Board Member Highlight John Schnakenberg
by Giovanni Vittozzi
One of our distinguished board members of the Josephine Foundation is Mr. John Schnakenberg.
John was born and raised in Queens, NY and as a young man he joined the carpenter’s union and was an active member for over 55 years. He also worked 4 years as an apprentice carpenter, at the end of which he became a journeyman carpenter. From there he worked his way up the ladder and went from a shop steward to general foreman and then superintendent. John also held multiple officer positions within the union.
He was involved in many high profile construction projects during his years with the carpenter’s union, some examples are: The renovation of the original Yankee Stadium, The NYC Police Academy, Our Famed Nassau Coliseum, The Olympic Tower in NYC, and many JFK Airport Renovation projects.
John’s family includes a mother and father, sister, son, daughter, and wife, all of whom have passed on. He has a grandson, a granddaughter and two great grandsons that are all very special to him who he loves very very much. John’s mother, Dorothy Schnakenberg (Grandma) was a very special advocate of the arts and a dedicated supporter of the Josephine Foundation. She never missed a Josephine Foundation event, even up until her passing at 99 ½ years of age.
Upon his retirement from the union, John formed his and his wife’s construction companies. John and his wife, Barbara Principe, were big supporters of the Josephine Foundation from its inception in 2002 and John eventually became a board member. Barbara was recognized as a Chairman’s Honoree at the Josephine Foundation’s 2008 Follow Your Dreams Gala.
After the passing of his beloved wife, he formed Barbara’s Team of Hope, a nonprofit organization supporting many good causes including The Josephine Foundation’s mission. Their annual golf outing raises funds and awareness of many debilitating and life threatening diseases such as Cancer, Parkinson’s and Heart Disease. The Josephine Foundation also honored Barbara’s passing by naming an award for children in the arts after her. It is given to a child who shows excellence in the arts and conducts themselves as a pro both on and off the stage.
In addition to leading such a successful career in the construction industry, John has nothing short of a heart of gold. He never hesitates to support organized fundraiser events or anyone in need. His one line that always comes to mind is, “Anything to help the kids.”
John has become a strong advocate for the arts by spreading the message of the significant impact that sports and performing arts programs have on the lives of every participant, not just the students.
Most recently, John has retired from all of his companies and currently dedicates his time to both Barbara’s Team of Hope and The Josephine Foundation to further the betterment of the community. He greatly appreciates all the support everyone gives to these two organizations.