Alys and Brad D. Smith: Creating An Outdoor Economic Collaborative
Brad D. Smith, executive chairman of Intuit, and his wife, Alys, recently donated $25 million dollars to West Virginia University to support groundbreaking new programs that improve the state’s economy, establish first-rate recreational infrastructure, and improve access to opportunities to explore and learn in nature. Through WVU’s newly titled Brad and Alys Smith Outdoor Economic Development Collaborative (OEDC), the couple will offer startup funding to establish a new remote workers program to help individuals and young families thrive during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The OEDC helps inspire education through initiatives in experiential learning in science, technology, engineering, arts, and math (STEAM) to teach young minds the skills needed to contribute and compete in a global economy. To foster a sense of pride for the region, the OEDC also welcomes people already participating in today’s 21st century workforce to relocate to West Virginia and call the state their new home. Among Appalachia’s most awe-inspiring mountains, white water rafting, and winter sports, Brad and Alys believe individuals and families should have the opportunity to build the foundation for the next chapters in their lives.
“I love this state, I’m proud of who we are,” Brad says. “I’m proud of who we grow and produce, and I’m proud of how we stand tall in the face of any adversity.”
Through the OEDC and the Smiths’ philanthropic organization, the Wing 2 Wing Foundation, the couple strive to continue improving the economic development and entrepreneurial opportunities in Appalachia while preserving and restoring West Virginia’s natural environments. The Foundation collaborates with individuals and companies devoted to making the planet’s wellbeing a priority while delivering breakthrough results for local economies.
After leaving his home state to pursue a career in business, Brad never lost sight of the importance of his roots or his appreciation for the people who call the Appalachian region home. He has always focused on giving back to the community that made him. Prior to this WVU donation, Brad and his wife made a $25 million dollar donation to his alma mater, Marshall University, as well as contributed a $10 million scholarship fund to the university, bringing his investment in the young talent of his home state to $60 million.
“If you want to go fast, go alone, but if you want to go far, go together,” he says. Together with Alys Smith, a former attorney and founder of Better2Meditate, the couple can continue helping others find the best in education and entrepreneurship.