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Pioneer in Profession and Practice: Wilbur Smith

Wilbur Smith had an esteemed education and business career in the Midlands. He graduated from Columbia High School and received his undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of South Carolina.

Wilbur Smith had an esteemed education and business career in the Midlands. He graduated from Columbia High School and received his undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of South Carolina. While his business required travel all over the world – every continent except Antarctica – his mind was never far from home. Neither was his personal time or dedication.

Back in 1984 when the Community Foundation was established, Wilbur was one of the first community leaders to understand the value of such an organization. He was “sure that the Foundation [was] going to be a very worthwhile addition to our needs in the Midlands.”

Recognizing even then that the Midlands is constantly evolving and changing, Wilbur actively participated in the growth and promotion of this community. And he wanted his own personal legacy to be part of an organization whose effectiveness and impact would grow each year, while distributing grants to organizations offering solutions to current community issues.

Honed by his work in the field of transportation, Wilbur had vision beyond his own life. He understood that his influence, his decision and his choices, in business and in his personal life, would affect the community forever. His positive influence would continue to benefit the community after his death. By establishing an unrestricted fund here at the Community Foundation, Wilbur created a resource to provide financial support to whichever program best addressed community need and local development, throughout his lifetime, today and in the future.

Unrestricted funds are used to make charitable donations that support a broad range of needs, while supporting only those organizations that conduct the most effective and timely programs. Income is distributed after a competitive review process. Benefits:

  • Provides a flexible source of income for community distribution
  • Funds are invested in nonprofits that have innovative programs and initiate effective change and progress within the community
  • Organizations are extremely accountable of the use of their grants and of project goals because funding is competitive
  • Donors are assured that, critical future community needs will be funded and supported

And Wilbur’s vision has proven true. The Sarah and Wilbur Smith Unrestricted Fund, more than twenty years after Wilbur’s death, provides support and resources to the community that gained so much from his involvement for so many years. And it will continue to do so forever – in Sarah and Wilbur’s name. If you have questions or would like to learn more, feel free to drop me a line at [email protected] or 803.254.5601 x331.