Longtime lawmaker shifts to philanthropy

Steve Smith speaks at Maricopa City Hall on March 7, 2023.

The Scottsdale-based T.W. Lewis Foundation hired Steve Smith, former Republican state lawmaker representing Maricopa, as its new executive director.  

Smith served as a state representative and state senator in Districts 11 and 23 during an eight-year stint from 2011-2019. 

In 2018, he finished runner-up in a Republican Congressional primary. 

In his new T.W. Lewis Foundation role, Smith manages grant distribution, nonprofit assessments and activities to enhance the foundation’s overall core program areas. 

Tom Lewis and his wife, Jan, founded the T.W. Lewis Foundation, which supports more than 30 local and national nonprofit organizations.  

Lewis also founded the T.W. Lewis Company, a Scottsdale-based home-building, real estate investment and property management firm. He lauded Smith’s career history. 

“Steve is an energetic and entrepreneurial leader with significant experience in the public sector and private philanthropy,” Lewis said in a statement. “We are extremely grateful to have found an executive director with his depth of experience and passion for our mission.” 

In the eight years Smith served in the Arizona legislature, he was ranked the No. 1 lawmaker in the state. He was recognized for his work in balancing the state budget, protecting the rights of families and supporting the military and first responders. 

Last year, in his role as director for the American Federation for Children, Smith was featured nationally among the top leaders in K-12 education for his work in helping implement school choice in Arizona. 

“It is an honor to work with Tom Lewis and the great team at the T.W. Lewis Foundation,” said Smith. “I look forward to bringing my experience and dedication to the foundation to build upon the incredible mission Tom and Jan Lewis started in helping children and families in need, impacting youth through Christian education, supporting civic-minded causes, strengthening America and building God’s kingdom.”