Who Was Timothy Smith

"He was the Horatio Alger of the city of Roxbury. I really believe that he wanted to give back to the people from whom he made his livelihood."

-Robert Fleming, Trust Office, City of Boston

Timothy Smith was a wealthy merchant who resided in Roxbury for most of his life. He was a life trustee of Roxbury Latin, a member of the Boston Athenaeum, and a deacon at Eliot Congregational Church. When he and his wife, Mary Ellen, both died in 1918 their last will and testament specified that the proceeds of their bequest be utilized to benefit the highest number of residents of the “old” City of Roxbury which at the beginning of the twentieth century included parts of Jamaica Plain, Mission Hill, and the South End, along with the present day Roxbury. Although the Smiths could not have imagined technology centers named in Mr. Smith’s honor, their foresight set the stage for a quiet revolution that would occur in Roxbury in another eighty-seven years.

The Timothy Smith Fund for “Old Roxbury” was established on March 8, 1996 by Mayor Thomas M. Menino and the City of Boston through the acceptance of a bequest distribution from the Timothy Smith Fund. To fulfill the spirit and intent of the Smith’s bequest, Mayor Menino’s administration created, with the approval of the Smith Fund Trustees and input from community leaders, a vehicle to bring the benefits of computer technology to as wide a population within the target area as possible.

To that end the Timothy Smith Fund initiated a five-year program which has and continues to establish a series of computer technology and education centers at non-profit organizations located in that section of Boston known as Roxbury when it merged with Boston in 1868. Grants from the Timothy Smith Fund enabled 39 agencies to establish and equip their centers with state-of-the-art computers and equipment. This terms of these grants provide for refurbishing the computer equipment in the centers every three years through 2019.