Originally published in the Volume 26, Fall 2012 issue.
This year, the Community Foundation celebrated 15 years of grants supported by a bequest received from Raymond C. Smith. Since Mr. Smith’s death in 1995, a total of 129 grants valued at more than $4.4 million have supported a wide range of activities.
These grants total nearly as many dollars as were originally entrusted to the Community Foundation, while retaining a present market value of more than $5 million.
Smith’s long life provides a window into much of 20th century Detroit. His father’s family established the Peter Smith & Sons Grocery company in 1856 in the historic Central Market Shed, a commercial hub originally housed in Cadillac Square.
Smith attended the University of Michigan and served in both world wars. He was an administrative officer for the Detroit Trust Company and later served as president of the Conrad Smith Realty Co.
In 1954, Smith established a private foundation — a precursor to the fund at the Community Foundation — as a way to share his good fortune.
Friends remember him as a popular person who had a knack for making and keeping friends from all walks of life. Smith was an accomplished horticulturalist, a patron of the arts, and a charter member of the Detroit Economic Club. Smith worked closely with the Community Foundation before his death and since that time the Raymond C. Smith Fund at the Community Foundation has benefitted from the counsel of advisors Joan B. Warren, David L. Denn, and William C. Rands III in relationship to the fund.