Orin Smith’s contributions to Lewis County are numerous, and much of his philanthropy will remain on display for decades. A few of his gifts include support for Vernetta Smith Chehalis Timberland Library, Gail and Carolyn Shaw Aquatics Center, and Centralia College.
Orin also began supporting the Student Achievement Initiative (SAI) in 2013. Based on the success and impact being made by the partnership between the Chehalis Foundation, Chehalis School District, and Centralia College, the Orin Smith Family Foundation created the SAI Endowment Fund in late 2017. They generously dedicated $10 million to the SAI fund that will be providing nearly $500,000 a year in support to the Student Achievement Initiative in perpetuity. This ensures that the education programs, the career and college counselors, the exposure to STEM in the elementary schools, the partnership initiatives with Centralia College, and so much more that the SAI is now providing will continue to be there. SAI is impacting the community in a positive way and will continue to do so for generations to come thanks to this endowment.
Orin graduated from W.F. West in 1960 and was a member of the basketball team that won the state championship. He graduated from Centralia College, and attended the University of Washington and Harvard Business School before entering the workforce. His business career began at one of the “Big Four” accounting organizations known today as Deloitte, where he ultimately ran the Northwest Consulting Practice. He served as the Chief Budget Officer for two governors before becoming the CFO of two transportation companies. Orin Smith later became CEO and President of Starbucks Coffee Company and under his leadership the company grew from 45 stores to over 10,000 stores in 33 countries. He was an admired CEO for his successful management practices, and for his humility and kindness.
Even though he became a respected leader of a global company, he never forgot where he came from. He enjoyed giving back and making large investments to the community his family called home. Orin’s philanthropic spirit was enormous. He was active at the University of Washington, contributing and leading several campaigns over the years– including being a member of the UW Board of Regents. Orin was also very involved with the three other Boards he served on for well over a decade; The Walt Disney Company, Conservation International and Nike.
Throughout the Chehalis area you can find several places that recognize Orin’s contributions. In particular, the City of Chehalis and the Chehalis School District are so thankful for his contributions that there is a street named Orin Smith Commemorative Way and a new Orin C. Smith Elementary School.
Orin Smith died in 2018 at the age of 75. By his many contributions in Chehalis, he has forever changed the future for the better. The endowment commitment to the Student Achievement Initiative will provide endless opportunities for our children.