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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 are many people who give generously to many organizations throughout their lifetime. They faithfully support one or more nonprofits representing causes they believe in, or they establish a fund with the Community Foundation that will provide grant distributions to these nonprofits each year. Often, people we meet with are concerned about what happens to these gifts after their lifetime. How can the organizations they’ve loved and supported still benefit once they are no longer here to write a check?
Meet Elmira B. Cook. Mrs. Cook was a long-time annual supporter of Frederick Rescue Mission, a nonprofit which serves the homeless and working poor in Frederick County and helps those with substance use disorder. As she advanced in age, she was concerned about the Frederick Rescue Mission missing out on her annual support after her death. Mrs. Cook met with the Community Foundation and learned there was a way to continue to help, in perpetuity. In 2000, she created The Elmira B. Cook Endowment Fund for the Frederick Rescue Mission. The first grant from the fund was given in 2001, and every year this grant to Frederick Rescue Mission carries out Mrs. Cook’s charitable goal of supporting this worthy organization.
We work with many donors who have the same concern as Elmira and decide to create funds that reflect their unique charitable goals. Another example is The Vince and Guelda Imirie Fund. It was founded in 2005 by Mrs. Imirie to support six different entities annually: Frederick Memorial Hospital, Kline Hospice House, Mental Health Association of Frederick County, The Norine Haas Mental Health Scholarship Fund, Glade United Church of Christ, and the Community Foundation. Rather than create the fund using cash, she used appreciated real estate and worked with the Community Foundation’s Holding Company to transfer the net proceeds to the fund. Mrs. Imirie deemed this transaction “a very worthy project that will long serve the charitable causes my late husband and I supported together.”
Some donors set-up testamentary funds, meaning that the fund isn’t active now, but will receive money from their estate and become an active grant and/or scholarship fund after their lifetime. The Linwood T. Offutt Fund for The Frederick County 4-H Camp Center, established in 2017, provides an annual grant to support Camp Center programs and activities. The purpose of the fund was defined by Mr. Offutt before his death and honors his lifelong career as a farmer and his devotion to agriculture education for youth. It also reflects his active memberships in many agricultural organizations in Frederick County.
Mrs. Cook, Mrs. Imirie, and Mr. Offutt have all passed away, but their legacy and impact within our community continue through their funds. Creating the funds, or the framework for a fund during their lifetime provided them great peace of mind that their charitable goals would continue to be carried out. We are honored to make these dreams come true, forever.
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.
Family, faith, friends, violets, poetry and coffee are just a few of the things that were important to Viola Marie Robinson, pictured. As Mrs. Robinson aged, her mobility decreased, and she progressed from using a cane to using a walker and then a wheelchair. She never wanted to be a burden on anyone, and one day received a gift of a scooter, which restored her mobility and independence. “My wheels are my wings,” she told her daughter Jeannie. Mrs. Robinson frequently “drove” to the drugstore not far from where she lived, buying cards that she loved to send.
After Mrs. Robinson’s passing in 2003, her daughter and son-in-law, Jeannie and Jack Brunk, decided to create a fund in her memory to help seniors who need assistance to stay independent and in their homes. To date, The Viola Marie Robinson Give Them Wings Fund has helped local nonprofits and government agencies provide dozens of seniors with lift chairs, stair lifts and lift repairs, wheelchair ramps, portable showers, walk-in tubs, hearing aids, eyeglasses, dentures, utility payments, medical supplies and prescriptions, and even a stove and refrigerator. “Mom would love that we are helping other people maintain their independence,” said Mrs. Brunk. “She found such joy in the little things in life and was able to continue doing those little things because her independence was extended with the help of the scooter.”
Numerous nonprofits and county agencies have worked with the Community Foundation to secure grants from this fund to help seniors. Recently, the Frederick County Department of Human Services (DHS) Senior Care Program made a grant request. This department works with seniors who are 65 years or older and moderately to severely disabled with limited income. The client’s stair glide in their home was not working, resulting in loss of family and socialization time due to their inability to access the second floor. The grant made the repair possible and helped return some of the client’s independence. “The Community Foundation is quick in responding to these needs,” said Leslie Hagerty, senior care case manager, from DHS. “Without their help, Senior Care Program clients would not be able to acquire things like ramps, lift chairs, and stair glides which greatly improve the quality of their lives.”
Habitat for Humanity of Frederick County’s A Brush With Kindness program provides home repairs to local home owners who cannot afford them, with 80 percent of the applications received from seniors. A local couple needed bathroom plumbing and water damage repairs, grab bars, and more. Habitat for Humanity was able to have all the repairs handled, including critical repairs to floor joists and subflooring, and with a recent Viola May Robinson Fund grant, a tub cut was made to their combination tub/shower. The tub cut allows the couple step-in access, reducing the risk of falling.
The “Give Them Wings” Fund, as it’s fondly referred to, will be assisting those who need it for many years to come. With more than $76,000 in grants since 2006, the Brunks are committed to helping seniors maintain their independence and stay in their homes as long as possible. “We want seniors to know there is help for those who need it,” said Mr. and Mrs. Brunk. “We are doing a little bit to pay it forward, in the spirit of Mom’s loving and generous nature.”
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.
FREDERICK, MD – September 26, 2018: Described as “always prepared wherever she went,” Mary C. Willard is helping prepare students for careers and life success through The M. Kate, Robert Lee and Robert Leroy Scholarship Fund. The fund, established through Mrs. Willard’s estate, becomes one of more than 700 funds managed by The Community Foundation of Frederick County.
The fund will provide three scholarships annually to students who are residents of Frederick County. The first scholarship will assist with the study of music, in memory of Robert Lee Willard, Mrs. Willard’s husband. The second scholarship will support those studying economics, banking or finance, in honor of Mrs. Willard’s banking career, and the third scholarship will help students pursuing microbiology studies, in memory of Mrs. Willard’s son, Robert Leroy.
A charitable fund established through a bequest is one of the many ways to create a legacy and be remembered forever through grants and scholarships after one’s lifetime.
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.
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