About the Olympia Tumwater Foundation

Our Story

Founded in 1950, the Olympia Tumwater Foundation is a local charitable organization that traces its roots to the Schmidt family of Tumwater and the famous Olympia Brewing Company.

The Foundation is governed by a board of respected community leaders and has a long history of public spirit and community goodwill. Today the Foundation is best known for the pair of properties it owns and maintains for public use – Brewery Park at Tumwater Falls and the historic Schmidt House – and the numerous college scholarships it awards to local students each year.

The first project of the Olympia Tumwater Foundation was the donation of the magnificent Tivoli Fountain to the citizens of Washington State. The fountain was dedicated on the Capitol grounds in 1953.

Brewery Park at Tumwater Falls

Brewery Park at Tumwater Falls, one of the many local legacies of the former Olympia Brewery and the founding Schmidt family, was created in 1962 as a gift to the citizens of Thurston County to preserve open space and sustain the natural habitat and history of the Deschutes River Canyon.

The Historic Schmidt House

In 1983, the Foundation acquired Tumwater’s elegant Schmidt House, the home built in 1904 for Olympia Brewing Company founder Leopold Schmidt. The historic house now serves as the headquarters of our award-winning “Heritage Builders” history program and as a venue for historical and cultural events.

OTF Education Program

Since 1967, the Foundation has provided over $2.5 million in scholarships to high school seniors in Thurston County, with over $1 million given in the past 6 years.

Our Mission

The original mission of the Foundation was one of general philanthropy. “Its articles of incorporation are quite broad,” reported The Daily Olympian in the early 1960s, “and allow it to do almost any good deed it wants to within the boundaries of the state.” Over the years OTF has supported a range of worthwhile activities from regional medical research to preservation of Northwest history.

The Olympia Tumwater Foundation honors both the history and future of Thurston County through its commitment to a wide range of community projects including student scholarships, historic preservation, and stewardship pf the Schmidt House and Brewery Park at Tumwater Falls. Through such civic involvement, the Foundation continues the tradition of Philanthropy and responsible citizenship established by the Schmidt family and the Olympia Brewing Company.

(Left photo) Former OTF board president, Peter G. Schmidt, and Washington State governor, Arthur B. Langlie, at the 1953 dedication of the Tivoli Fountain. (Right photo) Current OTF board president, Lee Wojnar, and Washington State governor, Jay Inslee, at the 2017 rededication of the Tivoli Fountain.

See OTF History Through Photos

Explore the history of the Tumwater area and the Olympia Tumwater Foundation through vintage photos. In 2020, OTF was awarded a grant from the Thurston County Historic Commission. This grant allowed OTF to digitize over 4,400 images from its collection. We are still adding more photos as we digitize more of our archives. Collections of photos are organized by time period and subject, including photos of the iconic Olympia Brewing Company from its inception to the early 2000s.

Foundation Staff Members

John Freedman

Executive Director
(360) 943-2550

Madeline (Maddy) Pennington

Assistant Director
(509) 393-9248

Karen Johnson

Schmidt House Curator
(360) 890-2299

Jose Guzman

Maintenance Manager
(360) 890-2299

Erica Stock Williams

Development Director
(503) 522-9416

Support our programs

Created by the Olympia Brewing Company to conduct their philanthropic efforts, our organization aims to enrich our local community through a variety of programs. 

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