May and Stanley Smith Charitable Trust: Southwest Grants

OVERVIEW: The May and Stanley Smith Charitable Trust supports the “dignity, agency, and self-sufficiency” of foster youth, the elderly, veterans and people with disabilities.

IP TAKE: The May and Stanley Smith Charitable Trust is focused on the Western U.S., including substantial support spanning the Southwest region. But within this geography, this funder is focused on specific populations in need. This funder also looks for proven entities—programs that are well-established and already financially supported by others.

PROFILE: The May and Stanley Smith Charitable Trust was established in 1989 to carry on the giving legacy of May and Stanley Smith, who made their fortune primarily in the world of iron ore mining in Malaysia. The mission of the trust is to support “organizations that offer opportunities to children and youth; adults and families; elders; and people with disabilities that enrich the quality of life, promote self-sufficiency, and assist individuals in achieving their highest potential.”

The trust’s support flows through four focus areas: Foster Youth, Elders, Veterans andPeople with Disabilities. This means that your program must address the needs of at least one of these specific populations.

The other specificity is geography, which is probably good news if you're reading this. The May and Stanley Smith Charitable Trust explicitly directs its giving to the Western U.S., though its definition of the West is broad, defining it as Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Washington and Wyoming. The trust also gives to British Columbia, Canada.

The May and Stanley Smith Charitable Trust provides a rigorous assessment of the needs of all of the populations it supports, and therefore the trust’s goals in each area—as well as discussions of what a successful program would therefore look like. Be sure to read these rubrics comprehensively before attacking the trust’s application.

And attack it you must, because while it begins with an LOI open to all, it is a rigorous one, requiring specific outcomes past and future, as well as comprehensive financial reporting. The trust explicitly states that start-ups, emerging organizations, and new programs are not eligible for its support, and this makes perfect sense once you delve into the LOI—there is no way a new organization or program therein could discuss financials and recent outcomes with the rigor this funder requires. If you have been around long enough, still be aware that the trust ideally looks for organizations with yearly operating budgets of at least $250,000 and those with less than 70% of costs supported by government funding. (The application provides a notably thoughtful section in which to discuss your organization’s relationship with government funding, and why private support is important to your program/organization.)

The good news if you check these boxes: the May and Stanley Smith Charitable Trust makes healthy-sized grants, typically ranging from $30,000 - $100,000 per year, and will give multi-year gifts for both program and general operating costs.

Past Southwest grantees working with Foster Youth include Friends of Wednesday’s Child (Dallas, TX) “to transform the lives of children in foster care through education” with $200,000 over two years. It also granted $75,000 to New Mexico Child Advocacy Networks (Albuquerque, NM) "to support local CASA programs and provide services to youth transitioning out of foster care." In total for 2015, across all states, the trust distributed $4,434,000 to 40 different organizations working with foster youth.

Past Southwest grantees working with the Elderly include Family Eldercare Inc, (Austin, TX) "to help elders age-in-place through coordination of and linkages to needed services" with $100,000 over two years. It also granted $50,000 to Duet Partners In Health & Aging (Phoenix, AZ) "to provide volunteer-assisted transportation and support to homebound elders." In total for 2015, the trust distributed $3,555,000 to 41 different organizations working with the elderly.

Past Southwest grantees working with Veterans include Operation Homefront (San Antonio, TX) "to provide stable transitional housing and support for wounded, ill, and injured veterans and their families" with $100,000. It also provided $50,000 to Assistance Dogs of the West (Santa Fe, NM) "to support the service dog training program for Veteran Treatment Court participants." In total across all states in a recent year, the May and Stanley Smith Charitable Trust distributed $3,635,000 to 34 programs in this sector.

In the trust’s People with Disabilities focus area, recent Southwest grantees include the Houston Community College Foundation (Houston, TX) "to support independent living and workplace opportunities for college students with intellecutal and developmental disabilities" with $100,000 over two years. The trust also granted $200,000 over two years to the Southwest Autism Research and Resource Center "to provide vocational and life skills training and support for transitioning young adults and adults with autism spectrum disorder." Overall in 2015 the trust gave $5,075,000 in this focus area to 40 organizations.

The May and Stanley Smith’s Charitable Trust’s LOI is rolling; if you’re ready for its rigor, you can apply at any time.


  • Search for staff contact info and bios in PeopleFinder (paid subscribers only.)