Ted Smith was the founding Executive Director of the CGBD. His intellect, grace and compassion were foremost in all he did.
Many of us knew Ted, also, in his role as Executive Director of the Kendall Foundation, where he was a visionary grantmaker, often far ahead of the curve on subjects from climate change to conservation science.
He was singularly kind and respectful to grantees. Ted’s great interest in youth and learning and his generous attention to individuals and issues alike were unsurpassed.
He reflected on the lessons he learned during his many years as a conservationist and philanthropist in a document called A Tasting Menu. You can read it here.
Ted died in a tragic hiking accident on September 1, 2012. Many of his former colleagues offered their reflections after news of his death:
“Ted was a gentle giant, a mentor and wonderful colleague.”
“We have all lost a guide along the trail.”
“Environmental conservation has lost a passionate champion. He will be sorely missed by all who knew him.”
“We all have great memories of Ted, not only on a personal level but of all the good things he did for the planet.”
“Ted was always such an indefatigable thinker, leader, and mentor. I remember he reached out to me with unsolicited and yet ultimately very relevant and wise advice just days after I started at Wilburforce.”
“In June of 2009 I received a gift in the mail from Ted, a document he referred to as his “Tasting Menu”. It provided a glimpse of what made Ted special, as it was a beautifully written and genuine recollection of what worked, and what didn’t, in his work as a philanthropist. Here’s what worked—he was a great listener and friend. I miss him already.”
“Ted spearheaded a very successful multi-year program for the National Parks with several foundations participating including my family Foundation. His thinking was always useful to me. Even the few conservatives in my family never doubted his judgement.”
“I’ll miss the twinkle Ted would get in his eye as he posed a question the rest of us had missed or hatched a new idea that would push us all to do better. Here’s to always seeking to do better. Thank you Ted.”