In 1952 a minister, Sam Shoemaker, told Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania city leaders that “one day Pittsburgh will be more famous for God than steel.” That was quite a statement to make at the time. Pittsburgh was the steel capital of the world. It wasn’t a boast or a point of unhealthy pride for Sam. It was recognition on his part that something was happening in Pittsburgh that was good and growing. People believed him and years later have looked back with gratitude and pride on the effects of his faith in the people of Pittsburgh.
Fred Smith: The Next 10 Years in East Texas
We believe something similar for Tyler and East Texas. We think one day this place will be as famous for philanthropy and generosity as it is for roses. Even now, people in other cities in Texas and the country are surprised and curious about how a region our size manages to encourage and fund so many different ministries and nonprofits. Even in a time of economic uncertainty and volatility, this community continues to be not only generous locally but all over the world.
Giving is a significant part of the history of this community. From the beginning we have been blessed by individuals, families and foundations who have made contributions to our lives and welfare. We would not have the lifestyle we enjoy were it not for those gifts, and we believe that is just as much a part of our future.
Ten years from now I believe we will look back with gratitude and, yes, pride on the effects of extraordinary generosity.