Brad D. Smith Honored With 2020 Champion of Children Award

On October 6, 2020, West Virginia KIDS COUNT (WVKC) honored Brad D. Smith with the Champion of Children Award for his ongoing commitment to developing education-based and economic opportunities within the mountain state. WVKC is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization with over 30 years of experience meeting the needs of children and families. It is a member of the larger KIDS COUNT network with offices nationwide.

A West Virginia native and alumnus of Marshall University, Brad gives back to the region that provided him so much motivation and inspiration in his own life by providing lessons on effective leadership and skill development guidance to local students and entrepreneurs. In 2015, he and his wife, Alys Smith, contributed $10 million to Marshall University to create the Brad D. and Alys Smith Family Scholarship, prioritizing first-generation West Virginia and Ohio applicants. In 2018, the couple more than doubled their contribution with $25 million to grow the university’s schools of business. In 2020, Brad continued to focus on investing in the talent of the Appalachian Region with a $25 million donation to West Virginia University for the development of the Outdoor Economic Development Collaborative. This donation will fund a remote workers program that will aim to bring in young entrepreneurs and their families to the beautiful Mountain State.  

Additionally, Brad also led Intuit, of which he is the executive chairman and former CEO, in establishing a prosperity hub in downtown Bluefield. The project is expected to bring 5,000 jobs to the area.

On a more personal level, Brad is qualified as WVKC’s Champion because of his uncompromising, positive relationship with where he grew up. “My passion for West Virginia and the potential I see in its people has only grown over the years,” he said in an interview with Marshall University’s student newspaper, the Marshall Pantheon. Brad is locally known for his inspiring insight and was the first person to give a West Virginia Ed Talk to high school students about bettering oneself through committing to a purpose.

After stepping down as Intuit’s CEO in 2019, Smith committed to finding a new purpose. He and Alys Smith co-founded the Wing 2 Wing Foundation to help advance West Virginia entrepreneurship and education. By supporting West Virginia startups that haven’t had the same chances to succeed, the opportunity gaps between local and national businesses will shrink and foster a more level playing field for all.