Foundation discloses value of High Industries stock donation

Appearing in March 2022 are, from left: Mike Shirk, CEO of High Companies; Suzanne High, vice chair of the High Foundation; Robin Stauffer, executive director of the foundation; and Dean Glick, director of the High Family Office (photo/submitted)

he High family made headlines in early 2022 when members donated their shares in family-owned High Industries to their family-founded nonprofit, the High Foundation.

  • Their aim was to multiply the foundation’s charitable impact by linking it to the fortunes of the Lancaster County-based company, which had revenue of $570 million in 2021.
  • The value of the gift was not disclosed at the time. But it is now a matter of public record as part of a tax return filed this year by the foundation.

What’s the number: The return posted by GuideStar, pegs the value of the donated High Industries stock at nearly $115.2 million.

  • The stock also paid dividends of more than $2.2 million to the foundation, according to the return, the foundation’s most recent.
  • The stock’s value was determined by a third-party, according to High Foundation executive director Robin Stauffer, who confirmed the numbers.
  • Since the 1980s, the Highs had previously donated more than $30 million through the High Foundation, and other charitable vehicles according to a recent report on the foundation’s impact.

The background: The stock donation was announced in March 2022 by family members, including S. Dale High, whose father founded the company in 1931.

  • The donation did not change the leadership of High Industries, a diverse group of businesses in manufacturing and construction led by CEO Michael Shirk.
  • However, the family hoped that the nonprofit ownership would add extra incentives for the company’s nearly 2,000 employees, since profit from their work would go to benefit the community.
  • The foundation is focused on eliminating poverty and improving the lives of people in Lancaster County and other areas where High companies do business.
  • The foundation itself donated more than $3 million in the most recent fiscal year, according to the impact report.
  • The stock donation did not include the High real estate business, which has a more complex structure.

What’s next: The foundation’s impact is expected to expand to reflect the value of the stock donation, the foundation’s largest asset.

  • When the gift was announced last year, Stauffer noted that the foundation had created a new governance structure to handle growth and added two new trustees: Tom Baldrige, former president and CEO of the Lancaster Chamber, and Hilda Shirk, former president and CEO of Lancaster Health Center
  • “Due to the gift of S. Dale High, this is just the beginning of a movement for good that is growing in momentum every day,” the foundation wrote in its impact report. “High Foundation is emboldened to build the bridge to a more equitable, just and inclusive future for all people in our communities.”


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