What if a major company based in the midstate that has a revenue of $570 million a year transferred almost its entire ownership from its owners to its charitable foundation?
How would this impact the communities that the company does business with?
Well, we’re about to find out. Lancaster-based High Industries announced on Wednesday that the High family is doing just that. Dale High and his family have transferred their ownership to the High Foundation.
“The major change in the structure of the organization going forward is that the High family ownership will no longer be in place and will be replaced by ownership with the High Foundation and our philanthropic efforts,” Dale High, chairman emeritus of High Industries and chairman of the High Foundation, said in a video. Dale High joined the family business in 1963, which was founded by his father in 1931.
The company, based in East Lampeter Township, has 11 businesses in 38 locations in six states. It focuses on construction, real estate and hotels, among others areas.
The family will still remain involved in the businesses and the High Foundation.
Since 1980, the High Foundation has contributed more than $20 million to various charities. Currently, the foundation averages $2.5 million a year in the donations it contributes. Robin Stauffer, director of High Foundation, said this will more than double the foundation’s contributions. Separately, the High Foundation established a $65 million fund at the Lancaster County Community Foundation last fall.
The High Foundation is a major contributor to Thaddeus Stevens College, Water Street Mission, the Fulton Theatre and other charities.
The foundation spent a number of years looking at a variety of models for this new ownership plan, according to Mike Shirk, CEO of the High Industries.
The foundation will focus on the areas in which the company does business, which includes not only Lancaster County, but also places like Williamsport and Charleston, South Carolina. The company also has a presence in the Mechanicsburg area.
“We look at the opportunity to expand our giving footprint in central Pennsylvania specifically in areas that we do business in, Mechanicsburg is one of those [places],” said Dean Glick, director of the High Family Office.
Over the years, The High Foundation and High Industries have funded projects and made donations to a number of organizations in Cumberland and Dauphin counties, including the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank, Junior Achievement of South-Central PA, the Peyton Walker Foundation, United Way of the Capital Region, Bethesda Mission Women’s Shelter, Capital Region Literacy Council, and Goodwill Keystone Area.