Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Cigar Inventor Leaves $10 M for Jacksonville Charities

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Cigar Inventor Leaves $10 M for Jacksonville Charities

Article excerpt

The late Swisher Sweet cigar inventor Harold K. "Bud" Smith has

left behind a legacy of generosity, giving $10 million for

philanthropy to the Jacksonville Community Foundation.

The bulk of the money, $9.7 million, will go to the Harold K.

Smith Charitable Fund, to be used for grants through a

foundation program for the betterment of families, children,

neighborhoods and the arts.

The other $300,000 will complete the $500,000 Harold K. Smith

Playhouse Endowment Fund, an established endowment for

improving the Theatre Jacksonville playhouse in San Marco.

"We believe this is one of the largest single gifts made by an

individual in Jacksonville to an existing not-for-profit

institution in our community," said Lawrence J. DuBow,

foundation chairman.

Smith, a long-time Jacksonville resident who died in December

at age 77, made his fortune in the cigar business.

His father was one of the founders of the Jno. Swisher and Son

Cigar Co., and Smith came up with the idea for the Swisher Sweet

brand in 1958. Today, it is the most popular cigar in the world.

The gift was announced yesterday at the foundation's annual

meeting at the Times-Union Center for the Performing Arts. It

increases by about a third the foundation's $33 million in

assets.

"I guess you could say the Jacksonville Community Foundation's

ship has come in," DuBow said.

Robert Arleigh White, executive director of Theatre

Jacksonville, said Smith's generosity "issues a strong challenge

for all of us to work toward making a better community for

everyone."

The playhouse endowment will help ensure the tradition of

Theatre Jacksonville -- the nation's longest running,

continuously producing community theater -- continues, he said.

Smith's gift also will allow the foundation to make more and

larger grants through its Building Our Community program, said

the group's president, L. …

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