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When Gordon Cooley and Teresa Warfield were growing up in Hyattstown and Damascus, Maryland, respectively, helping friends and neighbors in need was “just something the community did. There was very little fanfare,” said Mr. Cooley. “Either through the church or some other way, those who were in a position to help just did so—we took care of each other.”
In 1999, Mr. and Mrs. Cooley established a donor-advised fund at The Community Foundation of Frederick County. Over the past several decades, The Gordon M. and Teresa Warfield Cooley Charitable Gift Fund has resulted in significant grant support to local nonprofits, including The Arc of Frederick County, Blessings in a Backpack, Goodwill Industries, Mission of Mercy, New Spire Arts, Women’s Giving Circle, Heartly House, Interfaith Housing Alliance, and more. In addition, the Cooleys have generously supported The Bar Association Justice for All Fund for many years, which helps people obtain legal services regardless of their ability to pay. Then, in 2019, the Cooleys created The Gordon and Teresa Cooley Unrestricted Fund in support of the Community Foundation’s Forever Frederick County Campaign.
Although many would say that this type of generous support for those in need is far less typical than it used to be, the Cooleys respectfully disagree. Thanks to the robust and strategic grantmaking efforts of the Community Foundation, one of the organizations they have passionately supported for 23 years, generous individuals continue to be intimately involved with ensuring the quality of life for those who live and work here.
And because Mr. and Mrs. Cooley believe financial support is only part of helping their community thrive, both have generously given their time to the Community Foundation, as well as other local nonprofits. Mrs. Cooley was a member of the Community Foundation’s Special Events committee for many years, and Mr. Cooley served on its board of trustees from 2000-2006, including a one-year term as its chairman from 2004-2005. With his return to the board in 2018 to chair the Forever Frederick County Campaign, he became the first person to serve a second term as a Community Foundation trustee.
According to Mrs. Cooley, one of the things that impressed her most about the Community Foundation is its commitment to enhancing the quality of life for all in Frederick County. “The organization is very careful to recruit representatives from all over the county to serve on its board,” she said. “The trustees are not only well-respected for their expertise in business; they are also well-known and trusted in their communities as volunteers, and this helps ensure that every area has a voice and as many people as possible are being lifted up.”
The Forever Frederick County Campaign is one of the most critical initiatives the Community Foundation has ever launched. When it was time to choose a community leader for this effort, one of the first people who came to mind was Gordon Cooley. The board of trustees knew he had the vision and the imagination to see the importance of this effort and the institutional knowledge to understand why a campaign like this was so necessary.
Mr. Cooley said that contributions to The Forever Frederick County Fund provide the Community Foundation with the resources it needs to be more flexible, act more nimbly, and respond more quickly as new, pressing needs emerge—issues that may threaten Frederick’s quality of life in the future.
“It is heartwarming to see how many donors have come forward to make gifts in support of the Forever Frederick County initiative,” he said. “That’s indicative of a very high level of community trust in this organization. When you look at the people who have come forward to serve as trustees over the past 35 years, it’s easy to understand why the community has such faith in the Community Foundation.”
For more than three decades, The Community Foundation of Frederick County has worked with donors to translate their charitable intentions into powerful acts of philanthropy. By connecting people who care with causes that matter, the Community Foundation has found a way to build community and enrich the quality of life in Frederick County—now and for generations to come.
Jack Leishear is one of the people who has reached out to the Community Foundation to help him leverage his resources to set in motion real and lasting change in Frederick County.
First introduced to The Community Foundation of Frederick County in 2001 when he was settling his father’s estate, Mr. Leishear recalls being impressed with the organization’s philosophy and leadership. In 2003, he became a supporter of the Community Foundation himself. Over the past 18 years, he has served as one of the organization’s strategic funding partners, supported basic human needs and access to health care and has given generously to the Widening Circles campaign.
Although originally from Montgomery County, Mr. Leishear has adopted Frederick County as his home. Very much a self-made man, he shares his resources with those less fortunate through The Jack V. Leishear Endowment Fund #1, which he established at the Community Foundation. The proceeds from this donor-advised fund have supported local nonprofits including the Frederick Rescue Mission, the Salvation Army, Mission of Mercy, and the Frederick County Department of Aging, Senior Services Division, as well as the American Heart Association, Fisher Center Alzheimer Research Foundation, Hearing Health Foundation, Judicial Watch, the Heritage Foundation, and WETA.
Mr. Leishear is also a member of the Community Foundation’s Cornerstone Society. In addition to the fund he established during his lifetime, the legacy gift he has provided for in his estate plan will help ensure the future of Frederick County by providing grants that will be used to address the greatest needs of our community—needs we can’t predict but must be prepared to deal with.
Being a progressive influence for change means constantly seeking new and more powerful ways to create impact. Since 2011, the Community Foundation has been working toward targeting our funding toward the most pressing issues of our community as identified in the Frederick County Human Needs Assessments that are commissioned periodically to ‘take the pulse’ of our community. In 2018, our board of trustees adopted an even more proactive approach to addressing our greatest needs, not just now but in the future as well, with the creation of the Forever Frederick County campaign.
The Forever Frederick County campaign creates funds to provide strategic grants based on Frederick County’s most pressing needs as determined by the 2018 Frederick County Human Needs Assessment and similar studies moving forward. Donors like Mr. Leishear have either given gifts now or will contribute funds through planned giving that will be available to meet these future needs as they emerge. They have put their trust in the board of trustees and the Community Foundation staff to invest their charitable gifts and grant them wisely and to act with integrity.
The Forever Frederick County Endowment Fund will provide the resources we need to shape the future and preserve the quality of life for all who call Frederick County home. With the support of donors like Mr. Leishear and thousands more like him, the Forever Frederick County Fund will be a powerful agent for change—now, tomorrow, and in perpetuity.
Since 1986, The Community Foundation of Frederick County has been the leading source for post-secondary scholarship funding in Frederick County. Our scholarships are funded by generous donors who believe in the value of education. Some of our donors want to support students aspiring to careers like theirs, which is exactly what De Willard, Rodman Myers, Frank Gladhill, and Mehrle Ramsburg had in mind when they approached the Community Foundation 12 years ago to establish The Maryland Master Farmers Scholarship Fund.
The four men are well-known in Frederick County as successful farmers and businessmen who have given back to the community in countless ways. They have each been inducted as Maryland Master Farmers, a designation awarded to farmers who are excellent land stewards and are proven leaders in their community. The Master Farmers program promotes and advances the agriculture industry and provides scholarships to students to help them pursue their educational goals.
When Mr. Willard received the Mid-Atlantic Master Farmer Award in 2002, he wanted to help interested students become better farmers through education and to have the freedom to attend any college or university of their choice. His vision was shared by Mr. Myers, Mr. Gladhill, and Mr. Ramsburg when they all founded The Maryland Master Farmers Scholarship Fund with the Community Foundation in 2007. The fund’s purpose is to provide scholarships to students who are pursuing a post-secondary education in agriculture or a related field.
To date, almost 40 students have received nearly $55,000 in scholarships. Students who have benefitted from the scholarship have studied at colleges and universities across the country such as Virginia Tech and Oklahoma State University. These students have pursued a variety of careers such as farm technicians, herdsman, and educators who keep up with the latest technology advancements in agriculture and pass those on to the next generation of farmers.
The legacies of Mr. Ramsburg (deceased), Mr. Gladhill (deceased), Mr. Myers, and Mr. Willard are carried on through the fund that will benefit generations of agricultural students to come.
Joseph Compofelice was a man dedicated to hard work, learning new skills, and mentoring others. These character traits will forever be reflected in a fund in his memory with The Community Foundation of Frederick County.
Mr. Compofelice had a long and distinguished career that can be traced back to when he was 12 years old when he began learning to paint homes. Throughout his life, he acquired multiple building skills and was always eager to learn more. He served his country with the U.S. Navy during the Vietnam War. After serving in the Navy, he began working for the Department of Energy. His broad knowledge, his ongoing quest for perfection, and his motivation to continually learn new skills enabled Mr. Compofelice to advance to the position of project manager at the Naval National Medical Center (now Walter Reed National Military Medical Center) in Bethesda. He retired after working more than 30 years with the federal government.
After Mr. Compofelice passed away, his wife Susan wanted to honor his memory and turned to the Community Foundation in 2016 to establish The Compofelice Family Fund for Building Trades. The fund’s purpose is to support organizations seeking to help Frederick County residents receive training for construction trades in the Frederick County area, with preference given to plumbing, carpentry, electrical services, masonry, and other skills associated with the building industry. Grants may be used to pay for training, educational materials, certification fees, transportation costs, and eliminating any barrier that may prevent students from completing their training program and establishing a career in the building trades.
To date, the fund has provided grants to organizations such as Platoon 22 to assist veterans with the cost of building trades certification, Frederick Career and Technology Center FFA Alumni for student safety training, and Frederick Community College Foundation in support of building trades scholarships.
Mr. Compofelice’s strong work ethic and desire to help others succeed is reflected in the fund in his memory with the Community Foundation. His legacy will help countless Frederick County residents pursue their career goals and further develop their building trades skills.
If anyone understands how unpredictable life can be, it is Michael Cumberland. As a longtime Vice President at Keller Stonebraker Insurance, Inc., he has worked with many individuals and families dealing with the fallout from unanticipated challenges affecting their health, homes, businesses, and more. While serving on The Community Foundation of Frederick County’s Grants Committee, he has read countless applications from organizations requesting funds to bridge the gap between their budgets and the cost of supporting our community’s quality of life. In June of 2017, Mike dealt with perhaps the cruelest blow of all when his wife Gina M. Cumberland passed away following a heart transplant.
“Everyone must deal with circumstances in their lives that they never saw coming,” said Mike. “And our community must also. Ten years ago, the use of opioids among the teen population, while serious, was nowhere near at the point it is today. And a little more than a year ago, no one could imagine what the coronavirus was about to set in motion. My takeaway from these situations is that even if we cannot predict them, we must prepare for them.”
Mike has watched the Community Foundation work to target, address, and predict Frederick’s areas of greatest needs for the past six years from a unique vantage point. As a member of the Community Foundation’s Board of Trustees since 2015, he has served on its Grants, Human Resources, Investment, and Audit committees. He has supported the Community Foundation’s Widening Circles campaign, The COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund, and numerous other funds related to community projects and improvements.
In October of 2017, Mike honored his late wife with the establishment of The Gina M. Cumberland Memorial Scholarship Fund. This fund has already awarded more than $4,000 in post-secondary scholarships to students who have chosen to attend an educational institution in Maryland and who have demonstrated the same community service, love, and kindness that made Gina so well-loved among all who knew her.
Most recently, Mike has been involved with the Community Foundation’s Forever Frederick County campaign, an effort to build a flexible, unrestricted endowment fund that will provide strategic grants for our community’s future needs—needs we are most likely not even aware of yet.
“I think there is something really special about Frederick County,” said Mike. “People who live here want to do what they can to support others, and I admire the way the Community Foundation has helped them do exactly that in whatever ways make sense for their needs. I have watched the Community Foundation’s efforts since the very beginning, and I have complete trust in its ability to identify the most pressing community needs—present and future—and be a vehicle for addressing those for the good of all.”
Mike said that the recent COVID-19 pandemic further reinforced his desire to do something meaningful and impactful to help safeguard the Frederick County community’s future against challenges that are impossible to predict. To help increase the unrestricted funds available to respond to emergency needs, he has made a generous gift to the Community Foundation in his estate plan.
“I could earmark my gift to be used in a certain way,” he said, “but there is no way for me to know if the use I designate will still be societally relevant by the time the Community Foundation is in a position to use those funds. Instead, I have chosen to make my planned gift an unrestricted one to the Forever Frederick County campaign, giving the Community Foundation’s future Boards of Trustees the discretion to use it where it is most needed.”
“I won’t be here to see how this gift is leveraged,” said Mike, “but I have total trust in the Community Foundation to use it to fulfill my intentions—which are simply to do my part to ensure that whatever the most pressing needs in Frederick County may be in 10, 20, or 50 years will be, the resources are there to address them.”
Among the people qualified to speak to the difference The Community Foundation of Frederick County has made to this community are James and Tamara Shoemaker, of Frederick.
James, a local attorney whose services include estate planning and administration, and Tamara, a licensed psychologist, made their first gift to the Community Foundation’s Helen Smith Scholarship Fund for Children and the Arts in 1997. Since then, they have contributed generously. In 2009, James began a six-year term on the Community Foundation’s Board of Trustees, serving as Chairman from 2013-2014. In 2018, they created The James R. and Tamara L. Shoemaker Charitable Fund to provide grants to Frederick County nonprofits that provide critical services for people and to organizations that support animal well-being.
“During my service, I had a unique opportunity to see what a powerful catalyst for change The Community Foundation of Frederick County is,” said James.
Last year, the Shoemakers made a gift to Forever Frederick County, the Community Foundation’s flexible and unrestricted endowment fund that will provide strategic grants based on this community’s most pressing needs as they emerge—now, and in the future. The current needs were determined by the 2018 Human Needs Assessment, and in the future, the results of similar studies will direct grant-making.
“I think Forever Frederick County is an important addition to the funds managed at the Community Foundation,” said James. “We already have funds that are targeted to the areas that have been identified through our Needs Assessments, but we have learned that not every need can be anticipated or planned for. It’s impossible to predict what our community’s greatest needs will be in the future-- yet being prepared to respond quickly to these will be key to managing and remediating them.”
Giving an organization this type of discretion takes trust, says James, but he believes the Community Foundation’s track record of making careful and prudent decisions about where, when, and how to use the proceeds of any unrestricted gifts speaks for itself.
“I’ve been involved with other charitable organizations over the years, both locally and outside of the area,” he says. “I have never seen an organization run as efficiently or as effectively as The Community Foundation of Frederick County. The Trustees go to great lengths to be sure the investments are secure and adequately diversified. There is a superb staff who recruit and manage exceptionally well-trained volunteers who review more than 1,200 scholarship applications every year. The procedure for awarding grants is meticulous and thorough. Every aspect of the organization is exceedingly well run.”
“Whether you want to contribute now or later through your estate,” he concludes, “the Community Foundation can help guide you in creating a meaningful, lasting impact through a legacy that is uniquely yours.”
Donald Lewis was a well-known Frederick County citizen from Thurmont who made a lasting impact on his community. He was an Army veteran, businessman, politician, and community philanthropist who left a permanent legacy by creating funds with The Community Foundation of Frederick County to benefit local nonprofits and provide educational opportunities. With his vision for the future, Mr. Lewis took a big step to ensure that Frederick County continues to be a place that future generations will be proud to call home, just as he did.
Born in Thurmont, Mr. Lewis grew up working on his grandparents’ farm and graduated from Thurmont High School in 1935. Following his graduation, he enlisted in the Civilian Conservation Corps where he met his future wife, Freda. Mr. Lewis later joined the United States Army and was awarded a Purple Heart after being wounded in France during World War II.
In the years following the war, Mr. Lewis returned home and began his entrepreneurial career with his wife Freda. The couple opened Lewis Confectionery in 1952 in Thurmont, and later opened Lewis Sporting Goods Store next door, both of which were community destinations that they owned for many years. Mr. Lewis later served his community through two terms as mayor of Thurmont and two terms as Frederick County Commissioner. As a commissioner, he served as liaison to the Maryland General Assembly in Annapolis.
Mr. Lewis had a successful business and political career, but he was also a generous supporter of causes that mattered to him. He was a longtime supporter of Citizens Care and Rehabilitation Center and Montevue Assisted Living. He cared for his wife for several years after she had a stroke, and the experience inspired him to do something that would create lasting impact at the Citizens and Montevue facilities.
In 2012, Mr. Lewis turned to the Community Foundation to establish The Donald L. Lewis Staff Education Fund for Citizens Care & Rehabilitation Center and Montevue Assisted Living Fund. The fund’s purpose is to provide Citizens and Montevue staff with access to continuing education and training, such as support for tuition, books, resource materials, and professional development. To date, the fund has distributed more than $100,000 for educational support for employees.
Mr. Lewis passed away in 2018 at age 99. With his vision for the future of Frederick County, he made provisions in his estate to create the following funds with the Community Foundation to benefit local nonprofits: The Donald Lewis Community Impact Fund for The Religious Coalition for Emergency Human Needs, Meals on Wheels, The Community Foundation of Frederick County, Frederick Rescue Mission, Advocates for the Aging, and Mission of Mercy.
Donors like Donald Lewis place their trust in the Community Foundation to help them support the nonprofits and causes they care about. Their vision for the future helps ensure that Frederick County remains a vibrant community for generations to come.
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