2016 Legacy Award Honoree: Karen Schneider

Karen Schneider, a native of St. Charles County, Missouri, is the founder of Foundations Of Love, Inc.

“Home” is not just a structure or building, it’s an atmosphere of belonging, warmth and support. The vision of Foundations Of Love has deep roots — back to Karen’s childhood in the 1960’s when her father quietly advocated for a local man with disabilities. “Uncle Louie,” as she called him, was helped by Karen’s dad and several other men in the community. Together, they provided Uncle Louie a small house trailer to call “home” and he was regularly included in the Schneider family gatherings to celebrate Easter, Christmas and other holidays.

Years later, in 2004, Karen became a friend and personal advocate for a woman with developmental disabilities through her church. It was through this friendship that Karen began researching the feasibility of establishing an organization that would allow people with developmental disabilities the same opportunity provided to Uncle Louie, a place to call home.

With Karen’s passion for the vision and a team of dedicated friends from her church, the effort to learn about starting a non-profit and identifying the needs in the community began. The organization received its 501©3 status in January 2009. The organization’s mission is to enhance the lives and living environments of low-income adults with developmental disabilities in St. Charles County by owning houses that provide an all-inclusive, low-rent home to individuals of local service providers, such as Community Living.

Early in the group’s effort, Karen met Barb Griffith, President and CEO of Community Living, and with Barb’s mentoring, encouragement and friendship, Foundations Of Love purchased its first house in 2014 that serves as “home” today to three men who are clients of Community Living and Willows Way. Barb and several other community leaders continue to serve as mentors to the board.

In December 2011, the board of Foundations Of Love launched its Wishing Well program which works towards achieving its short-term mission to enhance the lives of low-income adults by filling wishes for things that cannot be provided through their regular funding vehicles. Partnering with local business supporters, more than 240 wishes have been filled since December 31, 2015.

Karen has more than 35 years of experience in the financial services industry. She is the owner and senior financial advisor of Schneider Asset Management Group in St. Peters. The focus of her business is working with individuals and business owners to establish realistic financial and retirement plans and then execute on those plans in a cost-efficient, tax-efficient manner.

In addition to her expertise in financial advising and investing, Karen holds a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Human Resource Management and Organizational Development. Some of her other career and personal accomplishments include certification in public speaking through Toastmasters International, training and completing several full marathons, and developing and teaching client management classes for more than 6,000 advisors at her previous employer.

Karen’s community service activities have included serving as a board member for several local organizations – Sts. Joachim & Ann Care Services; St. Charles Chamber of Commerce and Toastmasters International – Cave Springs.

Currently, she serves as the chairman for Foundations Of Love, is a member of the Greater St Charles Chamber of Commerce and is a lifetime member of VFW Auxiliary Post 5077.