Sandy Schonwald began crafting leather wristbands in a St. Louis garage in 1969. Two years later he began focusing on the manufacturing of belts.
He eventually grew his business and product offerings into Aquarius Ltd., one of the country’s largest accessories manufacturers, selling to almost every major retailer in the United States as well as specialty stores.
As Sandy began looking toward retirement, he sold Aquarius in 2019 but had a two-year employment agreement that ended earlier this year. The timing was perfect because it gave him time to turn his attention to a new opportunity: the board of The Foundation for Barnes-Jewish Hospital.
“I thought it would be good for me to get involved in more charitable enterprises,” Sandy says. “I’m learning more about medical issues and the work that BJC contributes to our community and hope that I can be helpful.”
Like many others who are from time to time patients of doctors at Barnes-Jewish Hospital, Sandy is grateful for the excellent care he has received.
“I’ve been well taken care of and that’s certainly been appreciated,” he says.
Sandy, who is a member of the board’s philanthropy committee, says he’s looking forward to meeting in person with his fellow board members and learning more about the Foundation’s impact.
For example, he says prior to joining the board, he was unaware that the Foundation awards grants to community organizations. In fact, the Foundation granted $412,250 in 2020 to 14 organizations in St. Louis that further Barnes-Jewish Hospital’s mission to make our community a healthier and safer place for everyone to live.
“The community service the Foundation supports is certainly something to be admired,” he says.
Outside of the Foundation, Sandy supports other charitable and cultural institutions including The Little Bit Foundation, Jewish Federation of St. Louis, Saint Louis Art Museum and Opera Theatre of St. Louis. He also likes spending time with his two daughters and five grandchildren, who live in Florida.