Mike Schonherr 
Land Conservation Professional and Stewardship Council Board Member

I worked closely with Steve during his tenure as Director of Youth Investment at the Stewardship Council and as Executive Director of the Foundation for Youth Investment. I would characterize Steve as the consummate youth engagement and non-profit professional. My interactions with Steve are always a fruitful exchange of ideas and information, driven by his vision about how to connect kids with the outdoor world in unique and meaningful ways, balanced with a deep knowledge about the realities of how to get things done in this underserved sector of the non-profit world. I have always found Steve to be forthright and honest, focused on doing what’s right even when it’s not necessarily the most popular path, and diligent in the pursuit of the overarching objective to help our kids grow and learn through interaction with the natural world around them. Steve is one of those rare people who comes to every situation with an eye toward seeing possibilities rather than obstacles. Very uplifting!

Carol Olson
Independent Consultant — philanthropy and non-profit strategies and Foundation for Youth Investment Board Member

As a colleague of his for the past seven years, I have worked with Steve in a variety of capacities and have not only appreciated but come to rely on his professionalism, leadership and creativity.

As founding members of the Environmental Education Funders Collaborative (EEFC), both Steve and I had the opportunity to create an impactful collaboration from the ground up. Steve’s vast knowledge and first-hand experience in the outdoor education field served as a critical input towards the development of this endeavor. He provided thoughtful and strategic input in the areas of funding, programming, and barriers in the field. His professionalism, coupled with his strong interpersonal and leadership skills, supported the group’s ability to build trust and respect, laying a foundation for action.

Steve frequently volunteered his time and leadership for the critical work of EEFC. He served as EEFC Co-Chair, took leadership roles on EEFC convenings, and championed new initiatives including the Transportation Fund, a cutting-edge solution to a systemic problem in the field. I have appreciated his spirit of collaboration and passion for working in a team to solve problems.

I consider Steve one of the most thoughtful and strategic professionals in the field of outdoor education. He is passionate about providing opportunities for underserved youth and he has dedicated his career to ensuring that efficient resources and effective plans are in place to better serve the diversity of needs and interests of the next generation.

Eric Sloan
Philanthropy Consultant

Steve brings together the best of the worlds of youth development and environmental education. He is a savvy, strategic thinker and supportive colleague.

Pat Bresee
Chair, Advisory Council at Ravenswood Family Health Center

Steve is an exceptional leader and innovator. He brings extensive knowledge of outdoor education, youth development, non-profit management and fundraising, and is an enthusiastic, highly intelligent and gracious supporter of the individuals and projects he serves.

Joel Wagner
Finance Director, Foundation for Youth Investment

Steve is an insightful and strategic grantmaker, and has made huge contributions to the field of environmental education. During our years together, I saw Steve use his expertise in running programs and his ability to bring people together to create innovative solutions to help reduce barriers to connecting underserved youth with the outdoors.

Matt Hansen
Board Member at Public Risk Management Association

Steve has a phenomenal skill set that crosses strategic, operational and practical disciplines (and some would say divides). He is not only a subject matter expert, but showed incredible resilience in creating programming that has been not only effective organizationally (in what some might call a bureaucracy) but effective in content delivery to the target audience of practitioners (teachers and administrators) and students alike. He was a valued colleague for his collaborative and reasoned style and remains a “go to” for me professionally. Steve’s tenure in Risk Management, where he brought new eyes to many administrative functions, was not only instructive but enlightening for those of us who had “been around the block”. I hope to have the opportunity to cross professional paths again.

Stacy Bare
Director, Mission Outdoors at Sierra Club

Steve is a passionate manager and promoter of youth in the outdoors. He has a no-nonsense approach to challenging issues in getting all, with an emphasis on youth, outdoors.

He is a networker, collaborator, and leader in the field. I always enjoy working with Steve and he has been fantastic at not only brainstorming, but helping to focus ideas and then turn those ideas into reality.


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