OVERVIEW: The John H. & Cynthia Lee Smet Foundation was established in 1992 by Southland couple John and Cynthia Smet. The foundation's grantmaking now largely focuses on education, with the aim to give the "gift of an excellent education to as many young Angelenos as they can."
FUNDING AREAS: Education, Arts & Culture, Human Services, Environment
IP TAKE: Those working outside the Los Angeles education space will find Smet a tough nut to crack. Moreover, the foundation does not accept unsolicited proposals, and tends to support select organizations over a sustained period of time.
PROFILE: John H. Smet received a bachelor's degree in economics and an MBA in finance from University of Wisconsin Madison. He started working for Capital Group years ago and is currently a fixed-income portfolio manager out of the firm's Los Angeles office. Smet and his wife Cynthia live in the Los Angeles area, where they focus on education. As an Idealist page for the John H. & Cynthia Lee Smet foundation states, the Smets, "recognize and appreciate the many ways that education shaped their lives at work, at home, and in the community. With that in mind, they aim to give the gift of an excellent education to as many young Angelenos as they can."
This is a funder that directs the bulk of grantmaking to educational institutions and initiatives, with a strong eye towards Los Angeles. In the most recent tax year available, the foundation spent around $2.3 million. Around $1 million went towards Onward Readers, which works to ensure students read at their grade level or above.
The foundation has worked closely with the Catholic Education Foundation of the Los Angeles Archdiocese (CEF), and St. Pius X-St. Matthias Academy. Smet serves as a vice president of the board of trustees of CEF. The Foundation supports the tuition assistance program of the CEF which provides scholarships to children in K-12 Archdiocesan schools. The foundation also supports the Onward Scholars Program at St. Pius X – Matthias Academy, which provides merit-based scholarships, as well as other support.
The John H. and Cynthia Lee Smet Foundation has also supported a number of other educational initiatives and organizations in the Los Angeles area, including Camino Nuevo Charter Academy, the UCLA Foundation, and Vistamar School in El Segundo. Away from the education space, the Smet foundation has also supported Los Angeles outfits California Science Center, Homeboy Industries, and California Science Center.
The Foundation does not consider unsolicited proposals, but below is an address
The John H. & Cynthia Lee Smet Foundation
2810 Tennyson Pl.
Hermosa Beach, CA 90254