The Energetic Sue Schwartzman

Sue Schwartzman was born and raised in the Bay Area, as was her husband. She has two children who chose different paths in life. One is a 31-year-old firefighter and paramedic. The other is a 29-year-old tech entrepreneur living in Australia.

Sue went to U.C. Davis as an undergraduate and got a master’s degree in Education from Stanford University.

For Sue, education meant doing well by doing good.

She chose a profession that didn’t previously exist as a philanthropy professional, specializing in family giving. She was led on this journey through a commitment to doing good.

Using her teaching skills, she created an international program called the “Seventh Grade Fund”.

This was a new philanthropy curriculum for 7th graders that included wrapping curricular standards for English class around a philanthropy project. The result raised students’ academics, community engagement and brought community attention and a sense of pride to their school, and most importantly, highlighted students’ motivation and authentic interest in helping others.

The way the program worked, a class acted as a Board, studied issues and non-profits working on those issues, presented the non-profits to the class board who then made decisions about where the money should go. The students donated their own money, did some family fundraising and along with philanthropists’ matching support – raised up to $70,000 annually to grant to the community          non- profits.

“When you give kids opportunities to do good in the

community, they don’t see obstacles, they see a runway. I help them figure out

what they care about, and what they can do to make a difference

and then watch them rise”, said Schwartman

She was hired by the Jewish Community Federation & Endowment Fund in San Francisco to establish a philanthropic program for teens and created the Jewish Teen Foundation program 17 years ago –now an international model for teen philanthropy. Teen participants learned strategic grant making, fundraising and leadership skills. It was a youth empowerment program and at its peak there were 100 Bay Area teens raising and giving away $200,000 a year.

Sue’s excitement about the power of collective giving is based on her experience working not only with youth but also with multi- generational families of wealth. She became trained in multi-generational family philanthropy and the philosophy of giving circles and supports families to raise well-grounded kids amidst wealth, using philanthropy as a tool.

When she moved from Fremont to Contra Costa County, she also took the time to research and get to know the major players in the non-profit landscape.

Once she was in her carpool headed to a tennis match with Heidi Timken and Claudia Polidori. When learning of Sue’s passion for collective giving, Heidi turned around and said – “You have to know about Impact100”.

Sue was inspired because Impact100 East Bay is a 100% volunteer-led effort. Upon becoming a member, Sue joined the grants team and found the rigor and process impressive. She was thrilled with the level of integrity of the grants process and the leadership of the organization.

She got her friend Lisa Hoedt to also join Impact100.

During the pandemic, Sue is counting her blessings and feels fortunate to have a thriving business, a nice home, healthy family – and what she calls “a world recalibration”.

She finds it humbling to see all the amazing work going on in this community. Non-profit professionals are stepping up, answering the call. She thinks of her role as someone who can help lift up those who are doing the real work in the trenches with those in need.

Now and in the future, Sue’s goal is to continue to communicate, connect and inspire families to think differently about money, philanthropy, and the philosophy of giving.

Learn more about Sue and download her e-book at