History

CommuniCare was started by Harold and Arlene Schnitzer in 1997 with the goal of encouraging students to become the future leaders of our communities. They believed a spark of compassion lies within each of us that, when nurtured, can transform into a lifelong passion for giving back. By inviting young people to the decision-making table, CommuniCare channels The Harold & Arlene Schnitzer CARE Foundation’s commitment to small, community giving while also democratizing a process that has been historically exclusionary.

Inspired by a youth grantmaking program in Colorado, Barb Hall, Executive Director of The CARE Foundation, sparked the idea for what would become CommuniCare. Harold and Arlene’s son, Jordan Schnitzer, has significantly expanded the program in the past five years to honor his parents’ legacy and will continue to grow the program until all young people who want to participate in the program have the opportunity to do so.

Over its 24-year history, students have granted over $2,558,000 to 377 nonprofit organizations and many additional school programs. Currently, 52 grantmaking groups from 30 different schools across Oregon participate in the program. Harold passed away in 2011 and Arlene joined him in 2020, but their spirit lives on in the hearts and minds of CommuniCare grantmakers.

The family’s belief in the power of young people, along with their dedication to building a strong and vibrant community, are infused into every aspect of the program. To learn more about CommuniCare and to see our grantmakers in action, please view past editions of the CommuniCare Annual Report: 2017-20182018-2019, and 2019-2020.

For more information about The Harold & Arlene Schnitzer CARE Foundation, please visit their website.

Harold & Arlene Schnitzer
Remembering Arlene Schnitzer
Jordan Schnitzer & daughter, Arielle Schnitzer