December 2020

A New Chapter for Leo Adler

Earlier this year, the Leo Adler Foundation awarded over $1.21 million in scholarships and community grants for the benefit of our community. The Foundation awarded $846,300 to 242 students to advance their educational goals during the 2020-21 school year and $364,734 in grants to 41 nonprofit organizations.

As the year comes to an end, a new chapter begins for Leo Adler’s legacy.

After 25 years of devoted stewardship, Norm Kolb will step down as Chair, but he will remain active on the Committee at-large and mentor the incoming Chair, Carrie Folkman, during this period of transition.

Folkman, community leader, third generation business-owner, and seasoned member of the Committee, reflects, “It is both an honor and great privilege to accept this responsibility and build upon the strong foundation. Norm Kolb has provided faithful leadership and a steadfast vision of Leo’s final wishes. I am grateful to follow in his footsteps.”

Kolb led community investment of over $36.2 million in scholarships and grants, including the funding of over 9,200 scholarships and 1,400 nonprofit community projects. Records suggest that there has been an estimated $26.5 million of leveraged improvements to community assets due to Leo Adler’s gift to Baker.

In late September, the Committee also appointed First Republic Trust Company, a division of First Republic Bank, to serve as Trustee, replacing U.S. Bank.

“I am very excited for the new opportunities ahead in partnership with First Republic Trust Company. They understand Leo’s history and his vision. As Leo was the ‘spark’, they will be the light to move our foundation forward,” says Folkman. “In addition to their deep expertise in trust administration and investment management, we’ve seen First Republic’s incredible customer service first-hand which will serve Leo Adler’s vision for Baker and beyond.”

Leo Adler, the beloved “Mr. Baker,” was known for his passionate loyalty to his community. “Leo was always an involved and visionary person; he was a people-person who learned by watching, and he valued commitment, hard work, and an authentic, realistic perspective,” reflects Kolb. “Simply put, he was a partner, not an owner.” Adler’s quiet, steadfast philanthropy focused on bringing people together to achieve something great.

Leo Adler’s story is also featured in The Spark and the Light: The Leo Adler Story by Adair Law. The second edition can be purchased at the Baker Heritage Museum gift shop or the Adler House Museum.

Almost 30 years later, Leo Adler continues to ignite opportunities for the people of Baker, so true to form, he must be watching from above with excitement for 2021.

For more information about the history of Leo Adler and opportunities for funding through the Foundation and Community Fund, please visit

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