"The Al Stroobants Foundation was established in 2006 for the purpose of providing financial support for those activities that extol the virtues of the human spirit and have as their goals the reduction of human suffering and promotion of the public welfare through education, the advancement of science and the arts."
- Al Stroobants
A survivor of war-torn Belgium in the early 1940s, Al Stroobants did not have a normal childhood. At the age of thirteen and a half, after he had finished his basic education, he entered a trade apprentice program at Collège Technique de Charleroi where within three years he had earned a machinist tool and die certificate. Al worked in this trade until the age of 24 when he was offered an opportunity through a student exchange program to come to Buffalo, New York. He was one of only 35 young men from Belgium chosen to come to the United States. While a student, he encouraged the school to develop an intern program allowing him to earn enough money, working for Ford Motor Company, to return to Belgium. He was afterwards sponsored by Ford Motor Company to return to the United States permanently. Back here, with only $55 in his pocket, he began a life of entrepreneurship and creativity that ultimately resulted in the creation and ownership of one of the nation’s most successful small businesses. Through his hard work, ingenuity and care for his employees, Al’s company, Belgium Tool and Die (later Belvac), became the leader in the manufacture and servicing of can production machinery. At one time his company, which serviced customers in 35 countries, had 90% of the can manufacturing market in the United States and 80% worldwide. In addition, he was one of the top Angus breeders in the world, selling cattle in Japan, Australia, Brazil and Canada.
Throughout his personal and business life, Al felt he was blessed to have been able to live in the United States and to have had the opportunity to “live the American dream”. As a result of the hard life he lived as a child and young man, he developed a deep and sincere caring for less fortunate individuals, especially children. Because of his desire to continue to support those less fortunate, he provided in his will for The Al Stroobants Foundation. It is through this foundation that his legacy of caring and providing for others will endure.
Serving the citizens of Central Virginia since 2006, to include the City of Lynchburg as well as the counties of Amherst, Appomattox, Bedford, and Campbell.