur Public Library, Macon County Conservation District, Scovill Children's Zoo and Historic Decatur Foundation - for the Culver House.

The pondells violin