Meet Dara Schnee

As a working mom, Dara Schnee understands how difficult it can be some days to squeeze everything in.

There’s her full-time job as a development professional for Kennedy Krieger Institute, her children’s sporting events, after-hour emails.

Add to that mix, a sense of community responsibility, and one wonders how she manages it all.

“My philosophy is, if I can’t do it well, I say no,” says Dara. “And, no matter what, I always put my family first.”

Yet this dedicated woman, who is passionate about what she does, still manages to give back to her community. She’s served in a number of leadership positions, including the board of the Macks Center of Jewish Education, and is about to become co-chair, with Janet Livingston, of The Associated’s Disability Committee. The Committee is designed to better understand what programs are available for those with disabilities and investigate initiatives to fill gaps in services.

Coming from a philanthropic family that always prioritized giving back – her grandfather, father and mother all held leadership positions at The Associated -- Dara learned the importance of Jewish community at an early age. Some of her earliest memories were walking down Park Heights Avenue with thousands of other Baltimore Jews in support of Israel to participating in Super Sunday.

“I remember my earliest Super Sundays. I used to go and pick the cards and hand them in,” she says. “As I got older, I still recall my first phone call.”

When Dara graduated high school, she left her hometown to attend Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida where she received her B.A. She then received a Masters degree in Social Work from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.

She worked as a social worker at the Children’s Seashore House in Philadelphia, then the Daniel Freeman Memorial Hospital outside Los Angeles.

Yet family ties were strong, pulling her back to Baltimore and Dara returned with her husband, Dr. Charles Schnee, and their three children, Max, Lucas and Kate. And she picked up where she left off – engaged in the Jewish community.

She joined Dor Tikvah, a women’s leadership development program at The Associated. She started volunteering again. And she passed down the values she was taught growing up to her children.

To help them understand the importance of giving, Dara and her husband established philanthropic funds with The Associated for her children when they reached b’nai mitzvah age. Although she knows they are still figuring out their priorities, she believes that this will help them make decisions based on what’s important to them.

Having volunteered at Jewish organizations in several cities, Dara talks knowledgeably about how The Associated is well-run.

“The more you get involved, the more you see how the money is thoughtfully spent to address our community’s priorities,” she says. “And you realize how many lives you can help from just one gift.”

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