On the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, John Schroeder was at a meeting at Windows on the World, the famed restaurant located atop the World Trade Center in lower Manhattan. He was enjoying breakfast with former colleagues from the NYSE in the North Tower when hijacked American Airlines Flight 11 crashed into the building.
On that tragic day, a son, a big brother, an uncle and a friend was taken away too early.
John was 31 years old. He was an avid lacrosse player. (John helped Princeton University win its first national lacrosse championship in 1992.) Intelligent, funny, caring and, most of all, generous are the best words to describe John. His propensity to give was always evident and inspired his family to create a way to continue to give in his honor.
Shortly after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, John’s family established the John T. Schroeder Memorial Foundation in his honor. The vision of the Foundation, which awarded grants and scholarships mainly in the Long Island area – where the Schroeders were raised – was to be a source of hope, optimism and prosperity in local communities. Since it’s inception, the Foundation made over $335,000 in charitable donations and more than $110,000 in scholarships.
In 2014, a second fund – the JTS Memorial Fund – was established at Essex County Community Foundation to benefit organizations and projects in Essex County, where John’s younger brother, Matt, now lives with his family in Danvers.
“For me, it gave me something that could help us focus on the future,” said Matt Schroeder about honoring John’s memory through charitable giving.
Recently, the Schroeder family merged their Foundation – which was managed by Matt, his father and two sisters – with their donor advised fund at ECCF. This move has helped to ease the administrative burden of managing a private foundation.
Recent grants from the JTS Memorial Fund include:
• Danvers and Greater Beverly YMCA
• $25,000 for the creation of the JTS Memorial Computer Music Lab at Danvers High School
• $18,000 to support the completion of the Highlands Elementary School Walking Path, which was part of a matching campaign geared to get every family involved in the project.
• $5,000 to support a “Healthy Living in Danvers” mural at Riverside School, an art project that combined the talents of a professional muralist and students, and was permanently installed at the entrance to the school. The project was made possible through a partnership with community group DanversCARES.
“I would love to do that with other schools and local groups” said Matt. “Ideally we can form more partnerships that can make a bigger impact.”
“My goal with the grants we support is to put smiles on peoples’ faces who need it the most. I think that is the best way to honor John,” said Matt.