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Joe and Mary Slawek ignited Wheaton Academy’s For Generations to Come campaign with a lead gift of $6 million. Joe Slawek, founder, chairman, and CEO of FONA International (retired), and Mary Slawek, co-founder and FONA board member, have generously donated this cornerstone gift to launch Wheaton Academy’s academic building expansion project. This unprecedented gift is the largest in Wheaton Academy’s 170-year history and has served as a catalyst that has inspired others to faithfully give to the planned campus enhancements.

In 1987, the Slaweks founded FONA International (FONA), a Chicago-based company that creates and produces flavors for many of the world’s largest food, beverage, and nutritional companies. In late 2020, the Slaweks sold FONA to McCormick & Co., Inc., and retired to Tennessee. This financial blessing provided the Slaweks with an even greater opportunity to further impact future generations through their generous gift to Wheaton Academy as well as many other favored organizations.

The Slaweks are familiar faces at Wheaton Academy. As Academy parents, Joe and Mary had the opportunity to watch two of their three children grow under the care and leadership of our Living Curriculum Teachers. As students, Joy (Slawek’13) Gerhart and Kirk Slawek ’08, studied subjects that paved the way for their future careers. In addition to their role as Warrior parents, Joe served faithfully as a trustee on Wheaton Academy’s board for eight years, using his business prowess and wisdom to influence the direction of the Academy. Mary served as an active parent volunteer contributing many hours to the betterment of the school and students. Joe and Mary’s presence and generosity have blessed Wheaton Academy’s past, present, and future generations.

When asked what compelled them to give this lead gift to the Academy, the Slaweks shared the following, “We are grateful and indebted to Wheaton Academy and to the faculty and staff for the spiritual, academic, and athletic investment in so many high school students including our own children and hopefully our grandchildren. Private Christian education is simply essential for the future of our country. We are honored to play this small role in the future of Wheaton Academy.”

“We are both blessed and honored to receive this extraordinary gift from the Slawek family,” offered Steve Bult, Head of School. “Their generosity, fueled by their entrepreneurial spirit and desire to see young people rooted and built up in biblical truth, enables us to further our mission and empowers us to continue providing an exceptional educational experience that prepares students for a life of purpose and impact as they build God’s Kingdom.”

Wheaton Academy is a private Christian high school in West Chicago, Illinois. Established in 1853, the Academy is guided by its mission to nurture growth in students through relationships, excellence, and service to the glory of God. Named an Exemplary High Performing Blue Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education, Wheaton Academy provides a rigorous educational experience rooted in biblical truth.