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Brad D. Smith introduces panel guests during the Lewis College of Business and Brad D. Smith Schools of Business Dean’s Distinguished Speaker Series inaugural CEO Panel on Feb. 19 in Huntington.

CHARLESTON — Kenova native Brad D. Smith, former CEO of Intuit, has been chosen as the WV KIDS COUNT Champion of Children for 2020, and will be celebrated at the State of West Virginia’s Kids Virtual Summit Awards next month.

Ahead of the release of the 2020 WV KIDS COUNT Data Book, WV KIDS COUNT, which aims to provide trusted data about the well-being of West Virginia’s children and build alliances to advocate for what they need, is recognizing community leaders who champion the group’s child well-being domains: education, health, economic well-being and family and community.

“With some very recognizable names, we are honored to shed a bright light on West Virginians who lead by example,” the group said in a news release.

Smith is the co-founder of The Wing 2 Wing Foundation, an organization whose goal is to advance the great equalizers of education and entrepreneurship in regions where individuals and communities have been overlooked and underserved.

He and his wife, Alys, personally donated $25 million to Marshall University because they believe in education and economic opportunity. Smith also led Intuit to establish a prosperity hub in downtown Bluefield, West Virginia, planned to create up to 500 jobs.

“He is a true West Virginia success story — a son of Marshall University and champion of all that is good in the Mountain State,” WV KIDS COUNT says.

Other honorees

Education Champion of Children:

n Dr. Gordon Gee, president of West Virginia University

Economic Well-Being Champion of Children

Nikki Bowman Mills, founder of New South Media Inc.

Health Champion of Children:

n Dr. Larry Rhodes, professor of pediatrics at WVU School of Medicine

Family and Community Champion of Children

n Linda McKinney, director of Five Loaves & Two Fishes Food Bank in McDowell County.

All Champions have a lifelong dedication to improving the well-being of children in the Mountain State and believe every child in West Virginia counts.

This year the State of West Virginia’s Kids Summit & Awards will be from noon to 1:30 p.m. Oct. 6 at Edgewood Country Club in Charleston. KIDS COUNT board members, award winners and regional ambassadors will be the only ones present. The event will be live on the West Virginia KIDS COUNT Facebook page. All are welcome.

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