After graduating from Washington University in St. Louis last fall, North Hampton resident Cole Schmitz had more than four months before his job started in New York City, which he put to good use. “I ran different events off-campus in the St. Louis area with college students and collected donations to raise money for nonprofits,” he said.
Throughout the spring, they raised approximately $13,500 for various causes, one of which included The Chase Home in Portsmouth. Founded in 1877, The Chase Home in Portsmouth serves at-risk youth annually through prevention, early intervention, residential and community-based programs. Some youth are served in the community while others live at The Chase Home.
“I have been incredibly fortunate to have fantastic educational opportunities and guidance from my mentors throughout my life,” he said. “Many other people do not have the same possibilities, so nonprofits like The Chase Home exist to try and give kids a fighting chance.”
In addition to The Chase Home, other organizations for whom Schmitz helped to raise money included Lustgarten Foundation for Pancreatic Research, Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Great St. Louis Area, and Ronald McDonald House Charities.
“It’s crazy looking back on how much the community could do, given I only ran the events for three months,” he noted. “Someone in the grade below took over my position, so I know the legacy will continue to live on, and plenty of good will come from it.”
In looking to the future, Scmitz expressed enthusiasm for his job at Investment Bank Guggenheim Partners, which he said does “a great job encouraging company participation in nonprofits.” “Last summer during my internship there, our community service day focused on helping high schools in the NYC area write their college application letters,” he said. “I will continue to volunteer through the company, but I also plan on finding new opportunities in the NYC area.”
For Schmitz, his commitment to philanthropy reflects in part participation in team sports throughout his life, experiences that demonstrated how individuals who work together can achieve more success. “I believe working with nonprofits is similar to being a team player,” he said. “If everyone does their part, this world will continue innovating and becoming a more equal and happier place.”
His guiding charitable philosophy is “effective altruism.” “It is the philosophy that most people want to make a difference but acting upon it effectively can be more complicated than expected,” he said. “While I had the free time to give up, it was most effective for me to use it to raise money for my causes.”
Moving forward, he envisions financially giving back to these causes because he will not have as much free time. “I will, however, always try to donate my time when I can,” he said.