The Alison Tobey Smart Memorial Fund (ATS) was established in February, 1986, by Jackson and Sue Smart to make a difference after their daughter took her own life at age 17. The mission of the Alison Tobey Smart Memorial Fund is to support the healthy emotional, educational, social and spiritual development of youth in the Kenilworth Union Church and its surrounding area through education, therapy support, and ministerial efforts.
The fund provides opportunities for ministerial acts like care packages and valentines for college freshmen, confirmation and choir scholarships, Senior Celebration, young adult service recognition awards/scholarships, and emergency financial support for families struggling with mental health. Over the last 30 years, the fund’s focus has expanded from depression and self-destructive behavior to incorporate issues such as self-worth, decision making, problem solving, service, and counseling. The fund now also brings and supports original programming focused on those issues.
While these topics have remained central to efforts of the ATS board over the years, the application of them has evolved with the needs of the community. Most significantly over the last two decades the age focus has expanded from high school-centric to also support middle schoolers who have come to experience similar challenges, and college-aged young adults who struggle with the same issues without the support network of home, church, and community.
More recently with the growth of fully-staffed organizations addressing similar missions, the ATS board has had the opportunity to fund programming through these outside agencies, offering broad-reaching educational initiatives leveraging superior subject matter expertise as well as therapy and counseling programs for youth who would not otherwise be supported.
As the range of impact of the ATS fund has grown across age targets, geographic areas, and programming options, the board instituted a set of guardrails for optimal spending of the ATS budget. All board members were surveyed to inform how the board prioritizes supporting different age ranges, geographies, and types of support. These guardrails are intended to be updated every two to four years to ensure that they reflect the current thinking of the board and the evolving needs of the community.
*For more information on the Alison Tobey Smart Memorial Fund and our mission, please email a member of the committee.