- Leo Fontana
Businessman and Philanthropist
California State University, East Bay
Mr. Leo Fontana’s extremely generous spirit and 60 years of business ownership, community leadership, and regional philanthropy has touched the lives of many people in Contra Costa County, especially in the city of Antioch. In 1946, Mr. Fontana established Antioch Stationers in the growing community of Antioch, and later founded LaFontana Office Products. A strong force in the development of East Contra Costa County, Mr. Fontana was instrumental in transforming Antioch, helping to develop the County East Mall, East County Bank, Delta Memorial Hospital and the Antioch Senior Citizens Center.
Hundreds of young people would never have been able to attend college, including several California State University campuses, if it was not for the encouragement, generosity, employment and mentoring provided by Mr. Fontana. Most any youth sports organization that started in Antioch in the last six decades has Mr. Fontana to thank for its success. He co-founded the Antioch Historical Society Museum Sports Legends Program in 2007 to honor excellence in athletics and to preserve the historical achievements of male and female athletes in the community. In 2008, he was inducted into the Sports Legends Program for his five decades of service in organizing community sports.
His involvement in the economic development of eastern Contra Costa County is impressive. He was responsible for the creation of the modern day Chamber of Commerce, and the siting and development of the community hospital, the regional transit organization, the regional mall and the locally owned bank. His leadership has benefited boards of many charitable organizations, and he has served on the Antioch City Council, the Antioch Planning Commission and the Antioch Parks and Recreation Commission.
As an example of engaged citizenship, Mr. Fontana created the Fontana Family Foundation and continues to support many community organizations even as he enjoys his retirement.
In recognition of his dedication to serving the people of Contra Costa County and his support of young people and education, the California State University Board of Trustees and California State University, East Bay are proud to confer upon Leo Fontana the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters.