The Defiance Area Foundation has the following Giving Societies to celebrate the donors and their gifts since inception. We are grateful to these families and individuals who have made such an incredible impact on our organization and our community.
Gene Smart Society
Gifts over $100,000
H. Eugene Smart, the founder of The Defiance Area Foundation, has a long history of philanthropy and community pride. The former president, CEO and chairman of the board of directors of the State Bank and Trust Company was also involved in many local organizations including the Community Service Council, Defiance Area Chamber of Commerce, Defiance College, United Way of Defiance County, Defiance Hospital board of trustees, Elks, Masons, Shriners and Defiance Rotary. Gene considered The Defiance Area Foundation “One of the most important things I’ve ever been involved with since I’ve been in Defiance.”
William Holgate Society
Gifts between $50,000-$99,999
William Holgate was an honest and respected local businessman. He was responsible for bringing the Wabash & Pacific and Baltimore & Ohio railroads to town. Holgate was also the president of Merchants National Bank and Defiance Manufacturing Co. and farmed, breeding trotting horses.
Edward S. Bronson Society
Gifts between $25,000-$49,999
Born and raised in Defiance, Bronson was a graduate of both Defiance public schools and Defiance College in the 1890s. He became a local businessman, with many passions including gardening, music and photography. Bronson was a two-time mayor of Defiance, was instrumental in the establishment of the Defiance Park Commission and served as one of its first members for many years. Bronson also helped found the Defiance Chapter of the American Red Cross.
Henry Hicks Society
Gifts between $10,000-$24,999
Henry Hicks was a financial entrepreneur from New York City. Looking to expand his business, the Hicks Land Company owner sent employees out to seek new land to expand his enterprise. With a duty to secure land that was profitable and filled with valuable timber, the town now known as Hicksville was settled and named after Hicks.
Johnny Appleseed Society
Gifts between $5,000-$9,999
Affectionately known as “Johnny Appleseed”, John Chapman planted his way across the Midwest. The American folk hero of the 19th century planted apple orchards as he traveled, giving and selling apple seedlings to pioneers along the way. He was also known for his kindness, spirituality, good relations with the Indians, and his unique appearance – bare feet and tin pot on his head.
Anthony Wayne Society
Gifts between $1,000-$4,999
Commonly known as “Mad” Anthony Wayne for his fiery personality, Anthony Wayne was United States Army general and statesman at the end of the American Revolutionary War, ending his military career as a brigadier general. In August 1794, Anthony Wayne ordered the construction of Fort Defiance at the confluence of the Auglaize and Maumee Rivers, which became his base of operations following the Battle of Fallen Timbers, near Toledo.