The Story of Ed...


When Ed Lowe died in October 1995 the groundwork had already been laid to ensure that his entrepreneurial legacy would live on. Through his philanthropic activities both with the foundation and elsewhere, he established a template for paying it forward, so that others could benefit from his generosity.

Encouraging America’s entrepreneurs

After creating a billion-dollar industry that established the cat as the nation’s most popular pet, Ed Lowe set his creative sights on nurturing other entrepreneurs. This included a number of investments and activities such as:

* Speaking at universities, colleges and national associations to promote the importance of America’s entrepreneurs.

* Creating an Entrepreneurs Learning Service to provide entrepreneurs with quick answers to practical questions.

* Establishing an entrepreneur’s boot camp at Big Rock Valley Farms (BRV). Under the direction of the American Academy of Entrepreneurs, this initiative provided counseling and curriculum to reinforce the chances of entrepreneurial success. (In 1991 Ed donated his estate at BRV to serve as headquarters for the Edward Lowe Foundation.)

* Hosting a series of discussion groups to give small businesses a voice in national economic-development policy. Held in select Midwestern cities, these forums were known as the Free Enterprise Briefings.

On the corporate front, Ed sold his majority interest in Edward Lowe Industries in 1990. He retained, however, his stock in Granulation Technology Inc. and the patent for processing paper sludge into pellets, recognizing that there was a limited supply of clay for the cat-box-fillers but no apparent limit to the supply of paper sludge. He also purchased a glass company in 1991. This firm, which produced a line of glass tiles with unusual color and depth, won an American Society of Designers Award in 1994.

Ed Lowe died on Oct. 4, 1995. His legacy includes a passion for entrepreneurship and recognition of its role in a robust U.S. economy as well as a commitment to land stewardship to ensure future generations can continue use and enjoy our land.


10/1/1990 — Led by Good Capital Co. of New York and Knightsbridge Inc. of Chicago, an investment group purchases the clay division of ELI.

6/21/1991 — Ed Lowe receives the Outstanding Creative Achievement Award from the Creative Education Foundation in Buffalo, N.Y., for his role in creating a major pet industry.

6/1992 — “Monuments to Free Enterprise” airs on national television. This documentary video, which was produced by South Bend-based Golden Dome Productions for the foundation, explores the personal and professional history of Ed Lowe and his efforts to help other entrepreneurs.

3/3/1994 — Ed Lowe presents the results of his Free Enterprise Briefings to President Clinton and Erskine Bowles, chief of the U.S. Small Business Administration.

6/1995 — A longtime supporter of his community, Ed Lowe donates $500,000 and land to the Cass County Council on Aging to jump-start construction on a proposed $2.2-million facility.

10/4/1995 — Ed Lowe dies.