UMass Memorial Medical Center receives 9.8 million gift to benefit patients

William B. SmithLocal entrepreneur and industrialist leaves nearly $29 million to five Worcester-area organizations more than 60 years after his death 

Oct. 28, 2015

A Worcester entrepreneur and industrialist left nearly $10 million in his estate to UMass Memorial Medical Center despite having passed away in 1952. William Binns Smith made the significant donation as part of an overall $29 million gift to five Worcester-area organizations.

With the recent passing of Smith’s last surviving daughter, the Medical Center (formerly Memorial Hospital) and the other organizations—Children’s Friend, Inc. (formerly Worcester Children’s Friend Society); Eastern Orthodox Management Corporation (Holy Trinity Nursing and Rehabilitation Center); Visiting Nurse Association (VNA) Care Network; and Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI)—will receive the distribution of the remaining estate. UMass Memorial will utilize the gift from the trust to establish a permanent fund, the income from which will be used to benefit patients at the medical center’s four Worcester campuses.

“On behalf of the physicians and staff at UMass Memorial Medical Center, I would like to express our deep gratitude to the William B. Smith Trust for this momentous gift that will positively impact our patients and their families for years to come,” said Patrick Muldoon, FACHE, president of UMass Memorial Medical Center. “In keeping with Mr. Smith’s wishes, the Medical Center will use the funds to support our palliative and end-of-life care, and explore additional opportunities that meet the needs of our patients and families in Central Massachusetts. The legacy of William B. Smith, a former member of the board of Memorial Hospital, continues at UMass Memorial Medical Center with this generous gift in support of our mission.”

Smith, who was among the leading Worcester industrialists of the early 20th century, was dedicated to the community and was known as a civic leader and philanthropist. Born in Philadelphia, he moved to Worcester at a young age and graduated from Worcester’s South High School in 1904. He entered WPI as a member of the graduating Class of 1908 but left the school in 1907 to co-found, with his father, the James Smith & Son company, a manufacturer of textile machinery.

At the time of his death at age 62 at his home in Shrewsbury, Smith was president and treasurer of James Smith & Son; a director of the Coca-Cola Bottling Company of Worcester; and a trustee of Memorial Hospital (now UMass Memorial Medical Center), which merged with the clinical system of the University of Massachusetts in 1998 to form UMass Memorial Medical Center. Today the medical center is a part of UMass Memorial Health Care, the leading health care system in Central Massachusetts. UMass Memorial Medical Center is also the area’s safety-net hospital and primary trauma center, and the largest employer in the city of Worcester.

Smith had also served for more than 20 years as president and director of the Southwell Wool Combing Company of North Chelmsford, Mass., and was an investor in several other textile mills in the region. On a more personal level, Smith and his family were engaged with Children’s Friend, the VNA Care Network, and Eastern Orthodox Management Corporation through adoption and the care of elderly family members.

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