Harold Winship loved helping his father grow soybeans and corn and tend to livestock on his family’s 270-acre farm when he was young. While his siblings sought careers in other fields, there was only one field for Harold — he earned both his bachelor’s and his master’s degree in Agricultural Economics at the University of Illinois.
Harold worked in farm management for several years, until he and his wife Judy started their own successful farm management company in 2004.
In 2009, Harold saw a Smile Train advertisement for the first time and it piqued his interest. Harold liked that Smile Train provided cleft surgeries year-round through local doctors, but it was simply the image of a child after cleft surgery with a beaming smile that inspired his first donation.
When Harold’s mother passed away, Harold and Judy agreed that they’d shoulder the responsibility that has had been passed down in their family for generations — the two bought the family farm.
Harold said that owning the farm allowed him to increase his donations to Smile Train because now he could donate grain directly to Smile Train. To explain how the charitable donation of grain works, Harold said, “At harvest time, I have the grain elevator set aside a certain amount for Smile Train. I don’t have count the sale against my income as I’m not selling the grain, just gifting it. After that, Smile Train owns the grain and they can sell it whenever they want. It’s a great benefit for farmers – the IRS would tell you the same thing*,” said Harold.
Last harvest, Harold gifted 1,000 bushels of corn to Smile Train, which Smile Train’s Senior Vice President of Operations Bill Horan sold for $3,500 — the equivalent of 14 smiles.
When asked how he feels that the grain he works so hard to produce has now provided 40 smiles for children in the developing world, Harold said, “Children living with untreated clefts face hardships — our family has been blessed and we can help. We will never know these kids, but it’s comforting to know that Smile Train will get them what they need.”
Harold and Judy are currently planning a gathering for the 150th anniversary of the family farm, with relatives coming in from all over the country to celebrate.
Smile Train hopes that Harold’s farm continues to provide for Harold, his community, and children born with clefts around the world for years to come. If you would like to join Harold in his support of Smile Train and help us provide more children around the world with new smiles and second chances at life, please make a gift today.
*This doesn’t constitute legal advice, please check your local laws and regulations for the tax benefits of gifts of grain.