Give Where You Live: Andy and Steffanie Smith
Andy and Steffanie Smith are as committed in their giving as they were to their agricultural endeavors.
Andy was born and raised in Salinas, and founded his first business Andrew Smith Company, a bulk bin shipper, in 1973. His entrepreneurial spirit led him to invest in numerous produce and real estate businesses over the years.
Steffanie is from Othello, Washington and grew up in a 3rd generation agricultural family. She got into the California produce business leading the charge with Andy’s fresh-cut vegetable business, Pacific Pre-Cut. She then went on to serve as an executive with Taylor Farms and River Point Farms.
They met through their work in the produce business and celebrate their 25th anniversary in 2020.
Now “semi-retired” they are out of the day-to-day operations. They are able to focus more time on their family, grandchildren, real estate and other investments. They are adventurous travelers who have been to all seven continents. They are also able to spend more time being intentional with their philanthropy.
Giving back – we’ve always felt that it’s the right thing to do,” says Andy. “We give where we live and work.”
The Smiths supported the National Steinbeck Center, the Rodeo Grounds, the YMCA pools, the Boys & Girls Club of Monterey County and Rancho Cielo, among other community projects, including several anonymously.
“Andy is the most generous person I know. He’s always supported employees and the community both personally and through the company, says Steffanie. “Even when times are tough you keep giving.” “Somehow it always works out,” adds Andy.
Partnering with the CFMC
The Smiths were planning their estate and considering starting a private foundation. Tonya Antle, a former CFMC board member and a donor advised fund holder, referred them to the Community Foundation for the ease of giving. They started the Andy and Steffanie Smith Fund in 2017.
Our donor advised fund has made everything so easy!” – Steffanie Smith
“It just keeps getting better. We are able to research organizations and ask questions of CFMC staff, so we feel like we are more thoughtful. We appreciate their ideas, all the giving opportunities and the annual summary of grants and types of giving.”
Andy and Steffanie were able to leverage their year-end giving at the suggestion of the CFMC by granting through the Monterey County Gives! campaign so the nonprofits they selected would receive a partial match.
Responding to Community Needs
Their giving has been informed by life experiences. “Our family members have suffered from Alzheimer’s, cancer and have used Hospice services,” explains Steffanie. They also support several organizations that benefit children and youth.
When they heard about the devastating Camp Fire in 2018 they wanted to help. “It was so nice to call and find out the right place to direct our gift. We knew the Community Foundation had done the groundwork to make sure our donation was impactful,” says Steffanie.
Passing on Values to Family
Andy and Steffanie have two children and four grandchildren. “Our intention is to get family more involved in giving. At Christmas we don’t give gifts to our grown family members. We agree each year as a family on a charity to support, and we give in our family’s name.”
They have modeled to their children not just by giving financially, but also by volunteering their time to community and industry organizations through the years.
Giving back is very rewarding. We are part of a community that’s been good to us and we want to do the same.” – Andy Smith