Posted by: Kallie Sulanke on Jul/7/2017

ESTABLISHING A FAMILY LEGACY OF CHARITY

Muncie native John Smith has always been a family man. The proud father of nine now-grown children, he recalls many very busy years when he and his wife, Jeanne, were raising their kids, and he was running the family business, Mid-West Metal Products. However, as things began to slow down, he says he began to think about ways he could serve a much larger community.

Muncie native John Smith has always been a family man. The proud father of nine now-grown children, he recalls many very busy years when he and his wife, Jeanne, were raising their kids, and he was running the family business, Mid-West Metal Products. However, as things began to slow down, he says he began to think about ways he could serve a much larger community.

I got to the point that I was nearing retirement, and everything had been going just great for us. Our children were raised and educated, and my wife and I wanted to give back to the community and to other things.

To that end, they established the Jeanne and John Smith Fund in 2006, designated specifically to assist low-income families acquire basic human needs of food and shelter. He chose to work with The Community Foundation because he trusted its positive impact based on solid research and good will. He and his wife later established a second, unrestricted fund through the Foundation, which received the benefit of a 100 percent match from the Lilly Endowment.

Little did Smith know that his act of generosity would inspire his children to follow in his footsteps. His son, Steve Smith, is the current CEO of Mid-West Metal Products and has established three separate funds with the Foundation. He and his wife, Barbara, created an endowment for First Choice for Women, a pregnancy crisis organization, and also a donor-advised fund that benefits a local charity each year. Steve then established the Mid-West Metal Products Fund, an unrestricted fund he created through the family business, which was also matched by Lilly.

“My parents instilled in us that God has blessed us,” Steve says. “Those blessings are not solely for our benefit but to be shared with others. My parents started their endowments and we followed their example.”

Steve served on The Community Foundation Board from 2008-2014, acting as chair of the Grants Committee for two years and Board Chair for two years. That experience gave him a firsthand look at how effectively and efficiently the Foundation operates. “The Community Foundation is a tremendous asset to the community,” he says. “The endowments are never-ending and produce a steady stream of income to organizations and people to support the arts, the community, and basic human needs.”

In addition to Steve’s family, Smith’s daughter, Carol Ross and her family also worked with the Community Foundation to establish the Ross Family Autism Scholarship Fund in 2011, designed to provide financial aid to students with autism. As the parents of two sons on the autism spectrum, Ross and her husband were disheartened when their oldest son began applying for college and found that there was only one scholarship nationwide for autistic students. They decided that they could do something to help.

As always, Smith is proud of his children and their generosity. He says simply that he’s glad his children have the resources and the heart to continue to serve others, and he’s confident that their investment will be maximized through the good work of The Community Foundation.

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