I’m proud of the fact that we made life good for a lot of people.

Harold C. Smith 1934-2017


Harold C. Smith began his career with the YMCA Retirement Fund in 1953 when, while looking for a summer job, was hired as an office assistant. Upon graduating from Ursinus College in 1955, the YMCA Retirement Fund President Earl Brandenburg encouraged Mr. Smith to attend Union Theological Seminary. While continuing to work part time for the YMCA Retirement Fund, Mr. Smith concurrently took classes at NYU Graduate School of Business and Union Theological Seminary. He earned his MBA and M.Div. in 1958, providing him with a strong financial background supported by Christian values. This skill set made him uniquely qualified to join the ranks of the YMCA Retirement Fund.

In 1983, Mr. Smith succeeded Forrest E. Wharry, becoming the fourth President and CEO of the YMCA Retirement Fund. During his 17-year tenure as CEO and CIO, the Fund experienced unprecedented growth, expanding from 18,891 participants in 1983 to 76,449 in 2000. Accompanying the increase in participation was an increase in Fund assets by an order of magnitude, growing from $521 million to $3.75 billion during the same period. 

During his 45 years of YMCA service, Mr. Smith greatly enriched the YMCA Movement with his generosity and wise counsel, sharing his passion and commitment to the YMCA through education, and by helping people plan for retirement. Mr. Smith was inducted into the National YMCA Hall of Fame at Springfield College in 2001.

Community and Board Service

In addition to his work at the YMCA Retirement Fund, Mr. Smith was also an ordained minister of the United Church of Christ (UCC) and served as a trustee on the UCC Pension Board for more than 40 years. He was a trustee emeritus of the UCC Foundation and formerly chaired its Investment Committee. Since his retirement from the YMCA Retirement Fund in 2000, he served as pastor of UCC congregations across the tri-state area.

Mr. Smith has shared his wisdom by serving on numerous boards and committees for for-profit and not-for-profit organizations, including the Springfield College Board of Trustees; the YMCA of Greater New York Board of Directors and International Branch Board of Managers (chair); YMCA International Program Services Committee (chair); Ursinus College Board of Trustees in Collegeville, Pennsylvania; and Y Mutual Insurance Company and Coins/Investment Company (treasurer).


Mr. Smith earned a bachelor’s degree from Ursinus College (1955), an M.Div. from Union Theological Seminary (1958), and an MBA from New York University (1958), where he also pursued doctoral studies. He also received honorary doctorate degrees in humanics from Springfield College, and in economics from Ursinus College. He taught investments at the Graduate School of Business at Long Island University and a Chartered Financial Analyst and member of the New York Society of Security Analysts, where he chaired several committees.


‟The Retirement Fund was a unique...”


‟I was impressed by the uniqueness...”


‟We made life good for a lot of people...”


‟Stabilizing influence...”