A. O. Smith Foundation honors long-time community partners at 60th anniversary event

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Milwaukee, Wisc.—The A. O. Smith Foundation celebrated its diamond anniversary this week by recognizing four community partners that have been associated with A. O. Smith for a combined total of 265 years.  

The Foundation event, which capped a year of special activities associated with the anniversary, was attended by the A. O. Smith Board of Directors and the company’s leadership team. The celebration was held at the Villa Terrace Decorative Arts Museum in Milwaukee. Villa Terrace was the long-time home of former Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Lloyd R. Smith.  

Bruce Smith, the chairman of the A. O. Smith Foundation, recognized each of the long-time partners. Each partner received a special, one-time donation, as well as a commemorative award.   

“As the Board prepared for today’s event, one of the big topics of discussion was what to do to commemorate the Foundation’s 60 years of community service,” Smith noted.  “We decided the most appropriate thing would be to recognize four of our longest-serving community partners. You’ll notice that, in each case, our partnership goes back to before the A. O. Smith Foundation was established. That is truly a remarkable case of longevity, and I think it speaks to the work that each of these partners does in making our community a better place to live.”   

The community partners are:  

  • The Milwaukee School of Engineering, one of the leading institutions of higher learning in the country. The Foundation’s relationship with MSOE goes back 62 years with funding for a number of labs on campus, as well as support for the school’s 75th and 100th anniversary celebrations.  Today, the Foundation helps fund scholarships to minority students attending MSOE. Accepting the award were Dr. Matt Panhans, the interim president of manufacturing, and Jonathan Kowalski, the interim vice president of development.  
  • The Milwaukee Public Museum, the largest museum in Wisconsin and one of the largest in the Midwest. This relationship extends back 65 years.  Over the last several years, the Foundation has been a supporter of the Museum’s Summer Urban Academy, a program designed to stimulate the interest of kids from 9 to 14 in science and technology. Accepting were President and Chief Executive Officer Dennis Kois and Suzanne Wilson Davis, the director of institutional giving.  
  • The third partner is Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, one of the best-known and widely respected children’s hospitals in the nation.  The Foundation has been partners with Children’s Hospital since 1947, most recently providing support for the expansion of their neo-natal intensive care unit. This unit and the men and women who staff it were the subject of a cover story in Time Magazine two years ago. Beth Dolan, development director for the Children’s Hospital Foundation, accepted.  
  • The Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee, the granddaddy of all Foundation relationships, going back 70 years. The Foundation has been a supporter of the Club’s Decade of Hope, targeting its donations to the Club’s early literacy program.  This innovative program has helped 550 children improve their reading skills.  President and Chief Executive Officer Vincent Lyles and Vice President-Development and Communications Sarah Smith Pancheri accepted.  

Foundation Anniversary Mayor BarrettDuring the celebration, Tom Barrett, the mayor of the City of Milwaukee, read a proclamation recognizing the A. O. Smith Foundation for its community service and proclaiming Oct. 13 as A. O. Smith Foundation Day throughout the city.  He also commented about the importance of A. O. Smith and the foundation.  

“One of the constants of A. O. Smith has been that it is a family business, with the Smith family taking an important leadership role in the enterprise.  The other constant is that it is a great corporate citizen.”