A loss for our community

October 25th, 2017

We suffered a terrible loss over the weekend. Gid Smith, former president of the Community Foundation of Greater Memphis, passed away Sunday morning.

Gid was perhaps the most important person in the recent history of Memphis, and certainly the architect of the foundation that we lead today. Trained and ordained as a Methodist minister, Gid felt a powerful call to serve the human needs of all Memphians. He joined Bob Dempsey to lead MIFA for almost two decades, crafting the most transformative social service agency in the city.

In 1989, Gid left MIFA to become the second president of the Community Foundation of Greater Memphis. During his 17 year tenure here, he inspired hundreds of Memphians to get more involved in the community and drove the foundation's assets from $20 million to $280 million, making us one of the largest community foundations in the country.

Gid's life and career were cruelly hampered by Parkinson's disease. He tried for many years to beat its effects but was ultimately forced to step down from the foundation in 2006.

The Community Foundation and the broader Memphis community will be forever enriched by Gid's wisdom and creativity.

But for me, I will forever be empowered by Gid's mentorship and warmed by his penetrating sense of humor. Gid loved life, he treasured his fellow Memphians, but above all, he loved to laugh. He knew that laughter brightens the good work that we do, and it pierces the resolve of our adversaries.

We must carry with us the lessons of the leaders that got us to where we are today. I don't think that anyone set us up better for the bright future that we all now rightfully celebrate more than Gid.

- Robert M. Fockler, president of the Community Foundation of Greater Memphis

Gid Hardin Smith, 1941-2017

Gid Hardin Smith, of Memphis TN, was born on December 23, 1941, and passed away on October 22, 2017. Click here to read the full obituary

Donation information

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to MIFA and the Community Foundation of Greater Memphis.

Upon Gid's retirement, the Board of Governors established a fund in his honor, the Gid Smith Endowment Fund, which Gid chose to make an unrestricted endowment to benefit the Community Foundation. 

To make a credit card donation to that fund, click below.

To make a gift from your donor-advised fund, click below, log in, and use the Inter-Fund Grants tab to transfer funds to the Gid Smith Endowment Fund (search by keyword "Gid"):

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