John and Cynthia Smet

NET WORTH: Unknown  


FUNDING AREAS: Education (Catholic) & Youth, Arts & Culture, Environment & Animals, Human Services 

OVERVIEW: John Smet and his wife Cynthia move their philanthropy through the John H. & Cynthia Lee Smet Foundation. For a time, the foundation's grantmaking focused on a range of causes, but now primarily focuses on education, with a particular eye towards Los Angeles. The foundation does not accept unsolicited proposals, preferring to initiate projects at a small number of organizations over a sustained period of time. 

BACKGROUND: John H. Smet received a bachelor's degree in economics and an MBA in finance from the University of Wisconsin Madison. He worked as a fixed-income investment analyst at Capital Group, and now is a is a fixed-income portfolio manager at Capital Group. 


EDUCATION & YOUTH: John and Cynthia Smet established their foundation in 1992. The foundation more recently has strongly focused on education, with the aim of helping young Angelenos get a good education. 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. 

In the fall of 2013, in cooperation with the Superintendent of Catholic Elementary Schools in Los Angeles, the foundation also began funding a literacy initiative for pre-K through third-grade students in select Catholic elementary schools. 

The John H. and Cynthia Lee Smet Foundation supports a number of other educational initiatives and organizations in the Los Angeles area, including Camino Nuevo Charter Academy and Vistamar School in El Segundo. Other grantees have included Teach for America, Saint Sebastian Sports Project, UC San Diego, The UCLA Foundation, Princeton University, Posse Foundation, and iMentor. While some of these outfits are in Southern California, not all of them are. 

ARTS & CULTURE: Grantees have included The Met, Natural History Museum, and California Science Center. 

OTHER: The Smets, via their foundation, have also directed funds to organizations like Helen Woodward Animal Center, Heifer International, Habitat for Humanity, and Homeboy Industries. 

LOOKING FORWARD: Expect the Smets to continue to strongly focus on education in Los Angeles. 


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