Leonard W. Smith

President of the Detroit Rotary Foundation

November 15, 2017

The Foundation, and Its' Grant Activity

About the speaker

Leonard Smith is Chief Investment Officer, Treasurer, Chair of the Board and Trustee of the Ethel & James Flinn Foundation, Detroit, Michigan.  He has been associated with the Foundation since its founding in 1976, first as Trustee, Secretary and Foundation manager, then as President and Trustee from 1994 to 2008.  He began to devote full time to its affairs in 2000.  He presided over the reorganization of the Foundation as it received assets from James Flinn’s estate and trusts in 2007 and 2008.  

He served the Skillman Foundation since 1975 when he was elected Secretary and Foundation manager.  He was a Trustee of the Skillman Foundation from 1982 and its President and CEO from 1983 through 1999.  He guided the Foundation from its formative years as it received endowed assets of $180 million through the1990’s as it became a recognized leader in dedicating Foundation resources to improving the lives of children in Metropolitan Detroit.  At the time, he retired from the Skillman Foundation, grantmaking had grown to $25 million per year and assets to $600 million.

He has served and assisted many nonprofit and philanthropic organizations including the Council of Michigan Foundations as Trustee and Chair; Michigan’s Children as Founding Trustee and Officer; Youth Sports and Recreation Commission of Detroit, Hamtramck and Highland Park, as Founding Commissioner and Officer; the Grosse Pointe Park Foundation as founding Trustee and President; the Schools of the 21st Century Corporation as Founding Board Member and Officer; the Michigan Aids Fund as Board member and Chair; the City of Detroit as member of the Youth Commission; Wayne State University Skillman Center for Children as Executive Committee member; New Detroit, Inc. as Trustee and Youth and Education Committee member; the Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness, Health, Sports as council member; and Board member of Communities in Schools.  

He has served as a member of the Investment Committee of the Wayne State University Foundation and currently serves the Council of Michigan Foundation’s Investment Committee.  

His Detroit Rotary service spans 34 years and two-time periods; from 1973 to 1989 as law general and 1999 to the present as private foundations regional.

He has served on the Classification, Youth Services, Community Services, Program and Kresge Award Committees.  He is currently President of the Detroit Rotary Foundation Board and is serving his second term of years.

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