Charles J. and Sally E. Smith Cornell Community Endowment Fund

"You don't have to be wealthy to make a difference. Every little bit helps and everyone can contribute to make their community great."

Chuck and Sally Smith didn't hold elected leadership positions or make grand gestures that attracted attention. Still, their impact on the Cornell community was deep. "They just did the little things that needed to be done, things that communities do to look out for each other - taking a casserole when someone dies, working at the church, or whatever needs to be done. They just went about it quietly," a family member said.

While reading a recent Community Foundation annual report, their daughter realized that establishing an endowment fund in her parents' names through the Foundation was the perfect way to continue their legacy in Cornell.  "The community meant so much to them," a family member noted. "They liked the way small towns look out for each other and take care of each other when someone is struggling."

Chuck and Sally were born in the 1940s in Chippewa County. They became high school sweethearts at Cornell High School, got engaged while Chuck was in the U.S. Navy, and were married in 1964. After living in Norfolk, Virginia, and then River Falls, Wisconsin, Chuck's work brought them back to Cornell in 1978 to continue raising their daughter and two sons. Chuck enjoyed quietly working in the yard and garden, camping, fishing, and taking daily walks on the path he had mowed around his pond.  

Sally was very active at the local high school and in the community. She served on various boards, including the Cornell Police and Fire Commission, the Food Pantry Board, and the Cornell Public Library Board, for which she was board president for many years. An avid reader herself, she often read several books at once.   A social butterfly, she enjoyed her card clubs and book clubs. Her frequent laughter revealed her fun side.

Chuck and Sally passed away within two years of each other, Sally in 2013 after a lengthy illness and Chuck in 2015 of a heart attack while fishing on Otter Lake. Their family appreciates and values how the endowment fund will pay tribute to Chuck and Sally and how it will let people hold the community together through small gestures, like Chuck and Sally themselves did as a middle­class working couple.

Grants support the betterment of the Cornell Community.

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