News & Event
July 4th has come and gone again, and we celebrated our country’s independence. This holiday also means that it’s officially summertime. Vacation travel is in full swing, and many people visit the battlefields and museums and parks in our area dedicated to preserving the history of the United States as well as Frederick County’s history.
America’s Civil War had many events that occurred in Frederick County. Farmhouses, churches, and other buildings throughout the county were used as medical hospitals. In the early 1990s, Frederick County became home to the National Museum of Civil War Medicine. The idea to preserve this part of history came from Dr. Gordon E. Dammann, an Illinois dentist and collector of Civil War medical artifacts, and author of a three-volume Pictorial Encyclopedia of Civil War Medical Instrument and Equipment. The museum highlights innovative aspects of Civil War medicine such as a field dressing station, field hospital, and evacuation of wounded soldiers and incorporates the artifacts into the exhibits.
With many history buffs as Frederick County residents, we’ve helped people create funds that preserve our heritage, such as The Frank R. Parsons Fund for the National Museum of Civil War Medicine. Mr. Parsons created the fund through his 2009 Wertheimer Fellow for Excellence in Volunteerism Award, which he received from the Community Foundation for his extraordinary volunteer efforts. His interest in Civil War history led him to become a master docent at the museum, and so he dedicated his fund to support its community education efforts.
The Robert E. Gearinger National Museum of Civil War Medicine Endowment Fund was created in 1994 by the Fredericktown Bank & Trust (now PNC Bank) board of directors to honor Mr. Gearinger’s 46 years of service to the bank. His interest in the Civil War and his volunteer service as president of the museum’s board catalyzed the fund’s creation.
Other funds that have provided grants to the museum include The DeWalt Willard Charitable Gift Fund, The Frederick Mutual Insurance Company Donor-Advised Fund, The Historic Preservation Field of Interest Fund, The Mr. and Mrs. Charles A. Nicodemus Family Fund, The PNC Charitable Gift Fund, and Community Foundation unrestricted funds.
Every grant has helped the museum grow, add exhibits and interactive experiences, expand educational programs, maintain the 200-year-old building, and much more. “These funds are fundamental to everything we do here, and they feel like family because they were formed by people who know us,” said David Price, the museum’s executive director. “I’m happy that people want to keep the museum alive and help provide a dependable, consistent source of funding.”
What do you want to preserve or support? Every fund is unique to the person who envisions it, and the Community Foundation can help you bring it to life.
In 1970, the recognition of African American history and its contributions to United States history and culture was expanded to a month-long celebration taking place each February. During our country’s bicentennial in 1976, President Gerald R. Ford encouraged Americans to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.”
There are many African Americans who lived or live in Frederick County with notable and significant contributions to our local history, and several of these residents have been honored through Community Foundation funds bearing their name.
The Dr. Ulysses G. Bourne, Sr. Memorial Scholarship Fund was established in 1996 by Dr. Bourne’s daughter, Dr. Blanche Bourne-Tyree. The fund provides scholarships for students pursuing careers in medicine or health care related fields. Dr. Bourne was the first African American physician in Frederick County, opening his medical practice on West All Saints Street in 1903. He was known for providing quality medical care and improving life in the African American community, until his retirement in 1953. Dr. Bourne didn’t just treat African Americans. According to his daughter, about 80 percent of his patients were white. Dozens of students have received scholarship assistance with post-secondary medical or health care study since the fund opened.
Until 1937, African American children in Frederick County did not have access to kindergarten. Frederick County Public Schools did not offer it, and the private kindergarten that existed at the time did not accept African American children. Community members came together and formed the Esther E. Grinage Kindergarten Association, named for the long-time and well-known Frederick educator. The school was successful, and a bequest left by Marguerite Quinn to the Association eventually became a scholarship fund. The fund was transferred to the Community Foundation by Fredericktown Bank and Trust in 1989 and became The Esther E. Grinage Scholarship Fund. Again, dozens of students pursuing careers in education have been assisted through scholarships.
Bill Lee’s contributions to Frederick County are too numerous to list here. He was an educator and administrator, local historian, City of Frederick Alderman, sports enthusiast, and volunteer with many organizations. Bill was honored by the Community Foundation in 2003 with a Wertheimer Fellow for Excellence in Volunteerism award, for his time and energy that so greatly impacted the community. The William O. Lee Jr. and Family Endowment Fund was created to provide post-secondary scholarships and grants to help preserve African American history in Frederick County. Currently, a grant is available to organizations that provide research, restoration, archiving, and education of African American history in Frederick County. Visit www.FrederickCountyGives.orgs/Grants for details.
The Community Foundation is honored to hold these funds recognizing the achievements of these three people and be a part of preserving their contributions to our history.
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.”
Neither John nor Carol Ford was born in Frederick, but after having lived here for more than 40 years, they consider it their adopted hometown. Even now that the couple, both in their 80s, have moved to New Hampshire to be closer to family, they are pleased to have left behind something that will benefit the community where they spent half their lives: an endowment fund that bears their name at The Community Foundation of Frederick County.
The Fords created their fund in 2004 using a small inheritance from one of Carol’s aunts. Over the years, they have recommended the Community Foundation use the income generated annually by the fund to support local nonprofits whose missions they supported, including Hope Alive and Habitat for Humanity.
The Fords could have contributed directly to these organizations, but because they had great respect for the Community Foundation’s innovative model of charitable giving, they decided to create a donor-advised endowment fund instead.
For the past 15 years, the Fords have continued to contribute to their endowment fund and make recommendations to the Community Foundation as to where to direct its income. After their lifetimes, their daughter will assume this responsibility as the fund’s representative. After their daughter’s lifetime, the Fords’ fund agreement stipulates that income from their endowment become unrestricted.
“Because our community’s greatest needs are continually changing, many donors feel like a group of living individuals in the future will be in a better position to allocate funds than a written directive from the past,” explained Betsy Day, President and CEO of The Community Foundation of Frederick County. “In these cases, an unrestricted endowment fund is most suitable, as they allow the Community Foundation's Board of Trustees to allocate their proceeds to meet the emerging needs of the community.”
“Giving a one-time contribution is certainly one way to support a cause that is close to your heart,” said Carol. “But John and I liked the idea of creating a fund whose income provides for an annual gift--not only throughout our lifetimes but in perpetuity. We trusted The Community Foundation of Frederick County in 2004 when we started our endowment fund, and we continue to trust them implicitly. We feel confident that their staff and Board of Trustees will always do the right thing with the funds entrusted to their care—today, tomorrow, and long after we’re gone.”
FREDERICK, MD – October 9, 2019: With foresight and vision, John C. Summers’ planned gift has created two funds that will help many people in the years to come. The John C. Summers Fund and The Myersville Lions Club Scholarship Fund become two of more than 720 component funds managed by The Community Foundation of Frederick County.
The John C. Summers Fund will assist people residing in Myersville, Maryland who have financial need regarding their utility bills or property taxes. Grants will be provided to nonprofits with programs for screening and qualifying applicants.
The Myersville Lions Club Scholarship Fund will provide post-secondary scholarships to students who are residents of Frederick County, Maryland, and Washington County, Maryland, studying in medical or health care related fields.
Fifteen years past his death, Jacob E. Engelbrecht is still very much alive in Frederick County. Through The Engelbrecht-DeGrange Scholarship Fund he created with the Community Foundation in 1994, eight students received scholarships through 2003. Twenty-two more students have benefited since Mr. Engelbrecht’s passing in early 2004, carrying on his legacy. The educational impact of his fund surpasses $160,000.
Mr. Engelbrecht was born in Frederick County and became a certified public accountant, working in Baltimore for Ernst & Ernst for 14 years and then joining the General Accounting Office in Washington, D.C., before transferring to the U.S. Army Audit Agency. He spent an active retirement life in Frederick County after 1975 as a member of Evangelical Lutheran Church, Francis Scott Key American Legion Post 11, and John R. Webb Post 3285, Veterans of Foreign Wars.
During his lifetime, he created trusts designed to be dissolved upon his death with the proceeds supporting several of his favorite charitable causes. Part of the trust proceeds added to the scholarship fund, and other gifts from the trust were made to The Historical Society of Frederick County (now Heritage Frederick) and The National Museum of Civil War Medicine. These three gifts defined Mr. Engelbrecht’s legacy as someone believing in the value and benefit of education, and who also loved history.
Frederick County history is intertwined with the scholarship fund as well. The family names “Engelbrecht” and “DeGrange” (his mother’s family name) hold places in the growth and development of the County; many will be familiar with Mr. Engelbrecht’s great-grandfather of the same name who kept a diary of the happenings in Frederick for 59 years from 1818 to 1878. The diary, preserved and passed down through the Engelbrecht family, has provided insight into everyday happenings in Frederick County ranging from births, marriages, deaths, and weather to local and national politics and the upheaval of the Civil War.
Mr. Engelbrecht created the scholarship fund with a focus on selecting students who demonstrate an active interest in Frederick County history, including volunteer experiences with local history and preservation organizations. While students are not required to major in history, their strong and lasting interest in our local history is a key component for consideration.
A history lover has created history by helping students with their education and will continue to do so in perpetuity. Thank you, Mr. Englebrecht, for looking ahead to help the generations that have followed you.
The Community Foundation of Frederick County’s scholarship application deadline has been extended to Monday, April 6, 2020. This is to allow students additional time to complete the application following the closure of schools in Maryland to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
With just one week remaining until the application closes, we encourage all students who are eligible to apply. For the fifth consecutive year, just over $1 million in scholarships is available to students pursuing postsecondary education or vocational training during the 2020-2021 academic year. Our scholarship program supports nearly every area of study imaginable, with scholarships funded by generous donors who believe in the value of education.
One of our scholarships that has provided broad impact for students is The Joseph Donald Brewer Scholarship Fund. Founded by parents Abigail Richon and William Brewer, the fund honors the memory of their son Joseph, who passed away in 2002. The purpose of the fund is to provide scholarships to Frederick County graduating seniors who have dyslexia and are pursuing postsecondary education.
Joseph was a motivated student and worked hard to graduate early from Urbana High School in 2001. He did not allow his dyslexia to slow his dreams, and following his graduation, he started attending Lincoln Technical Institute, where he excelled in automotive technology and electronics. Joseph’s classmates remember him as having a kind heart and caring personality.
The scholarship that honors Joseph’s memory has helped many Frederick County students who have dyslexia achieve their educational goals. To date, 15 students have received more than $15,000 in scholarships to study at institutions such as McDaniel College, Marshall University, Lafayette College, and University of Maryland, Baltimore County.
Anna Thornton, who is a previous Joseph Donald Brewer Scholarship recipient, appreciated the support she received from the scholarship.
“Being a student with dyslexia, it has been harder for me to be successful in school,” she said. “I would like to thank you for sponsoring a scholarship that does not only focus on a student’s grade point average but also their individual qualities.”
The Joseph Donald Brewer Scholarship has and will continue to help countless students and is one of our many scholarship success stories. Students interested in applying for our scholarships should visit www.ScholarshipsFrederickCounty.com. The deadline to submit the application is 11:59 p.m. on April 6, 2020.
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