Arlington, Va.,—Leigh-Anne Kazma, president of the Kazma Family Foundation in Chicago, will receive the St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Award from the National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA) in recognition of the foundation’s generous patronage of Catholic education. The award will be presented during the 22nd annual Seton Awards ceremony Oct. 1 at the Ronald Reagan International Trade Center in Washington, D.C.
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 Ann Seton (1774-1821), the first native-born American saint.
Leigh-Anne Kazma was born in Canada and immigrated with her family to the United States in 1979. A graduate of Bradley University in Peoria, Ill., she resides in Chicago, serving students in need by mentoring and providing scholarships and as a member of numerous boards including the Chicago Big Shoulders Fund, the Joliet Diocesan Catholic Education Foundation and several elementary and secondary school boards.
In 1997, Kazma was named president and sole employee of the Kazma Family Foundation. She has dedicated her entire career to personally engage with the students who receive financial aid from the foundation. Kazma serves as a mentor for her scholarship recipients, reviewing their progress, dining with them at their schools and taking them on academic and recreational outings.
The life-changing generosity of the Kazma Family Foundation began with providing college scholarships to the residents of Mercy Home for Boys and Girls in the Archdiocese of Chicago and has branched out to provide scholarships to students throughout the Chicago area, including seven high schools in the Diocese of Joliet. Kazma singularly, or in partnership with charitable organizations, has provided financial support to nearly 1,000 students.
In recent years she established a scholarship at the Pontifical North American College in Rome, and has begun funding school construction in Honduras and a college scholarship program in El Salvador.
This year’s other Seton Award recipients are:
- Robert A. Conway, Cincinnati, philanthropist and co-founder of The Bistro Group, for his expansive support of Catholic educational institutions in Greater Cincinnati.
- Chuck and Nancy Geschke, Los Altos, Calif., for their ongoing leadership and philanthropic contributions to post-secondary Catholic education.
- Tom Moran, New York City, chairman and CEO, Mutual of America, for his benevolent corporate sponsorship within the Archdiocese of New York.
- Cardinal Sean O'Malley, archbishop of Boston, who has renewed and revitalized Catholic education in the Archdiocese of Boston.
- Lorraine Ozar, associate professor of education at Loyola University Chicago, will receive the NCEA President’s Award for her vision and leadership in the development of effective Catholic school curricula and instruction.
For reservations or additional information about the Seton Awards, contact Xaverian Brother Stephen Comeau at (571) 257-2891.
NCEA, founded in 1904, is a professional membership organization that provides leadership, direction and service to fulfill the evangelizing, catechizing and teaching mission of the church. NCEA's members include elementary schools, high schools, parish religious education programs and seminaries.