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Black Philanthropy Month was created in August 2011 by Dr. Jackie Bouvier-Copeland and the Pan-African Women’s Philanthropy Network. It is a global celebration of African-descent giving and is recognized by the United Nations as part of its Declaration of 2011 as the International Year for People of African descent. Its goal is universal: to promote the power of giving to transform lives.
The Community Foundation holds several funds that are transforming lives through the generosity of local Black philanthropists. The George and Ruth Dredden Scholarship Fund was created in 2007 with their Wertheimer Fellow for Excellence in Volunteerism Award. The Dreddens chose to carry on their legacy of selfless service by helping students attend college and achieve their academic goals. Since 2010, when the first scholarship was presented from their fund, ten students have benefitted. Countless more will benefit in the coming years because of the Dredden family’s commitment to the fund and their belief in higher education.
The Kenneth W. Parker – Class of ’55 Scholarship Fund, is another example. This fund was created in 2006 through a merger of two funds with similar goals of assisting with post-secondary education: The Kenneth W. Parker Meritorious Scholarship Fund and The Lincoln High School Class of ’55 Scholarship Fund. Mr. Parker has been an active donor to the fund as well as a participant in the scholar selection process that recommends scholarships to the Community Foundation’s board. Since 2002, more than 30 students have benefited with scholarships that helped with the expense of college or trade and technical school classes.
In 2012, Dr. Earlene Thornton (the first African-American female to have served on the Frederick County Board of Education) wanted to help students with post-secondary education and established The Earlene H. and Henry J. Sr. Thornton Fund for Educational Professionals. Dr. Thornton was interested in helping people achieve not only college-level education but also certificates and licensures that would advance careers. Also, she knew that grants were needed to support special projects enhancing the regular school curriculum. Four students have received scholarships to date.
The Dr. Ulysses G. Bourne, Sr. Memorial Fund is another example of philanthropy that is impacting Frederick County. Established in 1996 by Dr. Blanche Bourne-Tyree, and added to through husband Chris Tyree’s estate, the fund provides scholarships for students pursuing careers in medicine or health care-related fields. During their lifetime, the Tyree’s generosity has helped dozens of students studying in the medical and health care fields.
These are stories that highlight just some of the funds created by Black philanthropists and how their generosity of giving is transforming lives in Frederick County. We are honored to work with them and others every day.
The Community Foundation of Frederick County has been working remotely for the past three months as our community is in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. Our staff members have been working hard, because coronavirus doesn’t stop philanthropy, and we understand the importance of continuing to serve our community during this challenging time.
For the first several weeks after the pandemic hit, we worked together with our partners in the funding community and generous donors to help ensure local nonprofits had what they needed so they could continue to help the people they serve. The Community Foundation worked quickly and decisively to distribute more than $330,000 in COVID-19 emergency relief grants to support a wide array of needs, including food insecurity, behavioral health services, information and referral services, and emergency shelter.
The pandemic started right in the middle of our scholarship season, but that didn’t slow down our team. The Community Foundation Scholarship Committee reviewed more than 1,100 scholarship applications online and had to make decisions on awarding more than $1.8 million in scholarships for the upcoming academic year to help students pursue their postsecondary educational goals.
There is always something happening at the Community Foundation. You might have a general idea of what the Community Foundation does and what our mission is, but have you ever thought about how we make all this great work happen, especially in the middle of a pandemic?
Community foundations generally have three distinct features: they create permanent endowments; they have broad, flexible purposes and monitor community needs; and they provide opportunities for personalized giving.
The Community Foundation of Frederick County is comprised of “two sides of the house.” Our Philanthropic Services Department is responsible for all the money that comes into our organization. Philanthropic Services staff work with donors to fulfill their charitable intents and build permanent funds that grow and benefit our community forever. They help donors create an individual or family legacy, and they offer donor involvement in selecting nonprofits and criteria for scholars who will benefit from their funds.
Central to the Philanthropic Services team’s work now is the Forever Frederick County campaign, which is creating funds to provide strategic grants based on Frederick County’s most pressing needs as determined by the 2018 Human Needs Assessment and similar studies going forward. To date, more than $14.2 million has been raised, which is $6 million from the campaign’s goal.
Our Community Impact Department is responsible for all the money that goes out of our organization. Community Impact staff manage our grantmaking program, which supports a wide variety of community interests and causes with one goal in mind: improving the quality of life in Frederick County. Our grant funding is divided into strategic grants, impact grants, rolling grants, and donor-advised and designated grants.
Strategic grants fund nonprofits that provide programs addressing the areas of greatest need in Frederick County, which have been identified in our 2011 and 2018 Human Needs Assessment reports. Impact grants support a wide array of programs that improve the community and provide opportunities for people of all ages. Funding can support many areas including the arts, youth programs, health and human services, and historic preservation. Rolling grants support nonprofits that meet the needs of individual Frederick County residents as well as a wide range of field of interest and special purpose funds. In FY19, the total of all grants (strategic, impact, donor-advised, and designated) was $5 million. That’s a lot of impact in Frederick County.Our Community Impact team also oversees our scholarship program, which supports nearly every area of study imaginable, with scholarships funded by generous donors who believe in the value of education.
This is just a small glimpse into the world of what we do “in our house” here at the Community Foundation to translate simple good intentions into powerful acts of philanthropy that build a stronger, more vibrant community not only for today but for the future. As our community begins to reopen, regroup, and revitalize during the pandemic, the Community Foundation continues to work hard serving our community, because coronavirus doesn’t stop philanthropy.
The Community Foundation of Frederick County will be sharing videos to stay connected with the community about the work it is doing during the pandemic. The videos will be posted below. Please check back for future video message updates.
Coronavirus doesn't stop philanthropy. The Community Foundation of Frederick County is busy with year-end accounting, finishing up scholarship season, gearing up for our strategic grantmaking, working with donors to fulfill their charitable dreams, and so much more. Hear from Betsy Day, president and CEO of the Community Foundation, to learn more about what our staff has been up to as we work remotely during the pandemic, because coronavirus doesn't stop philanthropy.
Betsy Day, president and CEO of The Community Foundation of Frederick County, has a message for the community about how the activities of the past couple of weeks have been horrifying and have made us all aware that we can do better. The Community Foundation will be working together with the community to focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion in its grantmaking and is here to understand, learn, and listen.
Coronavirus doesn’t stop philanthropy. Betsy Day, president and CEO of The Community Foundation of Frederick County, shares an update about the Community Foundation’s pivot to focusing on strategic priorities as Frederick County begins to reopen and regroup.
Coronavirus doesn’t stop philanthropy. Hear from Betsy Day, president and CEO of The Community Foundation of Frederick County, as she checks in with the community about the work the Community Foundation has been doing during the pandemic to help nonprofits support the people they serve and award scholarships to deserving students for the upcoming academic year.
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.
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.
Christmas in July has become a popular marketing theme in recent years. Store promotions, Hallmark Channel’s run of holiday movies throughout the month, and other deals and incentives to buy for the holidays now. One pair of our donors, however, have Christmas on their mind year-round, as their fund provides grants to many different organizations in Frederick County. Many of their grants have helped provide Christmas and holiday gifts to thousands of children, youth, and vulnerable adults.
The Mark and Susan Butt Saturday Mornings Fund was created by Mark and Susan in 2006 with funds from the sale of Mark’s book, Saturday Mornings. The book is a compilation of columns that Mark wrote over numerous years for The Frederick News-Post and is a humorous look at life and families. The Butts were already deeply ensconced in community activities, and because of this, they were aware of the many needs of Frederick County children. They decided that the money from book sales would benefit charitable causes and partnered with the Community Foundation to facilitate their dream.
Since 2006, more than $170,000 in grants has had a huge impact on thousands of lives right here at home. Many of those are children and youth who had presents to open on Christmas morning and in the holiday season. Grants to the Frederick County Department of Social Services (DSS) Foster Care and Adoption Unit, Glade Valley Community Services, Patty Pollatos Fund, and The Religious Coalition for Emergency Human Needs have enabled them to purchase toys, clothing, and gift cards that bring smiles to many faces during the holiday season. Other nonprofits have received grants that assisted with case manager salaries and rent/utility expenses (Advocates for Homeless Families, The Religious Coalition for Emergency Human Needs), grants for children without enough to eat on weekends (Blessings in a Backpack), summer programs for youth (SHIP News Horizons program), other educational programs for youth (Spring Ridge Elementary and Walkersville Middle School), and finally, support for those with special needs (Special Olympics, Frederick County program) and the arts (Frederick Arts Council/Sky Stage).
Since 2013, the Butts have also participated in the Community Foundation’s strategic funding partner program and through their fund, provided more than $70,000 for grants through The Children and Youth Strategic Initiatives Fund, and The Basic Human Needs Strategic Initiatives Fund. Grants supported programs that provided critical services for ensuring children were ready to learn at age 5, and for those who were newly homeless or precariously housed.
The Butts have a vision for their philanthropy, and with our help, as well as help from our grants committee and board of trustees who vet and approves all grants, they are making a difference in areas of need that are important to them.
What areas of need are important to you? Where can you make a difference? Every grant is significant, no matter its size. Every fund generating grants to worthy causes in Frederick County, even if one per year, helps improve someone’s life.
Five million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease and 50 million people are living with Alzheimer’s and other dementias worldwide. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, by 2050, the number of Americans living with Alzheimer’s is projected to rise to nearly 14 million. To raise awareness and support for the disease that has impacted millions of individuals and families, June has been named Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month by the Alzheimer’s Association.
Addressing the need in our own community, The Community Foundation of Frederick County has several component funds that provide support for Alzheimer’s therapies and services. Thanks to our generous donors who created these funds, since 2004, the Community Foundation has distributed more than $450,000 for Alzheimer’s services, treatment, therapies, and training for healthcare professionals.
One of these donors, Edgar Virts, was well-known in the community for his tireless commitment to helping those living with Alzheimer’s disease. In 1997, he established The Geraldine Virts and Jack Brady Memorial Fund for Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders with the Community Foundation in memory of his late wife and former coach. The fund’s purpose is to support Homewood at Crumland Farms for its services for people living with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. Grants from the fund are used for direct nursing care and support of complementary treatments, therapies, and visitors. To date, the fund has distributed more than $378,000 in grants in support of these services.
By continuing to create broad impact for Alzheimer’s support, in 2007, Mr. Virts established three funds with the Community Foundation: The Edgar and Geraldine Virts Fund for Copper Ridge Institute, The Edgar and Geraldine Virts Fund for Love Care and Concern Organization, Inc., and The Martha Murphy Virts Fund for St. Joseph’s Ministries, Inc. The funds all provide support for Alzheimer’s services, including complementary therapies and training for healthcare professionals. In total, the three funds have distributed nearly $70,000 in grants.
Other donors have also turned to the Community Foundation to ensure support for Alzheimer’s services in the community. In 2015, in memory of her husband, and in honor of their life together, Jeannette Shoemaker established The H. Reese and Jeannette K. Shoemaker Charitable Fund with the Community Foundation, which provides support for the Alzheimer’s Association’s Western Maryland activities supporting patients, their families, and caregivers. The fund has provided more than $4,000 in grants to support these services. In 2010, Karen Lee Waters and Joy Stanley Ellis established The Thomas F. Waters Memorial Fund, which provided more than $2,000 in support of Alzheimer’s Association services.
The Community Foundation is fortunate to have donors who are committed to helping those in our community living with Alzheimer’s disease. Their generosity and vision for the future ensure that this support will be in our community for generations to come as the number of Alzheimer’s cases is projected to increase.
Photo caption: From left, Betsy Day, Community Foundation president and CEO, Edgar Virts, and Barbara Pilgram Reynolds, former Alzheimer’s Association of Western Maryland executive director, pictured in 2009.
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