Menlo Park resident Charles Schmuck named AARP Purpose Prize fellow

by Linda Hubbard on August 9, 2022

Menlo Park resident Charles Schmuck — and Peninsula College Fund founder — is one of ten 2023 Purpose Prize fellows announced by AARP, all nonprofit founders who will receive $10,000 for their organization .

Launched in 2005, the national Purpose Prize award honors extraordinary people ages 50 and over who tap into the power of life experiences to build a better future for society.

Purpose Prize recipients have proven they are using their life’s knowledge and experiences to make a meaningful impact in people’s lives by, tackling some of the greatest societal challenges and also by helping to build a better future for us all.

“Winning the AARP Purpose Prize is a great honor and recognition of what PCF has been able to accomplish over the last 18 years,” said Charles. “With over 500 college scholarships awarded with an 87% graduation rate (four times the national average) our success can only be attributed to a great staff, hundreds of mentors and volunteers, and yes, most importantly, hard working dedicated first generation scholars who do the hard work!

“My hope is that this national recognition will encourage others around California and the country to reach out on how to start PCF type programs in their communities — and I am here to help!”

Photo by Robb Most (c) 2022


Scott Lohmann August 09, 2022 at 7:23 pm

Congratulations Charles and PCF, what an absolute success!

Eric Hartwig August 10, 2022 at 11:03 am

Charles is a wonder…what he started at his kitchen table is now serving hundreds of very talented and hard-working college students, not only with financial aid but also mentoring and workshops in college and career success.

Karen Canty August 10, 2022 at 8:20 pm

Congratulations Charles! The scholars, most of all, know why you deserve this honor. And so do those of us who have gone along for the ride.

Lydia Kearney August 10, 2022 at 11:18 pm

Charles is an inspiration and a testament to how much good can be done by everyday community members working to serve those around them. Meanwhile, PCF scholars are the greatest inspiration in this story – bravo to the first generation students who are working hard and achieving their dreams!

Michael Pope August 14, 2022 at 3:07 pm

Congratulations Charles! You are such an inspiration to students, staff and volunteers. It is amazing what you have built, successfully guiding and empowering so many 1st generation students through college. It is a privilege to be a part of PCF!

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