More than 60 years ago a handful of local leaders from Shelby County came together in the hopes of fostering philanthropy. From that idea, the Community Foundation of Shelby County was created to help individuals provide lasting gifts to make a difference in our community. Since then, numerous people have turned to the Community Foundation to support their favorite charitable causes and organizations.
Kent Smith came to Sidney in 1972 to teach seventh- and eighth-grade English at Bridgeview Middle School and soon grew to love his adopted city. He later transferred to Sidney High School and taught freshman English for the rest of his 30-year career.
“Since I am single and have no children of my own, I wanted to give back to the community which established my career,” Smith said.
Smith’s financial adviser suggested he contact the Community Foundation about a planned gift to create a scholarship and continued funding for his favorite causes.
Smith has been a longtime supporter of many local charities that are providing food, health care, and shelter in the community. He has also given to organizations that make a positive impact through art, music and history. Smith worked with the Community Foundation to create the Kent R. Smith Fund that will continue to fund those vital organizations forever.
In honor of his years as an educator, the Kent R. Smith Fund will also provide a scholarship for a Shelby County student who has completed one year of college and is pursuing a bachelor’s and/or master’s degree in the field of education.
Jessica Vaglienti, donor relations director for the Community Foundation, has seen firsthand the impact planned gifts can make in the lives of others. “Kent is an inspiration with his willingness to give back to the community he loves. The people and charities that will benefit from his generosity is astounding,” Vaglienti said.
Smith has a long history of volunteering and serving in various leadership positions for different organizations throughout Shelby County and credits his parents for his active involvement in his church and community throughout his life.
“Here in Sidney and Shelby County many organizations are helping those in need,” Smith said. “The spirit of volunteerism and philanthropy in many people has been a positive force in the community. My advice to others is to give back in ways large or small to the community which has provided a home and a living to you over the years.”
Smith’s parents’ example of giving back financially and in other ways inspired him to do the same if he had the means. He said he feels good knowing that the Community Foundation will use his funds wisely in spreading the most benefit to the most people.
“By creating a planned gift through the Community Foundation, Kent can leave a legacy that will last forever and benefit Shelby County residents for generations to come,” Vaglienti said.
The Community Foundation of Shelby County has been helping others since 1953 by managing many charitable funds created by local residents or organizations to support favorite causes and organizations. Contact the Community Foundation at 937-497-7800 or visit www.commfoun.com.