Meet Sharon Schneider

Sharon is the Director of Individually Directed Giving at the Walton Family Foundation. Sharon is also an instructor in entrepreneurship at The Starter League and a member of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s Technology Diversity Council. She was a founding advisor to Impact Engine, the Chicago-based accelerator for social enterprises.  

Before starting Moxie Jean in 2011, Sharon spent 12 years advising and working for private foundations, including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Pew Charitable Trusts, and dozens of small family foundations all over the United States, on issues ranging from strategic planning and outcome management to engaging your family in philanthropy. For four years she wrote the influential blog “The Philanthropic Family,” which provided inspiration and resources to integrate philanthropy into everyday life.

She now lives in Denver with her husband, a high school science teacher, and their three children, ages 12, 10 and 5.    


What makes you laugh? 

Myself more than anything. I really don’t like mean humor and I don’t laugh at people getting hurt - physically or emotionally. But I love to laugh at the ridiculousness of life - my life especially. 

What expression or saying do you love?  

"Philosophy is biography". It reminds me that everything people believe is a result of experiences they have had. I’m always curious about why people are the way they are. 

Who is your favorite character? 

Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Greatest show ever, really just a big metaphor for the demons and monsters of adolescence and high school. I loved that Buffy could be fashionable AND tough, snarky AND vulnerable, street-wise AND a loving sister and daughter. Her basic character trait was that she was a surprise - the little blonde chick walking alone down an alleyway. But instead of getting bitten, she stakes the vampire through the heart. I have always wanted to be like that. A surprise. More than you expect. A little dangerous. 

If you could fire anyone in the world, who would you fire? 

Whoever keeps greenlighting reality television shows. 

Favorite quote? 

“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.” -Thoreau. We painted it on the wall of my daughter’s nursery.   

What gets you through a rough day? 

Knowing that my kids will go to bed about 8:30 and then my husband and I can sit on the couch and have a beer and watch Orange is the New Black and play Frozen Free Fall and maybe he’ll make some popcorn.  Really, the important part in that equation is my husband, who is truly my life partner. I get very Zen about stressful stuff, and have a great ability to just keep moving forward through tough things without getting emotional. But he is the key to that Zen, and the popcorn is just the outward expression of the way he takes care of me, physically and emotionally.

Want more? Follow Sharon on twitter @SharonSchneider 

Photo Credit: Jamie Kelter Davis Photography