Lifetime Humanitarian - John and Cleo Leppien
John and Cleo Leppien have quietly and very humbly supported the Gratiot County community and made it a better place to live. They have enriched thousands of lives across all ages and spectrums in Gratiot County and beyond with their benevolence and significant financial contributions. They quietly support a vast array of charitable, health, educational, religious and civic organizations without seeking the simplest of recognition or special favors. They are exceptional models of humanitarianism who have totally committed themselves to improving the quality of life of their fellow community members. The Gratiot County Community Foundation is fully self-sustaining and has awarded more than $600,000 in grants and scholarships thanks to the Leppiens, who helped the Foundation get started. John and Cleo have been strong supporters of United Way for many years, leading back to when the office was in a small shared space in downtown Alma. John continuously encourages his employees at Garr Tool to go above and beyond, and they are consistent leaders in campaigns. In the past 10 years they have raised over $485,000 for the community. During 2005, the MidMichigan Medical Center launched a capital campaign to expand the medical center to better serve patients and the community with a state-of-the-art facility, John and Cleo quickly stepped in with a $450,000 donation.
“Thousands of children in our county will have beds on which to sleep, food to eat and clothes to wear in the hopes that their basic needs are met. They will experience success in the classroom and break the cycle of poverty. Hundreds of high school students have and will have experienced the value of volunteerism and grant-making through the Youth Advisory Council. All because of the Leppiens,” said one community member.