The Mary Anne Vonderschmitt Fund in memory of Jeanne Smith

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Following a visit with Jeanne Smith and her nine children, another young mother marveled at the skillful management of the household. “Jeanne possessed skills to make family life run like clockwork,” observed her friend; “all the children sat, well-mannered and well-organized, peacefully and politely having their lunch.” A full calendar of school activities and sporting events filled the days and the years, reinforcing the value of education and community. After seeing nine children through college graduation, Jeanne and her husband, former childhood sweethearts, travelled extensively, cheered their favorite teams, volunteered, and supported many charitable causes. After 86 years of life well lived, Jeanne Smith passed away during the summer of 2015.


“A guiding philosophy in my mother’s life was the belief that each of us is created to make a difference in the lives of others. That’s the spirit I want to honor with this gift,” remarked Mary Anne Vonderschmitt when she established a fund in her mother’s memory at the South Madison Community Foundation.


Foundation staff didn’t have the privilege of knowing Jeanne Smith personally. Instead, we have gotten to know her through the recollections of her daughter. Because the fund created in Smith’s memory is a legacy to her unique life and values, it is our responsibility to discern her essence and create a record for the future so her legacy can be honored forever.


All activities undertaken by the Foundation serve our mission, which is simply “to create positive change and lasting impact in the communities we serve.” We do this in many ways. When Foundation initiatives are most closely aligned with the memory of Jeanne Smith, grant support will be offered in her name. Some potential examples follow:


As a mother of nine, we feel she would have cheered our commitment to early literacy. Our Imagination Library affiliation provides a book each month to any local child from birth to age 5. How many children’s books did Jeanne read to her children over the years? Did she see their love for learning develop as she read to them?


As a trained teacher, we believe she would have supported mini-grants to equip classrooms with learning aids. What creative lessons did Jeanne put together during her lifetime? Would she have been delighted by the creativity our teachers show in building magical learning environments?


As an athletic booster, we believe she would have championed our support of park improvements in Ingalls and Markleville to enhance safety for park users. How many hours did Jeanne’s children pass on sports fields and park equipment? Did she know the emotional and physical relief of first aid, rapidly administered?


The South Madison Community Foundation is uniquely qualified to help you turn your cherished memories into a lasting legacy. If you have an interest in honoring a loved one, we can help. The process begins with a casual conversation. Contact us today to start the discussion.