Benjamin Smith
Benjamin M. Smith

The Washington Forrest Foundation was established in 1968 by Benjamin M. Smith (1884-1975) by his donation of local real estate.

Smith worked as an Arlington realtor and developer and his strong religious faith instilled in him a desire to serve his community. He was chairman of both Arlington County Board and Arlington County School Board, and served on the Board of Arlington Hospital. His particular interest were the youth, the elderly, and the United Methodist Church, but he gave his time and financial resources to a wide variety of community activities, reflecting his belief in a comprehensive approach to local needs.

An estate gift from his daughter, Charlotte Smith Gravett (1932-1973), is also responsible for the Foundation’s growth.

Virginia (“Betsy”) N. Smith (1917-1990), wife of the founder’s son, Edward M. Smith, also made a major financial contribution to the Foundation. Betsy Smith had a zest for life and strong love for family and friends.

The Board of Directors continues to be comprised of only descendants of the founder.

Columbia Pike in the early 20th century.
Columbia Pike in the early 20th century.