The Paul Ogle Foundation was established in late December 1979, becoming operational in 1980. Entrepreneur and philanthropist Paul W. Ogle of Jeffersonville had no heirs, and transferred the majority of his business assets to the Foundation prior to his death and the remainder through his estate. He was intimately involved in the Foundation’s operations from 1980 until his death in 1989.


Three of the original founding board members, Bob Lanum, Willis Charles and Roy Nett, knew Mr. Ogle personally and still serve on the board to this day, guiding decisions that are in line with Mr. Ogle’s core beliefs and causes he supported.


The Foundation celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2010, with a total of nearly $70 million given during the past three decades to nonprofit organizations and educational institutions, primarily in Southern Indiana. The Foundation also supports groups and institutions outside of the counties that it serves so long as they in turn accommodate those Southern Indiana county residents; organizations such as the Louisville Zoo Foundation, Actors Theatre, IU Southeast, Kosair Children’s Hospital, Hanover College to name a few and many projects in Switzerland County like the Hoosier Theater.




Paul W. Ogle


Paul W. Ogle is remembered as a strong community supporter both in Southern Indiana and his native Vevay, Indiana. During his lifetime, he donated generously to create parks, fuel tourism efforts, rehabilitate historic buildings, support volunteer fire departments, and fund scholarships, among many gifts. His name has become synonymous with generosity because of the life he lived and the foundation he established prior to his death.


Mr. Ogle’s extraordinary story starts from very ordinary beginnings. He was born in June 18, 1907, and had one sister, Josephine. He dreamed of attending college and becoming a dentist, but his family ran into hard times in the 1920s so instead of going to college, Mr. Ogle pursued a career as a musician, at least initially.


Upon leaving high school, he formed a band that played on riverboats that traveled from Cincinnati to New Orleans, playing organ and saxophone. Beginning in the 1930s, Paul started a parallel career selling appliances in Vevay and then began selling propane to fuel the stoves he sold. He discussed his business with a ferry captain one day while crossing the Ohio River from Vevay to Kentucky and the captain convinced him propane was the wave of the future. Mr. Ogle went on to establish Silgas in 1934 in Vevay, moving it to Jeffersonville in the 1940s.


As Silgas prospered, he eventually faced a choice; business or music. Ultimately choosing business over music, Paul Ogle sold his saxophone and settled down in Jeffersonville to fulfill his aspirations of creating a business that would last generations. That business, Silgas, is still in operation today.


Paul’s experiences of watching his family lose property shaped his personal aspirations. As his business prospered, he sought to help both employees and customers as well as encourage aspiring college students by supporting higher education since he could not go himself. He was as modest as he was generous, living a quiet life of tremendous impact that continues to this day. Today, projects dot Southern Indiana that were made possible because of his selflessness and vision.


Friends say he would have been astounded by the support the Foundation has given to nonprofits and other institutions all around Southern Indiana. His life is a legacy that has lived long past him, and set the example for generations of entrepreneurs coming along behind him.




Video courtesy of IVY Tech Community College. Paul W. Ogle Gala Celebration - September 2010