Lincoln resident leaves lasting gift for disadvantaged youth through Placer Community Foundation

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                       For Irmgard (“Else”) Schichtel, a childhood in Nazi Germany set in motion a circuitous path toward a permanent fund at Placer Community Foundation.

That fund today helps struggling youth discover a talent and pathway to a bright future, according to Jessica Hubbard of the foundation.

Known by her neighbors to be private, unassuming and at times tenacious in her views, Schichtel lived a quiet life in Lincoln Hills after her husband, Walter, died in 2003. She had no children and relied on the assistance of neighbors for transportation and various needs.

Schichtel spoke sparingly of her difficult childhood to her neighbors.

As a young girl, Schichtel 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.

Moving to the United States as a young woman, she met and married Walter Schichtel, a World War II veteran. The couple lived in Northern California, settling in Rocklin and later Lincoln where she spent the last years of her life.

Schichtel established a trust and 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,” Gibson said. “It made sense to have the estate liquidated and prudently managed by Placer Community Foundation so they could direct the funds thoughtfully.”

Schichtel 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 flexible to the changing needs ofdisadvantaged youth.

Placer Community Foundation recently granted $5,000 from the Walter and Irmgard Schichtel Fund to the nonprofit ReCreate in support of its new MakerMobile, an innovative instructional model for sparking student interest in Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math (STEAM). 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.

One of the ReCreate students is Julian, a seventh-grader from a low- income background who has struggled with schoolwork. After participating in ReCreate’s after-school program, Julian’s mother, Lolita, said she saw a total change in her son and his teachers noted the shift as well.

“ReCreate offers students the opportunity to use their imaginations and be creative and best of all, they can’t be wrong,” Lolita said. “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, according to Hubbard.

To learn more about establishing charitable funds or the Placer Community Foundation, visit PLACERGIVES.ORG, contact Hubbard at or call (530) 885-4920.