Special/Signature Issues » Top 40 Under 40

Charlie Schmidt, 32

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Development Director
Richmond Public Library

Charlie Schmidt is a true jack-of-all-trades. He's development director of the Richmond Public Library, a board member of the Neighborhood Resource Center in Fulton Hill and a founder and board member of the Patrick Henry School Initiative. The Initiative is working to save the school from being closed and sold to developers, and to reintroduce it as the Patrick Henry School of Science and Arts.

Schmidt's also set a goal within the next year to raise $200,000 for the Richmond Public Library, help open a Healthy Foods Café at the Neighborhood Resource Center, and help start a community garden in Fonticello Park.

But his farthest-reaching project is his involvement with Awer Bul, a Darfur refugee and VCU art student. Bul travels to refugee camps near Sudan and encourages the children there to create as a way of dealing with the horrors of war. Schmidt, who is part of his Awer Art Charity, helped him raise money this past summer to fly back to the camps and host more workshops. They're planning a local showcase for this inspired art.

What ties it all together is Schmidt's realization that "great ideas are often stunted by the ability to go and ask for money effectively." He's helping change that.

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