News & Event
Sometimes legacies are a surprise. The notice from The Office of the Register of Wills stating that the Community Foundation was named as an interested party in the estate of Calvin Murray was routine. As the story unfolded, we learned that Mr. Murray wished to establish a charitable fund supporting two nonprofits: The Howard Chapel Ridgeville United Methodist Church (UMC), and Frederick Memorial Hospital. The surprise? Mr. Murray wasn’t known to us, nor had he let us know in advance that he wished to create funds benefitting his church and the hospital. Even more surprising was the estimated size of the estate – more than $20 million.
We’re always sorry to hear of someone’s death, of course, and establishing a charitable fund with proceeds from the estate is not unusual. A well -respected resident of Mount Airy, Maryland, Mr. Murray was described as a quiet individual who was always in touch with local news. He lived and worked on the family farm his entire life. As a youth, he received numerous awards from 4-H for raising and showing farm animals. His prize cattle awards provided the opportunity to serve as a Maryland delegate to the National 4-H Conference in 1946. He also received top honors for his animal projects from Future Farmers of America. After graduating from high school, he continued working on his family’s farm, and other land acquired nearby.
Mr. Murray and his parents were life-long members of The Howard Chapel Ridgeville UMC, and he participated in the youth group and served the church in his younger years through various volunteer roles. Mr. Murray’s extended family said the bequest to the church was a direct reflection of his parent’s dedication to the church and their very active involvement.
He was kind and cared about others, even those he didn’t know. Mr. Murray decided to name Frederick Memorial Hospital as a grant recipient because he received excellent care when admitted with a health issue. He knew that others in the community might need hospital care but may not be able to afford it, and he wanted to use his resources to help.
Mr. Murray passed away in January 2012. The Calvin Murray Charitable Fund was established, and in August 2014, the first grants were presented to The Howard Chapel Ridgeville UMC and Frederick Memorial Hospital. The church used its initial grant towards an addition to the building and updating other parts of the building to be compliant with the American with Disabilities Act. Representatives from the church anticipated future grants to provide support of mission projects in the Mount Airy, Maryland area, as well as other places in the United States and the world.
Frederick Memorial Hospital used its first grant towards The James M. Stockman Cancer Institute, which was under construction at the time. This state of the art facility that opened in the summer of 2017, now provides diagnosis, treatment, cancer patient follow-up, and support services under one roof. The annual grant now supports other programs and projects at the hospital.
Calvin Murray left a legacy that will positively impact countless people in perpetuity as annually, each entity will receive a grant that will support their programs. Fortunately, he had specified his wishes via his attorney in advance, and we were able to create his fund to carry out his charitable wishes exactly as he wanted. But because we didn’t know of his charitable intentions in advance of his death, we weren’t able to say thank you, and that’s sad.
We realize that Mr. Murray’s estate, in its size, is the exception rather than the rule. It’s important to know that no matter the size of your estate, every gift creates impact in the community. If you decide you would like to create a charitable fund with the Community Foundation that becomes active after your passing, we encourage you to talk with your professional advisors and us in advance, rather than to make it a surprise. That way, we understand what you wish to do and the legacy you’d like to leave. And, we can thank you personally for your vision and plans to help Frederick County be its best.
How often do you meet people now who are born, raised, and live their entire lives in the same place? Frederick County is a place where this phenomenon is not uncommon, but increasingly unlikely as the years pass.
Meredith and Helen Young are two people who spent their entire lives here. In 2009, the year both passed away, they were well into their 90’s. Graduates of Frederick High School, Meredith was employed immediately following graduation by Fredericktown Bank and Trust (now PNC Bank) as a runner. He began learning many of the other bank positions, but his career was interrupted while he served in WWII as a Master Sergeant in the 146th Finance Section of the Army, experiencing both the European and Pacific theatres of war. Meredith returned to the bank following the war, and in 1957, became assistant vice-president. In January 1959, he became the youngest bank president in the City of Frederick, at the age of 46. He was active in the community, including Rotary Club of Frederick, where he became a Paul Harris Fellow; a charter member of the Frederick Jaycees; vice-chairman of the March of Dimes; a member of the board of trustees of Frederick Memorial Hospital; served on the Board of Associates at Hood College; a member of the A.F. & A. Masonic Lodge, receiving a 70-year Masonic pin; and a member of the Francis Scott Key American Legion Post 11. This list is slightly pared down due to limited space!
Helen Brown was hired by Fredericktown Bank and Trust after her graduation from Hood College in 1935. There she met Meredith, and they were married in October 1943. Helen’s bank career lasted 41 years until her retirement in 1978 as vice-president and trust officer. She was community-minded as well, as a life member of the Frederick Memorial Hospital Auxiliary, and a 40-year member of the board of directors for the G. Frank Thomas Foundation. Both Helen and Meredith were 65+ year members of Evangelical Lutheran Church.
The Youngs were generous with their time and resources and were described by a close friend as having spent much of their lifetime “quietly helping students acquire an education.” They were modest and didn’t want attention or publicity about their good deeds. They recognized the value of education and sought to ensure that studying at the post-secondary level was available.
Meredith was the second of the couple to pass away, and after his death, The W. Meredith S. Young and Helen B. Young Scholarship Fund was established through a bequest to the Community Foundation. Since 2012, more than $260,000 in scholarships have been provided to Frederick County students from the fund. The Youngs also made bequests to Rotary Club of Frederick and the Historical Society of Frederick County. Those organizations decided to create funds through the Community Foundation as a way of ensuring they could fulfill their goals. The Rotary Club of Frederick/W. Meredith S. Young and Helen B. Young Scholarship Fund was created, and since 2012 has provided more than $100,000 in scholarships to area students. The Historical Society created The Meredith and Helen Young Facilities Enhancement and Preservation Fund to support the maintenance and preservation of its buildings. Grants provided since 2012 exceed $125,000.
Meredith and Helen contributed immensely to the quality of life in Frederick County, both professionally and personally, during their lifetime. They continue to have great impact as scholarships will be provided annually, and the history of our county will continue to be preserved because of their foresight. They are a true example of For Good. Forever. For Frederick County.
There’s a story behind every fund created at the Community Foundation. Let’s start with one of the very first: the Smith Sisters, who created The Mary E. M. and Ruth E. Smith Scholarship Fund. They were dedicated schoolteachers and community volunteers who cared deeply about the children they taught and the community they lived in, and they left a legacy that’s benefited nearly 300 students pursuing education as a career.
If you attended Parkway Elementary in the 1940’s, 50’s, or first half of the 60’s, you’re not too old to remember these remarkable women. Mary and Ruth taught school for 42 and 44 years respectively. Mary was also an administrator, serving as principal of Parkway Elementary from 1940 to 1966. Early in her career, she spent 13 years as a “teaching principal” at Urbana Elementary, meaning she taught all seven grades and served as head administrator. Mary was the first teacher and principal in Frederick County to earn a master’s degree, and Ruth was the second elementary teacher to accomplish this.
In a June 1966 article by The Frederick News-Post covering Mary’s retirement, she said the key to a rewarding life is to identify with a cause that is bigger than yourself and then lose yourself in the cause. As devoted teachers, education was the cause to which Mary and Ruth “lost” themselves during their lifetime. After their lifetime, they wanted to help others be successful teachers and administrators. Through their fund, they have continued to support their cause and build their legacy.
Each year, approximately a dozen students receive a college scholarship from this fund that helps them pursue their dream of becoming a teacher and getting “lost in their cause” by positively influencing the lives of young learners. Some have returned to teach in Frederick County, but no matter where they’ve gone, the impact of Mary and Ruth’s scholarship has gone with them.
This fund also holds a significant place in the Community Foundation’s history, as it was the first large endowment fund to be managed by the board of trustees. It was originally established with Fredericktown Bank and Trust Company and then transferred in 1987, just one year after the Community Foundation was incorporated as a public charity. It is still one of the largest endowed scholarship funds under management and contributes significantly to the $1 million total of all scholarships presented annually.
What are the causes in which you can “lose” yourself? How can your efforts make a difference? What kind of legacy do you wish to leave? Only you know the answer to the first question. The Community Foundation can help you answer the others. You don’t have to be wealthy to create a lasting legacy. All you need is the desire to something meaningful with the resources you have.
April is the official month for recognizing the contributions, talents, time, energy, and resourcefulness of the millions of volunteers who contribute in countless ways to society. National Volunteer Week began in 1974 when President Richard Nixon established it via executive order. In 1989, President George H. W. Bush designated April as National Volunteer Month as part of the 1000 Points of Light Campaign. It’s estimated that 63 million Americans give volunteer hours, which equates to billions of hours and billions of dollars in economic impact.
Today’s column is dedicated to the thousands of volunteers who are giving back in Frederick County. More specifically, it’s dedicated to the hundreds who help the Community Foundation carry out its mission of “For Good. Forever. For Frederick County.”
There are more than 160 people who have served or are currently serving as trustees on the Community Foundation’s board since 1986 when the organization was founded. The average term length is six years, the board meets monthly, attends Community Foundation sponsored events, and represents the Community Foundation at other meetings and functions throughout the county. Every trustee also serves on one or more committees which means additional meetings, preparation, and “homework” to research, review, or follow-up on some aspect of the committee’s work.
Our committees have, as of our FY2018 Committee listing in our annual report, 185 positions, as some people serve on multiple committees. Our largest committee is the Scholarship Committee, where between 80 and 100 people give between 10 and 20 hours each spring to review the more than 1,300 scholarship applications received in March. This is truly a labor of love as each application is reviewed by at least three people in the decision-making process. (Each committee member doesn’t review all 1,300 applications – these are divided up, but some committee members might be reviewing and scoring between 25 and 50 applications.) The Grants Committee, while smaller in number, also contributes countless hours to review grant applications in our impact and strategic grant cycles – another daunting task when the dollar amount of grant requests always exceeds the amount of money available.
Other committees, such as the Development, Governance, Audit, Investment, Human Resources, Marketing, Professional Advisor, Real Estate, Trusts and Estates, and Strategic Planning, require great volunteer power to keep the wheels of the Community Foundation in motion.
There are also volunteers who are not part of a committee. These are the good folks who help stuff envelopes, make phone calls, assist in setting up for events, file name badges, and a whole list of other chores. We are so grateful for this help, as it frees up the staff for other work.
Have you considered adding to your legacy by volunteering? There are many opportunities in Frederick County that can make a difference, from mentoring youth, helping people learn the English language, serving meals to those in need, and much more. Volunteering is powerful – it brings people together for causes they have in common, and studies cite the mental and physical health benefits.
As you consider your volunteer legacy, here’s a message to every Community Foundation volunteer and every volunteer in Frederick County: thank you. Your efforts do not go unnoticed, your passion is contagious, and the impact for good that you create is priceless.
When The Helen L. Smith Scholarship Fund for Children and the Arts was created in 1994, no one imagined that more than 5,400 youth between the ages of six and twelve would have participated in art classes at The Delaplaine Arts Center to date. The Helen Smith Free Workshops for Kids are supported with grants from the fund, and one sign of its success and popularity is the waiting list of kids hoping to secure a spot.
Helen Smith, one of Frederick County’s renowned artists, was born in 1894 and would have celebrated her 125th birthday on January 21, 2019. Her 100th birthday was honored in 1994 with a luncheon and exhibit of her works, organized by the Community Foundation, Hood College, and numerous local organizations of which Helen was a member, and the fund to provide art scholarships for children was announced.
Helen attended Maryland Institute of Art on a scholarship her uncle discovered was available, which provided for one student from every county in Maryland to study. She graduated in 1916 and then taught art at Hood College for the next eight years. In a time when it was acceptable for women to be teachers but not entrepreneurs, Helen opened an art shop on North Market Street. An article in the January 21, 1994 edition of The Frederick News-Post quoted her as saying “It was very daring. I had my kiln I set up in my shop, and I painted right there.” Ten years later, Helen moved her business to what was then considered the “country” in Frederick County – Braddock Heights. Many said she wouldn’t survive, but her business thrived. Her reputation as an artist, including the painting of clock faces, silhouettes, plates, other dishware, family coats of arms, flowers, landscapes, animals, and portraits, even captured national attention at times, including Mamie Eisenhower and Richard Nixon, when he served as Vice-President of the United States.
Helen’s artistry is still in motion beyond her lifetime not only through the countless pieces of her art treasured by so many but through the workshops at the Delaplaine. The classes are taught by qualified instructors, and each class focuses on a specific artist, art movement, technique, or art period. It includes creative time for each student to make a piece of art using the lessons learned. A schedule of upcoming classes in 2019 includes yarn wall art, landscape drawing, experimental painting, and more. And while not every student ends up with an art career, youth who participated have later entered the Bettie Awards, the Delaplaine’s high school art contest, and other youth have come back to help with the workshops as interns or volunteers. Helen would be proud of this legacy.
You don’t have to be a renowned artist to create your own legacy. Simply wanting to do something to benefit others is enough. Scholarships supporting education at many levels, or grants helping organizations or causes important to you can happen through your own fund at the Community Foundation. Just like Helen, your legacy is unique to you.
We celebrated Mother’s Day yesterday, May 12. Millions of people bought cards, flowers, candy and other symbols of love to show their appreciation for their mom, mother-in-law, grandmother, godmother, and anyone who has filled the role of “mom” at various times.
The Community Foundation celebrates Mother’s Day, too. We work with donors looking for ways to honor their mothers, and we have helped many families create funds that recognize their mother’s profession, interests, causes, or simply the love they received from her.
Scholarship funds and funds that help children in Frederick County are often created, and it’s important to know that while many funds have similarities, every fund created is unique to the person or family or cause it represents. For example, The Margaret E. Brust Nursing Scholarship Fund provides post-secondary scholarships to students studying nursing and was created by Charles and Betty Brust in honor of Margaret, Charles’ mother, who was a dedicated nurse to countless people. Virginia K. Draper was a beloved wife, mother, grandmother, and educator in Frederick County from 1939 to 1980, and her son, daughter-in-law and granddaughter created The Virginia K. Draper Memorial Scholarship Fund to provide post-secondary scholarships to students studying education. The Frederick Arts Council Thelma Gross Music Scholarship Fund was created by daughter Anne-Lynn Gross, to remember Thelma, a teacher, singer, pianist, and poet, and her love of music that was passed down to Anne-Lynn. Tuvy Guss and Tracey Ellis-Guss established The Jean Ellis and Florence Guss Memorial Fund to be able to give back to the community because their mothers instilled in them the importance of philanthropy and volunteering. Tuvy and Tracey named the fund after their mothers to honor and remember their contributions and impact on the community.
There are many more: The Martha Murphy Virts Fund for St. Joseph’s Ministries provides support to the St. Joseph’s nursing home facility in Emmitsburg (formerly St. Catherine’s Nursing Center) and was created by Edgar Virts, Jr., to honor his mother who was a dedicated nurse. The Markey/Hooper Fund for The Child Advocacy Center of Frederick County honors Richard Markey’s mother, Mary Alice Markey, and his aunt, Betty Hooper. The Linda M. Snyder Memorial Fund was established by Linda’s husband Tom and daughter Lindsay to remember her deep love of helping children with special needs by providing post-secondary scholarships to those who are majoring in special education or elementary education.
This is only a brief representation of the funds we hold that were created in honor of a mother, but it does provide examples of the creative ways in which sons and daughters have sought to add to their mother’s legacy and ensure she is remembered forever. The Community Foundation is honored to help.
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