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Tom & Janet Leopold: For the Love of Merit

Posted by Merit School of Music • July 29, 2021

“You find your way through music,” says Thomas M. Leopold, member of Merit School of Music’s board of trustees, in a recent interview over breakfast with Merit VP for Development and Marketing, Meredith Barber, along with Director of Donor Engagement, Cathy Wloch.

Tom and his wife, Janet, are devoted members of the Merit family who truly believe in Merit’s mission to remove barriers to music education so that nothing gets in the way for any young person who wants to learn to play an instrument or develop their musicianship to top performance levels. Whether they need help paying for lessons, renting good quality instruments, or even getting to and from lessons and rehearsals, Tom is ready to cheerlead and support the school.

Tom was born and raised in Highland Park, IL, served in the United States Army stationed in Heidelberg, Germany, and graduated from the University of Michigan. His first job out of college was with Inland Steel in Kansas City, MO, where he eventually headed up the sales department and then became a trader before being drawn to the banking industry working at the former Continental Bank in Chicago which later became Bank of America. Tom calls upon his skills of persuasion that he honed so well in his career in sales and banking to inspire contributions totaling tens of thousands of dollars in financial support each year for Merit from friends and colleagues to help young people do just what he says Merit does: Find their way through music.

Photo of Tom and Jane Leopold

While talking with Tom, he shared how Butch Pfaelzer, who has been with Merit from the very beginning, introduced Tom to Merit and how much he enjoys serving on the board with a close friend. There is a lot of history, a lot of love, great joy and happiness in serving the school, according to Tom. Regarding Tom’s commitment to Merit, Tom was emphatic with us. He said, “It’s an important time to help children in need – not just for the music, but to help build their character, help them achieve their potential…especially during the times in which we live.”

Thank you, Tom and Janet, for all that you do and for telling others about Merit. We are so grateful to you both, and thoroughly enjoy working with you.

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