History & Mission Statement

John F. Luedke is the president of the Walter and Edward Luedke Memorial Foundation. The WEL Foundation was established in 1993, in memory of the passing of John’s two brothers. This personal loss profoundly affected the course of John’s life. In 1983, Walter, suffering from depression, took his own life, then, in 1990 Eddie died from the AIDS virus.

Seeking a way to make sense of the loss, John decided he wanted to make a positive difference in the lives of others. As his first gesture, John organized a golf outing in memory of Walter, with all proceeds donated to the Orange County Suicide Hotline. Thus, the Walter Luedke Memorial Golf Classic was created and has been held annually since 1993. Proceeds raised from the Golf Classic are used to help local causes and charities, with an emphasis on assisting children, the disabled and infirm, and on improving arts and cultural opportunities in the community at large.

In honor of Eddie, John created the Edward Luedke Memorial Scholarship, which is presented annually to a high school graduate (or graduates) who has demonstrated academic excellence and will be continuing his or her education in the fields of health or medicine.

The WEL Foundation is a corporation pursuant to Section 42 of the Not-for-Profit Corporation Law of the State of New York, and is a New York State approved 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation. The Foundation is supported by private donations, which are managed by the Foundation. WEL is truly a foundation for the people– from those who donate to those who benefit from the funds raised. The Foundation’s vision is to reach people in a personal way by often assisting needy individuals and families in the community.

The WEL Foundation plans to expand the reach of the Foundation’s efforts as community needs arise. Through the WEL Foundation, John Luedke has taken his experience with personal tragedy and created a vehicle that enables him to truly make a difference.


The Walter and Edward Luedke Foundation (WEL FOUNDATION) is a corporation pursuant to section 42 of the Not-For-Profit Corporation Law, State of New York. The WEL Foundation is a New York State approved 501(c)(3) Not-For-Profit Corporation. The Foundation was established to promote, further, and support selected charitable activities through grants, funding, and financial assistance to various individuals, institutions, and organizations.