The Foundation’s namesake, Buffalo native John R. Oishei, was a highly respected businessman whose company changed an industry, and a visionary philanthropist whose generosity continues to impact countless lives.
Starting by accident
In 1916, a harrowing car crash in the middle of a rainstorm inspired Oishei to start researching and marketing wiper blades for cars, which had not been widely used at that time. When demand for his products increased, Oishei founded Trico Products Corporation, which became one of the world’s leading windshield wiper manufacturers and a major employer in Buffalo.
Sharing the wealth
As his fortunes grew, Oishei became a generous philanthropist and established what would become The John R. Oishei Foundation to honor his mother and wife. From the beginning, The Foundation concentrated its support on hospitals and schools in the Buffalo area, and on cultural organizations due to his love of the theater. Today, we continue to address these key areas—which have proven to generate a significant impact throughout the community—while strategically expanding our reach.
A legacy that lives on
While Oishei made his gifts anonymously in The Foundation’s early years, today we proudly share his name far and wide—both as a tribute to his generosity and as an inspiration to others to follow his lead.
Although a completely separate entity from the Foundation, The John R. Oishei Children’s Hospital—towering above the city a mere quarter-mile from Oishei’s first Trico factory—was named as a tribute to his remarkable legacy.