ARCADIA, Wis. (WXOW) - The founder of the Ashley Furniture empire, Ronald Wanek, is one of 14 people slated to receive a Horatio Alger award next year.
The award goes to honor the achievements of individuals and their philanthropic leadership and commitment to helping young people achieve their goals through higher education.
“Ronald Wanek lives by the guiding principle that a rising tide raises all boats,” said Terrence J. Giroux, executive director, Horatio Alger Association. “He is a philanthropist in the truest sense of the word, not to mention he built his business from the ground up.”
Wanek took a business he started, Arcadia Furniture, merged it later with Ashley Furniture, and built it into the largest furniture manufacturer in the world. The company now employs more than 30,000 people and has sales of over $6 billion annually.
Along the way, he and his wife Joyce created the Ronald & Joyce Wanek Foundation which funds a number of educational, medical, and arts projects.
Among the most visible of his family's contributions to the community is the Soldier's Walk at Memorial Park in Arcadia.
Wanek receives his award in Washington in April 2020.