The Canadays, Ward Murphey and Mariam Coffin, became residents of Toledo, Ohio in 1916. In 1935 Mr. Canaday took over and revived the ailing Willys Overland Corporation, a local car manufacturer, and in 1940 he led the effort to develop what became its most famous product, the JEEP. Mrs. Canaday was a poet, classical scholar, and patron of the arts.
They began a program of charitable giving in 1945, supporting educational and artistic endeavors at home and abroad. After their deaths, this tradition was continued by their family and now is carried on through the work of the Canaday Family Charitable Trust.
The Trust’s current focus on Vermont reflects the Canadays’ long-term attachment to the state where they spent many summers. That tradition also was valued and retained by the family, some of whom have become year-round residents in the state. A third valued Canaday tradition that has endured through subsequent generations is the principle of partnership, of encouraging differing interests to work together to achieve a common, sustainable philanthropic goal.