Teaming up for philanthropy

A third-generation Husky, Michael Kneip is living his childhood dream to be a Husky football player, while working hard to establish a legacy of giving.

Be a world of good

Michael Kneip first donned football pads in second grade as a member of the Bellevue Junior Wolverines. As a teenager, he was an offensive lineman on four state championship teams at Bellevue High School. The son of an All-American UW track star and grandson of a UW football player, he has Husky athletics in his DNA, so once he made the Husky football team, one of his greatest dreams seemed to have come true. But one big question remained: How would he be able to make attending the UW happen financially?

Helping turn his childhood dream into a reality was the Chase Anderson Endowed Scholarship, which went toward tuition and additional educational expenses that exceeded his financial aid package — and inspired him to continue helping others. “This is where I dreamed of playing as a kid, but if I want to play football, I don’t have any time to work,” he says. “This scholarship opened up an amazing door for me.”

Now a senior majoring in communication and an offensive lineman on the football team, Kneip is committed to leaving behind a legacy of his own — on the football field and in the community. During the school year, his days are long. Grueling football workouts typically run from 7 to 11 a.m. Then, it’s on to the day’s classes, tutoring and, finally, meetings or film study. But despite this ever-packed schedule, Kneip still finds time to fuel his other passion: philanthropy.

It started in 2008. The recession hit Kneip’s parents, a handyman and a real estate agent, especially hard. But as their financial difficulties compounded, the Kneip family banded together to help others. “Even though we didn’t have much money,” he says, “we knew we could definitely help people in situations like ours.”

In addition to starting a Thanksgiving food drive, Kneip’s mother began making and delivering sandwiches to the Union Gospel Mission in downtown Seattle. Soon, Kneip became involved, learning lessons that shaped the person he is today. “Giving puts life in perspective for you,” he says. “Every time I volunteered, I’d meet someone different. You can’t generalize people based on their financial background. It’s more about the person and the spirit behind them.”

Today, along with a rotating cast of his friends and fellow athletes, Kneip makes over a hundred sandwiches every week for the Union Gospel Mission. “Everyone loves doing it. There are never enough donations there, so we challenge ourselves to make more and more,” he says.

Kneip has also broadened his philanthropic scope, especially through his ties to the UW football team. Some of his favorite memories involve visiting local elementary schools and Seattle Children’s Hospital with his teammates, and he’s recently co-founded the UW branch of Uplifting Athletes, a national nonprofit that raises money for rare diseases. This season, through fundraising events like touchdown drives, Kneip looks forward to rallying his teammates to raise money for pediatric multiple sclerosis.

“There are so many people who watch Husky football, and we’re using it as a platform,” he says. “To be part of the program here and to have the opportunity to help others by playing the sport we love is really special to us.”

Kneip has two seasons left with the Huskies, and he’s hard at work making sure he finishes strong. But sometimes, he points out, it’s not necessarily about finishing something by yourself — it’s about laying the groundwork and leaving behind a legacy that will give others the tools, and inspiration, to carry on.

Chase Anderson

Chase Anderson

Chase Anderson Endowed Scholarship

The Chase Anderson Endowed Scholarship honors the life of UW student and Bellevue High School graduate Chase Anderson, who died suddenly in 2008. In response to this unexpected tragedy, family and friends of Anderson came together in a touching show of support, donating generously and establishing a fund that honors his name.

Part of the UW’s Husky Promise, the Chase Anderson Endowed Scholarship provides funding beyond what is covered by state and federal funds, closing the financial gap for students of great need.

Michael Kneip is grateful for the scholarship because it makes living his childhood dream a reality. But for him, it’s a little more personal. His older sisters were friends with Anderson, and Kneip always held him in high esteem as an inspiring role model.

“Chase had this awesome spirit about him,” says Kneip. “I always looked up to him as a kid, and I always wanted to carry myself like him when I was older.”

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