In May of 1954 The Schowalter Foundation was chartered. From 1954 through 1957 claims and all matters pertaining to the J. A. Schowalter estate were settled. The first distribution of properties to The Schowalter Foundation was in 1954 and the final distribution was in October 1957. Total distributions from the estate of J. A. Schowalter to The Schowalter Foundation were just over $1 million in assets. Farm real estate in Kansas and Oklahoma along with producing oil and gas wells made up 82% of the assets, stocks and bonds were 16% of the value and the remaining 2% was cash and equipment.
According to the terms of the will, the capital assets of The Schowalter Foundation were to remain generally intact and only the income was to be distributed as grants for specific projects to other charitable organizations. The first grants were made in 1956. In the early years, grants averaged about $60,000 per year. Income and value of assets continued to grow as did the amount of grants. After 15 years, charitable grants, in total, had exceeded $1 million, the total value of assets initially received by the Foundation from the Schowalter estate.
The Schowalter Foundation continued under prudent management and after 25 years, through 1978, the net value of assets exceeded $3.6 million (more than 3 times the initial value) and the total charitable grants through 1978 exceeded $2.0 million (2 times the initial value of the transferred estate.)
The assets of the Schowalter Foundation have continued to grow. In the early years of the Foundation some additional charitable gifts were received including farmland contributions. However, the majority of the increased value of the Foundation has been due to increases in the market value of farmland and some discovery of oil and gas resources. The market value of farmland, oil and gas royalty interests and marketable securities has grown steadily along with the steady increase in charitable grants provided. Total value of assets grew from $1.0 million to $3.6 million in the first 25 years of operation.
After 50 years, by 2003 the value had grown to $12 million. Currently, the value of the total assets of The Schowalter Foundation is approximately $25 million.
Now and the Future
In 2006 another milestone was reached with total charitable grants exceeding $10 million. In 2018 another huge milestone of charitable grants from The Schowalter Foundation was reached, total charitable grants of $20 million! In 2018 this legacy of J.A. Schowalter, has provided $20 million in total charitable grants as a result of the original funding of The Schowalter Foundation. Funding for worthy charitable projects, mostly Mennonite related, now equals more than 20 times the original value of assets provided to The Schowalter Foundation.