Press Release: Martin V. and Martha K. Smith Foundation becomes CSUCI’s single largest donor

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(Camarillo, Calif.) Dec. 2, 2021 — Following more than 20 years of strong philanthropic partnership, the Martin V. and Martha K. Smith Foundation has generously donated $10.5 million to the Martin V. Smith School of Business & Economics (MVS) at CSU Channel Islands (CSUCI). Ventura County philanthropist and real estate developer Martin V. “Bud” Smith and his wife Martha created the Foundation to support community organizations.

The transformational gift brings the total contributed to CSUCI to more than $19 million since the family’s first donation in 1999, making them the University’s largest donor.

Just over $3.5 million will be used to complete the renovation of the MVS School’s new home, located in the campus’ former Manzanita Hall, and the refurbishment of an adjacent courtyard. The new space will be named “Martin V. Smith Hall” in honor of Bud Smith, and the courtyard will be named the “Martha K. Smith Courtyard” after Smith’s wife. The remaining $7 million will be used to create a new endowment for the MVS School to enhance the quality of the educational programming and experience for its students and faculty.

The couple’s four daughters, Antoinette Gardiner, Marjorie Tegland, Victoria Pozzi, and Lucinda Daley, along with several of their children and trusted advisors on their board, have overseen the Smith Foundation and have been long-time supporters of CSUCI. The family and board believe the biggest impact they can make in Ventura County is through their support of public higher education and workforce development. Since 2017, 56% of CSUCI alumni have said they plan on remaining in Ventura County after graduation, thus contributing to the viability of the region.

“I think one of the best things we have done as a family and a Foundation is invest in CSUCI,” said Pozzi. “Since Dad’s bequest and the subsequent donations by the Foundation to name the Martin V. Smith School of Business & Economics, the University has taken diligent and prudent care of our contributions. The MVS School has distinguished itself through its growth, the excellence of its professors and its innovative programs.”

“My father firmly believed in the importance of having a four-year university in the county. With the funding for the next phase of construction of the Martin V. Smith Hall and for the endowment, the Smith Family Foundation is honored and privileged to support the continued growth of Cal State Channel Islands and the MVS School,” Pozzi said. “The gift not only carries on my father’s legacy but contributes to the development of the area’s future business leaders who will ensure the region’s strength and vitality continues.”

“Mr. Smith was a pioneer in building the economic vitality of Ventura County – and that same pioneering spirit has benefited CSU Channel Islands from the campus’s inception,” said CSUCI Interim President Richard Yao, Ph.D. “Mr. Smith and his family were among the earliest supporters of the University. Their investment made a powerful statement that the CSU was indeed a pillar of excellence in the community, one that would benefit many generations to come. We are deeply and profoundly grateful that his vision and generosity continue today.”

MVS School Dean, Susan Andrzejewski, Ph.D., acknowledged the transformative impact the gift will have on academic programming and the experience of students and faculty.

“The Smith family and Foundation board’s incredible generosity will enable the MVS School to continue to enhance and strengthen our academic programs and student experiences to ensure they meet the needs of today’s rapidly evolving workforce while also supporting cutting-edge faculty research. We are extraordinarily grateful for the Smith family’s investment in the transformational work happening within the MVS School.”

“The renovations in Martin V. Smith Hall and Martha K. Smith courtyard will enrich our students’ educational experience by providing numerous spaces for collaboration, hands-on learning, and opportunities to engage with our talented and dynamic faculty and industry partners,” said Andrzejewski.

The Martin V. Smith School of Business & Economics is expected to move into Martin V. Smith Hall by the Fall 2022 semester. “After decades of philanthropic impact in the Ventura County region, including a strong focus in the Oxnard community, our family is moved to continue advancing the work of the University, one of our community’s most vital resources, and continuing the legacy that was started by my grandparents years ago,” said Stacy Cannon, Smith granddaughter and co-chair of the Smith Foundation board. “This plan will also keep $2.5 million in a donor advised fund with the
Ventura County Community Foundation – an organization also dear to our family.”

“Our community owes so much to Martin V. and Martha K. Smith, and the entire Smith family, spanning multiple generations. The Ventura County Community Foundation (VCCF) was founded by a small group of dedicated philanthropists, including Bud Smith – we wouldn’t exist to serve the community without him and his entire family! Witnessing their continued generosity has been a highlight of my career and we are honored to continue to support their great work and vision for Ventura County,” said Vanessa Bechtel, President & CEO of VCCF.

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