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Leave a Legacy for Gino


Eugene (Gino) Schmitz, Sr. was so much more than just a father-in-law to me. He treated me like the daughter he never had. There is nothing that man wouldn't do for me. His kindness and generosity made a huge impact on my life, as it did with most everyone else on this earth that he came in contact with.

Gino made friends everywhere he went. And when you made friends with Gino, you automatically became family. As anyone in his extensive "family" network can attest to, he would stop at nothing to help out with whatever you had going on (whether you wanted him to or not!).  He literally wasn't happy unless he was helping someone. It gave him a sense of purpose.

Because of this drive to do good, he always wanted to help me with the projects that I was working on. He was a big supporter of the animal welfare and humanitarian work that I do.

He always talked about how he wanted to go on safari with me to learn about wildlife conservation and assist in community outreach projects through the Africa Foundation. Sadly, we never had the chance to make this happen.

Last year, I had the great honor of displaying some of my work in the Art on the Wild Side exhibit at the Phoenix Zoo/Arizona Center for Nature Conservation. This organization is close to my heart because of the extensive efforts that they make towards the conservation of endangered species in the wild, locally and globally. Gino took a great interest in the organization because of my involvement with them. He took the opportunity at the art opening to talk with the board members and learn about ways that he could help in their efforts. He never got the opportunity to follow through and help out. 

YOU can help him to fulfill his wishes with the two options below:


Donate to the Arizona Center for Wildlife Conservation in Gino's Name:


Photo Credit: Susan Schmitz

The Phoenix Zoo/Arizona Center for Nature Conservation relies primarily on gate admissions to operate. With their doors currently closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, they are struggling to find the funds to support their animals and staff. 


"As what would typically be our busiest time of the year, we find our Zoo trails empty and had to take drastic staffing measures based on the threat of severe financial implications. As one of the largest non-profit zoos in the country, we rely solely on support from gate admissions, donors, members and sponsors. The financial impact of the Zoo’s closure has been significant. Your support now means even more for our animals, operations and future."  ~ Phoenix Zoo

You can help to carry out Gino's wishes to support this organization by clicking the button below to make a tax deductible donation in his honor. 

Depending on the total amount of donations, a plaque in his name may be displayed at the zoo!

IMPORTANT: Be sure to enter "The Eugene Schmitz Sr. Memorial Fund" in the notes section at checkout and let us know that you made a contribution so we can personally thank you.


Donate to Africa Foundation's Rural Kenya COVID-19 Hunger Relief Program in Gino's Name:


Photo Credit: Jane Rix

During my last two visits to Kenya, I have had the pleasure of spending time with the Africa Foundation and getting to know the staff and children of Iltolish Primary School. My business partner in Adventure Artists International, April Howland, and I ran several fundraisers to assist in the development of different areas of the school. I have seen with my own eyes how much the work that Africa Foundation has done in this area to empower the members of the local community. 


The impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on this community is devastating:

"An already significant issue in Kenya, social distancing measure put into place in response to COVID-19, have brought about a number of changes that are worsening the likelihood of a household experiencing food insecurity:

• Children are not attending schools, where they would receive at least one daily hot meal, that they are now deprived of.

• Closure of cattle and food markets have reduced ability of rural farmers to trade and access food.

• Closure of hotels and Game Reserves have meant that many adults are no longer able to work and are not getting their usual income.

• Food prices are increasing as a result of the restrictions in movement of people and goods between districts.

Cumulatively, these effects are putting the poorest households, with the least cushioning, under immense and immediate pressure. And particularly in areas dependent on tourism, it is difficult to see when the pressure will be fully relieved and what the long-term lasting consequences may be. This uncertainty is extremely frightening and is layered on top of great fears around the spread of a potentially fatal virus." ~ Africa Foundation USA

Download the program PDF and read more about this fund by clicking here.

YOU can help to carry out Gino's wishes to support this community by clicking on the button below to make a a tax deductible donation in his honor. 

IMPORTANT: Be sure to enter "The Eugene Schmitz Sr. Memorial Fund" in the notes section at checkout and let us know that you made a contribution so we can personally thank you.