York County Community Foundation received a $1 million bequest from the Estate of John T. Smith, a local philanthropist and icon in the farming community. Mr. Smith, who died in July 2012, was an advocate for the agricultural community and a staunch supporter of student scholarships for agricultural studies. Mr. Smith’s bequest supports the Community Foundation’s Agriculture & Land Preservation Field of Interest Fund, the York County Agricultural Society (York Fair), as well as a number of other organizations.
“John’s enthusiasm and generosity have spurred giving from many other people who want to see agriculture, education, and land preservation efforts in York County sustained for many generations,” said Bryan Tate, Vice President of Philanthropy. “He and his late wife Paige had such a commitment to York’s agricultural future, and it’s such a wonderful legacy to remember them by.”
Mr. Smith honored his lifelong work in agriculture with the establishment of the John T. and Paige S. Smith Fund at the Community Foundation to benefit the York County 4-H Endowment, York County Agricultural Society, and the Farm and Natural Lands Trust. He earned his bachelor’s degree in Animal Science from Penn State University College of Agricultural Science and was with Penn State for 35 years. He was head of the Penn State Extension Office and was also a life member of the York County Agricultural Society and the National Agricultural County Agents Association.
“From the time that John became a board member of the York Fair in 1983, fostering agricultural education to the youth of the York community was his primary goal,” said Leon Butler, treasurer of the York County Agricultural Society. “We are so pleased that he thought of the York County Agricultural Society as a beneficiary of his generosity, which will allow us to continue striving to achieve that goal.”
Mr. Smith understood the importance of building endowment through the Community Foundation. In 2005, he said, “I know most of the farming community. With the help of the Community Foundation, I can start the fund now and enjoy seeing my gift at work to benefit the future of agriculture here in York County.”