Roseville, Calif. – For Irmgard (“Else”) Schichtel a childhood in Nazi Germany set in motion a circuitous path towards a permanent fund at Placer Community Foundation that is today, helping struggling kids like Julian discover a talent and pathway to a bright future.
Known by her neighbors to be private, unassuming and at times tenacious in her views, Else lived a quiet life in Sun City Lincoln Hills after her husband Walter’s passing in 2003. She had no children and relied on the assistance of neighbors for transportation and various needs. It was through these people she spoke sparingly of her difficult childhood.
As a young girl, Else defied and resisted joining the Nazi Youth Group. This led to her being removed from her home and placed in a labor camp. Hearing loss for the remainder of her life resulted from a strike to the head from a guard’s rifle. She chose not share more of these years and with no family left behind we are left to construct how such a childhood shaped her life and her philanthropy.
Else moved to the United States as a young woman. It was later she met and married Walter Schichtel, a World War II Veteran. She and Walter lived in Northern California; settling down in Rocklin and later Lincoln where she spent the last years of her life. Those who knew Else say she knew the history of America better than anyone and was eager to educate people. She cared deeply for our country throughout her adult life.
Else established a trust and as she fell ill, worked with her attorney Guy Gibson of Gibson & Gibson Law to leave a gift to charity.
“Else wanted her gift to support disadvantaged youth but was unaware of the nonprofits best equipped to take on this work,” states Guy. It made sense to have the estate liquidated and prudently managed by Placer Community Foundation so they could direct the funds thoughtfully.”
Else left the bulk of her estate, including her home, to Placer Community Foundation to establish the endowed Walter and Irmgard Schichtel Fund. This fund is managed by the Foundation in perpetuity with grants made annually to organizations providing high-impact programs that are flexible to the changing needs of disadvantaged youth; grants like the one made recently to the nonprofit ReCreate.
Placer Community Foundation recently granted $5,000 from the Walter and Irmgard Schichtel Fund to ReCreate in support of its new MakerMobile, an innovative instructional model for sparking student interest in Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math (STEAM). The mobile provides students with open-ended projects and encourages them to further explore these disciplines. Over the course of a school year, 16,000 local middle school students will develop skills for the workforce including innovation, problem solving, and creativity.
Warren T. Eich Middle School’s Principal Marc Buljan believes strongly in the importance of STEAM education. He shares, “ReCreate’s programs develop critical thinkers and bring out a new side to our students. As a result of participating, students are emerging as leaders and we have seen a drop in disciplinary issues.”
One of these students is Julian, a 7th grader, who comes from a low income background and has always struggled with schoolwork. After participating in ReCreate’s after school program, Julian’s mother Lolita says she saw a total change in her son, and his teachers noted the shift as well. She states, “ReCreate offers students the opportunity to use their imaginations and be creative and best of all, they can’t be wrong. We learned that Julian has a gift for this type of learning, and he has become much more engaged in school.”
Placer Community Foundation is honored to carry out Else’s wishes and will forever share her and Walter’s legacy in connection with meaningful grants and the young lives they touch.