The Sendzimir Foundation was established by Tadeusz Sendzimir (born as Sędzimir; 1894-1989), a well-known Polish engineer and inventor in the field of mining and metallurgy. His discoveries and inventions were used all over the world and revolutionized metal processing methods. At the same time, Sendzimir was aware of the environmental impacts of industry and other fields of human activity. At the end of the 1980s, when the scale of environmental damage in the Eastern Bloc countries was revealed, he decided to set up a foundation to support and implement sustainable development in Poland.
Tadeusz Sendzimir – the father of modern metallurgy
He was born in Lviv as Tadeusz Sędzimir. From an early age, he demonstrated both talent and interest in technology. Studied at the Faculty of Mechanics at the Lviv Polytechnical School and after the outbreak of World War I, when the school was closed, he worked as a mechanic in car repair shops. He then fled to Shanghai, where he set up a factory producing nails, screws and wire, and developed his first innovative solutions for the galvanization of sheet metal. The technology he developed, currently called the Sendzimir process, turned out to be not only more effective, but also faster, cheaper and safer for workers than the previously used methods. At that time he tried to draw interest of American and German industrialists to the rolling mills of his design, but – due to the Great Depression – to no avail. In 1933, he managed to launch an innovative technological line in Kostuchno, near Katowice in Poland. The sheet metal poduced there turned out to be so good that orders started coming in from abroad. Tadeusz moved first to Paris, and in 1939 to the USA, where he settled permanently. He changed his name to Sendzimir and in 1946 obtained American citizenship. In the 1930s and 1940s, the rolling mills, that he developed and continued to improve, started operating on large scale in the USA and Europe. By the time of his death, over 400 of the rolling mills were in operation in 35 countries around the world. Tadeusz Sendzimir obtained a total of about 120 patents in various fields (73 of them in the USA). He received numerous awards and his inventions transformed the world metallurgical industry. The two companies that he founded are still in operation in the United States. He died in 1989 in Florida.
You can learn more about the life and achievements of Tadeusz Sendzimir from the short film (in Polish).
From The Sendzimir Foundation to Fundacja Sendzimira
Tadeusz Sendzimir financially supported various institutions and Polish diaspora organizations in the USA. He funded, among others The Kościuszko Foundation, which brought Polish scientists and students to study in the United States. From 1964 Sendzimir was a member of its supervisory board. He was also, inter alia, the Board president of the Polish Institute of Arts and Sciences of America in New York. He also established a foundation of his own name in the USA, whose mission from the very beginning was to protect the environment and promote sustainable development in Poland. This foundation, led by his son, Jan Sendzimir, PhD and his wife, Gisela Bosch, PhD, played a very important role in creating and shaping the sustainable development specialists in Poland. For 18 years, since 1998, the foundation ran intensive training called the Challenges of Sustainable Development in Poland, which was the first available educational program in the field of sustainable local development and corporate sustainability. After some time, the course alumni joined the programme team, and together with Jan Sendzimir, decided to transfer all activities to Poland. As a result, the operations of the American Sendzimir Foundation were finished, and in its place, the Polish Sendzimir Foundation was established in 2008. This allowed not only to continue the activities but also to significantly expand their scale, thanks to new external sources of financing.