The community stewardship of three Loudouners was celebrated during a sold-out Loudoun Laurels Foundation gala at the Belmont County Club on Friday night.
Fred and Karen Schaufeld and Al Van Huyck joined the roster of 22 other community leader who have been inducted since 2008 as Loudoun Laurates in recognition of their service.
The Schaufelds met when they were students at Lehigh University and moved to Loudoun County as their business—NEW Corporation, now NEWAsurion—expanded in to larger offices in Sterling.
Fred Schaufeld founded the ground-breaking consumer product protection company based on his early experience working with warranties in the auto industry. In 2006, he founded private equity company that is now SWaN & Legend Venture Partners. He also is an ownership partner in the Washington Capitals, Nationals, Mystics and Wizards sports teams. Karen Schaufeld earned her law degree from George Washington University and worked in the fields of energy, environmental permitting and compliance, corporate and labor law. She is a leading advocate of expanding solar power in Virginia.
Their local contributions have been significant and lasting. After a family member suffering a heart attack had to be airlifted to a Fairfax Hospital for treatment, they contributed money to increase the capabilities at Inova Loudoun Hospital, establishing the Schaufeld Family Heart Center. After learning of a similar program at a conference, Karen Schaufeld linked senior citizens with low-income preschool students to teach school readiness skills founding All Ages Read Together—first at Sunrise in Leesburg and now at 14 locations in Loudoun and Fairfax counties. She also founded 100WomenStrong, an organization that pools contributions to invest strategically in organizations that support health, shelter, hunger and education. The group started with 12 women in 2008 and has since provided more than $1.5 million in community grants and welcomed a few men to the group.
She says the full impact of the effort has yet to be felt. “I think we’re just seeding the ground and maybe giving it some fertilizer and hoping that things proceed in a good manner. I don’t think we know. We’re just at the beginning in so many ways.”
While the couple may be viewed as relative newcomers when compared with the deep Loudoun roots enjoyed by other Loudoun Laurels honorees, they are building on their examples.
“I always wanted to be part of a community. You come down south and, you know, it takes a while. But being part of this community has been a really moving thing—from walking down the streets and knowing people to something like this [award],” Fred Schaufeld said. “We’re following in the footsteps of people we have read about in the newspapers over the years. We are honored, and I can tell you we get too much credit, but it is a real, real honor.”
Al Van Huyck worked for more than 40 years as a community planner addressing urban poverty around the globe. But since the early 1990s, he also has focused his efforts on ensuring Loudoun’s rapid growth protects the community that attracted him to purchase a historic farmhouse at the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains in the late 1960s. He campaigned in the election to fill the newly created chairman-at-large seat on the Board of Supervisors in 1991. A decade later he was chairman of the Planning Commission that revised Loudoun’s community development vision with a new comprehensive plan—one still in effect today. He also has been a leader in promoting the work of environmental protection and historic preservation organizations, co-founding the Loudoun County Preservation and Conservation Coalition. He was named the county’s Preservationist of the Year in 2013 and a Mosby Area Heritage Association Heritage Hero in 2016.
“I look down the list of people who have already won this award and it is such as distinguished list. But what was interesting and struck me is the diverse number of fields which have been represented. We have educators, journalists, business leaders, philanthropists, nonprofit leaders, public servants and preservationists,” he said. “As I read over this really diverse set of contributions they have made to Loudoun County , the one unifying theme that comes out is how much they all loved Loudoun County and how much they felt the special place where we are privileged to live.”
For the past two years, Van Huyck served on the community stakeholders committee that drafted a new county comprehensive plan and he encouraged the audience to get involved with that project as it moves through review by the Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors.
“We have the opportunity here to address our next 20 years,” he said. “It is time for all our voices to be part of this debate.”
Even after the new plan’s adoption sometime next year, Van Huyck told the audience members that their work would continue.
“We bought our historic 1916 house in 1969 and the late John Lewis said to me, ‘Al, you are the steward of this historic property and it is your obligation to pass it on to the next generation intact. And it occurs to me tonight that we are the stewards of this great county and it is our obligation to pass it on to the next generation intact. ”
In addition to honoring community stewards, the Loudoun Laurels Foundation provides scholarships to public high school seniors who have overcome obstacles to excel in their academic careers. These include students enrolled in the school system’s CAMPUS and AVID programs, which support prospective first-generation college students and others who might otherwise be unlikely to attend college. To date, the foundation’s Stewardship Trust has awarded 17 $40,000 scholarships, including four this year.
Learn more at about the Loudoun Laurels honorees and student scholars at loudounlaurels.org.