To further his dad's philanthropic philosophy in the community, Tom Schmidt of Rossford makes charitable donations to organizations that help people help themselves.
When his father established the Edward H. Schmidt Family Donor Advised Fund at the Greater Toledo Community Foundation in 1994, Tom was helping his dad with his estate plans. "Dad's philosophy was to share what you have and he gave smaller amounts to several groups. I suggested he think about giving larger donations to specific organizations of his choice," explains Tom.
"The Greater Toledo Community Foundation played a part in making this happen. The Foundation does great due diligence and has a wonderful board made up of the kind of people who make good decisions that will continue in perpetuity."
Tom has advised the Fund since his father's death in 2005 and continues to help transform the community by following his dad's past giving practices, thereby furthering his dad's name in the community.
"Stewardship is done quietly. It's not done to tell everyone but to help people. Dad's giving pattern was to support organizations that help businesses and provide education," says Tom.
According to Tom's wife Connie, her father-in-law's generosity has deep roots. "For years when Ed and his wife lived on the farm in Bowling Green, they sent money to family members still living in Germany during World War II. This was when they really didn't have money to spare. Dad corresponded with the descendants of those families for years and the letters continually expressed deep gratitude for his support," she says.
Tom, who is president of the Ed Schmidt Auto Group of Perrysburg and Maumee, worked with his father for 27 years. "Dad was the marketing guy and I was the strategic guy," he smiles.
"I read in a philanthropy magazine that good philanthropy is run like a business. My business experiences definitely help me in my philanthropic giving. Recently we gave a matching gift to help fund the museum at Ft. Meigs (a War of 1812 battle field in Perrysburg). I really like that tactic because it teaches agencies about fundraising and how they can help themselves. It was fun to see that challenge succeed."
Tom even shares his dad's philanthropic goals with his employees. Instead of giving Tom a gift at Christmas, employees are encouraged to donate to a scholarship in his father's name at The University of Toledo. The scholarship is awarded to employees or their children. "This makes it more meaningful for the employees and carries on dad's tradition of helping others," he adds.
Tom has a great appreciation for the Foundation. "It is more responsive to donors needs than most philanthropic organizations and does a wonderful job of filtering valuable information to donors, which helps me make sound decisions for our community," he concludes.