KENNESAW, Ga. | Sep 14, 2020
From the moment they first heard about Kennesaw State University’s Campus Awareness, Resource and Empowerment (CARE) Services, Andre Schnabl and Denny Marcus knew they found an avenue through which they could make an impact.
Several years later, the husband and wife duo have collected carloads of items for the University’s food pantry, lent their expertise through the CARE Services Advisory Board and have established an endowed scholarship for students associated with the CARE Center, which offers support to those who have experienced homelessness, food insecurity or the foster care system. Their recent confirmation of a deferred pledge raises the couple’s total giving to surpass $300,000, which will support students for innumerable generations to come.
“I truly feel that CARE would not be where it is today if it weren’t for the energy and support of Denny and Andre,” said Marcy Stidum, director of CARE Services. “They came as donors who wanted to give in an intentional way but they have grown to become so much more. They have a passion for serving our students, and we are thrilled to have their support.”
A KSU trustee since 2009, Schnabl said he has long felt a connection to Kennesaw State. While managing an accounting firm in the Atlanta area, he oversaw the recruitment of potential employees at local universities and often found the most qualified candidates at KSU. By the time he retired, he estimates his firm employed more than 20 KSU alumni.
“The KSU students had passion, and they had grit,” he recalled. “Because of our success in recruiting them, I found myself on campus more than I had planned.”
It was during one of those campus visits that Schnabl and Marcus were introduced to Stidum via the Office of Development. Prior to the meeting, the pair said they weren’t aware of the extent of student homelessness nationwide. Struck by their conversation with University officials, Schnabl suggested that they launch a scholarship in support of students in need. Marcus sought to do more, first by arranging a food drive and later by helping CARE Services fine tune its mission statement and strategic plan. She would go on to help found the program’s advisory board, which she has chaired since 2017.
“We’ve always said that we would love to give where we could make the biggest difference, and this was the perfect opportunity,” Marcus said. “When I left that meeting, the first thing I did was contact Marcy to let her know I wanted to be involved, and we haven’t looked back since.”
Over the years, the couple has celebrated the successes of CARE Services, which has earned national recognition as a best-practice model by National Center for Homeless Education, SchoolHouse Connection and the National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth (NAEHCY). It has grown to support two walk-in pantries across the Kennesaw and Marietta campuses, and in August opened the ASCEND living learning community, which benefits students who were homeless or in foster care during their K-12 education.
By supporting CARE through their scholarship endowment, Schnabl said his connection to KSU students has never been stronger.
“One of the wonderful things about a scholarship is you can put a face to the recipient and get emotionally connected,” he said. “You get a real sense of what your dollars are doing and the impact it has on a student’s life.”
– Travis Highfield
A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its more than 43,000 students. Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia with 11 academic colleges. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the country and the world. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 7 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit kennesaw.edu.