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.”
FREDERICK, MD – May 1, 2019: A well-known businessman, politician, and community philanthropist who passed away at age 99 in early 2019 has left a permanent legacy in the form of new funds with The Community Foundation of Frederick County. With his vision for the future, Donald L. Lewis of Thurmont made provisions in his estate to create these funds benefiting 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.
Mr. Lewis cared deeply about helping seniors and before his death created The Donald L. Lewis Staff Education Fund for Citizens Care & Rehabilitation Center and Montevue Assisted Living Fund, which helps with tuition and education expenses for facility employees to advance their training. He also cared about those in need in the community and grants from the new funds will support the operations and missions of the named nonprofits.
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.
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.
If ever there was a testimony to the benefits of hard work, it’s local businessman and Community Foundation of Frederick County supporter De Willard. Fit and energetic at 87, De admits to working long hours for most of his life, a habit that has obviously agreed with him.
Recognized widely for innovations in agribusiness as well as his philanthropic outreach, De first flexed his entrepreneurial muscle in 1948 at barely 16 years old. With $2,300 he had saved up working part-time for 25 cents per hour at a grocery store in his native Poolesville, he purchased a combine harvester. Before long, he had replanted the family farm which had lain fallow for many years. When he wasn’t busy at his own 300 acres, he was harvesting wheat, corn, and barley for neighboring farmers—saving them time and labor and building the funds he would need to capitalize on his next opportunity.
His keen eye for an opportunity is just one of the many factors responsible for De Willard’s extraordinary business success. His family was hard-working and entrepreneurial, and they impressed upon young De the importance of solid relationships in both personal and professional life. Born during the Great Depression, he learned to be both fiscally conservative and extremely generous. An outside-the-box-thinker, De’s lifelong ability to identify problems and address them through creative solutions has helped him build Willard Agri-Services into one of the most successful companies of its kind in a six-state region.
Because De’s business success was built on forward-thinking and innovation, it should come as no surprise that he was one of the first to embrace the concept behind The Community Foundation of Frederick County shortly after its founding in 1986.
“I knew all of the founders of the Community Foundation,” he said. “Don Linton. Charlie Main. Jerry Offutt. In fact, I grew up near Poolesville in upper Montgomery County with Jerry Offutt. Our great grandfathers were best friends, so the families have been connected from way back. All three men were friends whom I knew well and trusted.”
De says he remembers being further impressed by the newly-formed organization’s mission and objectives after reading about them in the Frederick News-Post. In 1989, he directed his first gift to the Community Foundation to be used to create The De Willard Family Fund, an unrestricted endowment. For the past 30 years, the annual proceeds from this unrestricted fund have been used by the Board of Trustees and the grants committee to address the constantly changing, most pressing needs of the community.
Like De Willard’s initial gift, the soon-to-be launched Forever Frederick County fund will also be an unrestricted endowment. Like the Community Foundation’s leadership, De believes that building this flexible fund to tackle Frederick County’s current and emerging greatest needs is a vital and necessary step to preserving and improving the quality of life in our community.
“Grants from our Forever Frederick County campaign will be based on the areas of greatest community need as determined by the Human Needs Assessment report, and that have been selected by our Board of Trustees as areas of focus,” said Community Foundation President and CEO Elizabeth Day. “Donors who contribute to this unrestricted endowment will be trusting the Community Foundation to invest their charitable gifts and grant them wisely, to act with integrity, and to communicate honestly and with transparency.”
Since his initial gift in 1989, De has also created The De Willard Charitable Gift Fund. Still a strong advocate for the agricultural professions, he—along with Rodman Myers, Mehrle Ramsburg, Jr., and Franklin Gladhill-- created The Maryland Master Farmers Scholarship Fund in 2009. These scholarships target students pursuing post-secondary education in agriculture or a related field, or farmers interested in pursuing course work to enhance their knowledge of farm business.
According to De, the scholarship’s goal is to help interested students become better farmers through education. He remains an active participant on The Maryland Master Farmers Scholarship Fund selection committee, and has helped to direct several grants from the National Automobile Dealers Charitable Foundation into that fund.
“I think that everything The Community Foundation of Frederick County does is very helpful-- critical really,” said De. “It’s a fact that people struggle, and sometimes they need help from the organizations that the Community Foundation provides funding for through the proceeds from the charitable gifts that they invest. Its staff and volunteers carry out the organization’s objectives with kindness, fairness and integrity, which I admire and appreciate.”
“At our company, ‘doing the right thing’ is at the top of our list of values,” he says. “I feel confident supporting an organization like the Community Foundation because they share those values.”
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