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UW Madison Graduates Make $500,000 Gift to the Charles E. Kubly Foundation: Michael and Jeanne Schmitz

Michael ’56 and Jeanne ’55 Schmitz recently presented a gift of $500,000 to the Charles E. Kubly Foundation to establish The Joey Schmitz & Charlie Kubly Endowment Fund. The Endowment Fund honors the memories of two young men, the Schmitzes’ son, Joey, and Charlie Kubly, the son of their dear friends, Billie and the late Dr. Michael Kubly, both of whom took their lives through suicide.

The Charles E. Kubly Foundation (CEKF) is a 501c3 public foundation dedicated to increasing awareness of depression and eliminating the stigma associated with it, supporting suicide prevention, and promoting improved access to quality mental health services in the community. Since its founding in 2003, The CEKF has granted over $2.3 million to 273 community-based projects.

Michael Schmitz and Michael Kubly (UW Madison class of 1958) met during their undergraduate studies at the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Schmitz served as Kubly’s pledge brother at the Phi Gamma Delta Fraternity in the 1950s, starting a lifelong friendship. Little did the couples know that they would be also be united in the tragedy of losing sons to suicide.

In making this gift, Michael and Jeanne wrote in a letter to the to the CEKF Board of Directors, that, “In the years since your founding we have become very impressed with the work that your Foundation has done… becoming an organization that has distributed grants of more than $2 million is truly remarkable. In our opinion, The CEKF has achieved success and reached the stage of growth where the community should support an expansion of your program and provide for its long-term existence. The best means to accomplish this is to establish an endowment fund.”

The endowment gift was announced publicly at the September 21, 2018 Beyond the Blues event, CEKF’s largest annual fundraiser, to a crowd of over 500 guests. The CEKF Board intends to leverage this gift to raise $1 million for this new endowment fund by the next Beyond the Blues, September 20, 2019. Since notification of the gift, The CEKF Board has generated an additional $145,000 toward the $1 million goal, bringing the total raised to over $650,000.

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Leah Hunter ’05 has joined the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as associate commissioner for external affairs, where she oversees agency-wide communications activities regarding the FDA’s public health and regulatory activities.