Leaving a Lasting Legacy

John Riehle: A legacy donor

by Kathrine Schleich

John Reihle Cropped Small

East Side Learning Center (ESLC) long-time supporter John Riehle, is the first planned giving donor of which we are aware. Riehle, along with his late wife, Mary (who served as one of the first tutors), has been involved since 2001. Riehle recently shared with the Executive Director that he is planning to leave a legacy gift from his estate. 

Long-time Commitment

John’s involvement goes back many years. “My support came primarily because the ESLC was a passion of Mary’s,” he explained. “Throughout our marriage we valued sustaining organizations that make a difference, and Mary brought home wonderful stories of the children who were being helped and the successes achieved through tutoring.”

But there was another reason for John’s enthusiasm. “The Center was led by the Notre Dame sisters, who had been my teachers in grade school on the West Side of the city. And, the primary location of ESLC was in my East Side neighborhood.”

Looking Towards the Future

The couple supported the ESLC from the very start, giving donations annually as the years went by. Planned giving is essential to any organization, and John explained what compelled him to make that commitment to the ESLC. “The programs and ministries that I have chosen to support are doing wonderful work in ‘the community,’” he noted. “Why should my patronage stop with my death? With a planned gift, that support can continue well beyond even the memory of me.”

As for specific goals John would like his planned giving to accomplish, he gave this example. “As Red Green is wont to say: “Remember, we are all in this together.” We will all be saved together or none of us will be. And that includes every adult and child. Learning to read is one way that everyone can help our community to grow, succeed, and care for each other.”

When asked how he would like to be remembered, John’s reply was humbling. “I truly don’t have to be remembered.
What I do hope is that people remember what a model Mary was; and the scores of dedicated tutors who work with children each and
every day.”

Reflecting On Planned Giving

For other donors contemplating planned giving, John shared this advice. “When you consider those to whom you will gift your financial estate, count your offspring and then add ‘one’ more—ESLC—to share in your legacy and your gift. And just as your own offspring will have resources to use with their progeny, so your extra offspring—ESLC—will have resources to use with every child who comes here.”

John summed up his dedication to the ESLC organization when he said, “I wish blessings, peace, goodwill, and love for everyone who calls ESLC home: the students, tutors, staff, the board, and the community!”

If you are interested in planned giving or donation investments with ESLC contact Development Associate Suzanne Al-Kayali, via e-mail at suzanne.alkayali@eslcmn.org or phone at 651-793-7331.

ESLC is grateful for the many volunteers and donors who make our mission of, "unlocking each child’s potential through the foundation of reading” a continuing reality.


As you plan your legacy, please take care of your family and loved ones. After that, consider leaving a portion or the remainder to East Side Learning Center. Designate it to the Sr. Audrey Reading Fund to help ESLC build its funds to launch scholarship programs and expand services to more children.