Written by Audra Grigus firstname.lastname@example.org Oct 5, 2022
Tom Costello lived a life driven by a desire to learn and a passion for staying active — values now reflected in the work done by the foundation his family started in his honor.
The Thomas A. Costello Legacy Foundation is hosting its first annual 5K on Oct. 16 at Chaska High School, Costello’s alma mater, to honor his life and legacy and to raise funds for scholarships.
“We just want to make sure that we’re creating a solid endowment going forward for the Chaska scholarships because that’s what this event will really be funding,” said Ashely Costello, Tom’s older sister. “We want the people that are giving their money to run or walk this 5K to be able to see those scholarships really impact students in their own communities.”
The day will begin with the kids sprint starting on Tom Costello Way at 8:30 a.m. and the 5K starting at 9 a.m.
Those who participate will get a t-shirt and Tommy Strong koozie. Two hundred and seven participants were already signed up as of Thursday, Sept. 29. Costello’s goal is to get 250 to sign up.
There will also be community vendors, face painting for kids and music. Participants in the 5K can choose to walk or run the route. A small prize will be given to whoever finishes first, but Costello said, “We’re not expecting people to come in and break any land speed records. It’s all good fun.”
“On behalf of our family and the foundation, we really appreciate all the support and we’re so excited to see everyone out there on the day of the 5K,” she said.
The Thomas A. Costello Legacy Foundation was started in September 2021 by the Costello family — Pat, Beth, Ashley and Sarah — after Tom passed away in a water-skiing accident on June 11, 2021.
“The foundation is run predominantly by our family, which is exhausting work, but I can’t imagine more rewarding work,” Ashley said.
The events the foundation puts on and the scholarships it awards are inspired by Tom’s life and interests. In his time at Chaska High School he was involved with DECA, Knowledge and Quiz Bowl, Key Club, National Honors Society, Track and Relay for Life. He started his own organization called Birthday Buddies where students went to nursing homes to celebrate residents’ birthdays.
After high school, Tom went on to study at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and, after graduating with honors, landed a job in New York City as an investment banker.
Supporting physical activity and education is at the forefront of what the foundation does. The organization held its first first annual golf event in June 2022, which attracted over 300 participants.
In addition to curating events for physical activity, the foundation has set up two scholarship programs: one for a Chaska High School student and another for a UW-Madison undergraduate student.
According to Ashley, funds that don’t go toward scholarships are given to other nonprofits important to the Costello family, like Make-A-Wish, which donated a wish when Tom battled cancer as a teenager; and LifeSource, through which Tom’s organs were donated.
“It’s very overwhelming to see how much community support we have even a year later,” Ashley said. “I think we had over 700 people or something that attended his funeral. That was great. Everyone comes out for the life of a great young man — but then people move on, right? We have definitely not seen that. We’ve seen the continued support of friends, family and community members alike. We’re really excited to be able to create this foundation to give back to the community that Tommy cared so much about.”
For more details on how to sign up for the 5k, please visit the website under the event tab.