The High family’s incredible philanthropy shows off the best of Lancaster County [editorial] | Our opinion

THE PROBLEM: “In a move that will send a company’s profits directly to community programs, S. Dale High and his family have transferred their shares of High Industries to the High Foundation”, LNP | LancasterOnline’s Lisa Scheid reported last week. “This means the foundation will receive the profits as well as control of the company based in East Lampeter Township. He will send more than $5 million a year to the foundation for programs that fight poverty and strengthen communities where the multi-state company does business, including Lancaster County, central Pennsylvania, New Jersey , Ohio and Florida. High companies, led by High Industries and High Real Estate Group, are involved in steel, concrete, real estate, construction and many other fields.

Business and community start with the same three letters, but that’s too often where the relationship ends.

The family behind High Industries, however, has long viewed business and community as closely linked. And last week’s announcement is a commendable example of an incredibly successful family business reinvesting more of its profits into bettering the communities where it has thrived.

Like NL | LancasterOnline’s Scheid explained that High Industries contributes about $2.5 million a year to the High Foundation, which was established in 1980.

“With the property transferred to the foundation, it will receive in benefits more than double the annual contribution,” Scheid reported.

It’s a wonderful way to double down.

Even before the announcement, the High Foundation was one of the largest private foundations in the region. He supported scholarships, classrooms and laboratories at Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology. He has also supported the Water Street Mission, Lancaster Conservancy, Fulton Theatre, Historic Rock Ford and Lancaster Assets, Scheid noted.

The High Foundation’s website says it focuses on education’s “impact zones”; health and social services; environmental stewardship; arts and culture; historic preservation and social enterprise. Since 1980, it has invested millions in such projects.

Additionally, there is the $65 million High Foundation Fund that was established at the Lancaster County Community Foundation last fall.

But S. Dale High has always argued that funding is only part of the process of community transformation.

“Resources are not the starting point for major initiatives,” he said at a 2018 press conference detailing $600,000 in grants from the High Foundation to agencies working in the southwest neighborhood of the city of Lancaster. “They start with a vision. They start with a group that cares deeply and engages consciously. We don’t have the ability to lead that effort; we are only happy to be a catalyst and to be with you and to approve of what you wish to do.

It is a noble and humble perspective from a family leader who has brought so much good to the county.

Indeed, Lancaster County is blessed with several philanthropic families who have focused on improving life here.

In 2014, the Steinman Foundation was created by merging separate private foundations that had been established in 1951 by brothers James Hale Steinman and John Frederick Steinman. Contributions over many years from LNP Media Group (the parent company of LNP | LancasterOnline and other publications) and its subsidiaries have funded more than $100 million in local grants focused on education and child development. childhood ; economic and workforce development; and local journalism and media literacy.

“The Steinman family has been engaged in the production of this local newspaper since 1866, when Andrew Jackson Steinman became co-publisher and editor of the Lancaster Intelligencer & Journal, a precursor to LNP | LancasterOnline,” we wrote in a 2020 op-ed. “In an industry that has seen local newspapers eaten up and stripped of their assets by hedge funds, turning local communities into information wastelands, Lancaster County is fortunate to have newspapers belonging to a family committed to journalism.”

The High Foundation uses a model of philanthropy used by the Steinman Foundation – taking profits from a for-profit entity and funneling them to the non-profit organization. Last week’s announcement was made possible by an agreement between S. Dale High and his family members to transfer their shares of High Industries to the High Foundation.

“Suzanne High, who serves as the foundation’s vice president (and daughter of High), said the family fully supports the move as a continuation of her father’s transformative and innovative leadership,” Scheid reported.

The restructuring allows the charitable foundation to become the majority shareholder of High Industries. “Profits from the business will go back to the foundation and will essentially be managed, developed and distributed in the community,” Scheid explained.

This quote is attributed to S. Dale High on the High Foundation website: “We are on this earth for a purpose beyond our own interests. That purpose is to strive to make the world a better place…starting with our community.

We are fortunate to live in a county where so many of us would agree with those words. That the High family had the ability to put so much meaningful philanthropy behind this philosophy is very special indeed.

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