News & Event
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.
To say Claire McCardell was a trailblazer would be an understatement. When many women stayed home, McCardell worked a job; when most looked to Paris for fashion trends, she created her own; when a clothing brand wanted to use her style, she insisted the label include her name.
Credited with inventing American sportswear, the designs McCardell created in the 1930s, 40s and 50s continue to influence fashion today. In 1999, Life named McCardell one of the 100 most influential Americans of the 20th century. The Community Foundation is proud to have played a role in keeping the spirit of this amazing woman alive right here in Frederick.
McCardell was born and raised in Frederick, and after her untimely death at the age of 52, she was buried in the family plot at Mount Olivet Cemetery. But during the years in between, she was busy traveling the world, influencing fashion, and making a statement about clothing that is both sensible and stylish.
In 2019, Linda Moran, chair of the Frederick Art Club's Claire McCardell Project Steering Committee, worked with the Community Foundation to create The Claire McCardell Project Fund. The purpose of the fund was "to support the Frederick Art Club to create a public representation of Claire McCardell, world renowned fashion designer, in the form of a bronze statue and ceramic contextual plaques." In addition to a larger-than-life bronze sculpture of McCardell, the project included an exhibit that tells the story of McCardell's extraordinary career and an elegant garden.
"One of the exciting things was everyone we approached wanted to be a part of it," Moran said. "We had great support and we also have people who were really eager to share in it and be a part of it, not only with their funds, but with donating their time to be a part of it. It was very exciting to have something that was such a feel-good community effort."
Many people are familiar with the Community Foundation's permanent funds - where the original gift is invested and the investment return supports the charitable purpose defined by the donor. The Claire McCardell Project Fund was a pass through fund - meaning all the gifts, as well as the investment return, are used for the fund's charitable intent. While a pass through fund does not create the legacy of giving in perpetuity that an endowed fund does, it does serve an important role in helping an organization complete a project, often of great benefit to the community.
A pass through fund also offers the organizer access to the Community Foundation’s expertise gained over decades of managing funds. While the organizer focuses on fundraising and project management, the Community Foundation handles the processing and tracking of incoming gifts and outgoing expenditures.
Moran said that collaborating with the Community Foundation made an ambitious project more manageable. The sculpture, located at the east end of Carroll Creek Linear Park, was unveiled this past October.
"We were so grateful to learn that the Community Foundation had a pass through fund and they could manage the acceptance of money so people could make a tax free donation, and that they would then track all of that and take care of paying all the bills," Moran said. "I cannot say enough for how responsive the Community Foundation was."
John and Lucille Ponton were well-known in Frederick County and were business owners for many years. They cared deeply about their community, and through two funds with The Community Foundation of Frederick County, their legacy will live on forever by supporting children with cancer and their families as well as the Community Foundation’s strategic grantmaking.
The Pontons had deep ties to Frederick County, and they were both dedicated to serving others. Mr. Ponton owned and operated Ponton’s Community Sales for 28 years. His volunteer work included serving as a trustee of Reeders Memorial Home, and he was a member of the Civitan Club, an organization of volunteer service clubs around the world committed to helping people in their own communities.
Mrs. Ponton was co-owner of Mar-Lu Restaurant for 36 years. She was active in the community and was a charter member of the Business and Professional Women’s Club of Frederick, serving as president and state president of the Maryland Federation. Mrs. Ponton is a member of the Alvin G. Quinn Sports Hall of Fame due to her expert marksmanship with small bore rifles, and she was a member of the United States and International Women’s Rifle Teams.
Mr. and Mrs. Ponton’s strong desire to give back to their community is reflected in the two funds in their name at the Community Foundation. In 2000, Mrs. Ponton founded The John L. and Lucille H. Ponton Endowment Fund as an unrestricted fund to support the Community Foundation’s mission. Then, in 2010, The John L. and Lucille H. Ponton Charitable Fund was established through Mrs. Ponton’s estate provisions. The fund was created to provide grants to support children with cancer and their families and to support Camp Jamie at the Community Foundation’s discretion. The camp is a Frederick Health Hospice program that provides grief education and support for children and adolescents.
The two funds in the Pontons’ name have distributed nearly $500,000 in grants to date. Grants have supported organizations like Children’s Hospital Foundation to provide patient’s families resources and lodging assistance. Camp Jamie has received grants in support of its mission. The camp provides grieving children with a broad array of educational programs and activities such as team games, arts/crafts, hiking, campfires with storytellers, and pet therapy. Grants have also supported Frederick County Infants and Toddlers Program through financial assistance for families with children experiencing catastrophic medical issues.
Through their vision and commitment to serving others, John and Lucille Ponton have left a legacy that will benefit countless children and families in need. Their generosity and trust in the Community Foundation will help ensure that their charitable intentions will be fulfilled for generations to come.
The Gross family legacy permanently lives with The Community Foundation of Frederick County. As educators, artists, and through a common bond of wanting to give back to their community and positively impact the lives of others, Anne-Lynn, Thelma, and William Gross influenced countless Frederick County community members, and through three funds with the Community Foundation, they will continue to do so forever.
Anne-Lynn Gross, the daughter of “Judge” William B. Gross and Thelma Gross, was born and raised in Brunswick. She pursued her passion for music and music education at Shenandoah Conservatory of Music (now Shenandoah University) and West Virginia University. She later taught music in Frederick County Public Schools for 10 years. Anne-Lynn was well-known as “The Singing Auctioneer” and was the first woman auctioneer in Maryland. She was also the first woman auctioneer in Maryland to receive the CAI (Certified Auctioneers Designation), and the first woman in the nation to serve on the National Auctioneers Foundation Board.
Anne-Lynn had a strong desire to give back to her community, a quality that was instilled in her by her parents. During her lifetime, she turned to the Community Foundation to establish The Frederick Arts Council Thelma Gross Music Scholarship Fund, which she founded in collaboration with the Frederick Arts Council, and The “Judge” William B. Gross Fund.
The Frederick Arts Council Thelma Gross Music Scholarship Fund provides scholarships to students pursuing music education. Anne-Lynn created this fund in memory of her mother. Thelma Gross was a teacher for more than 30 years and taught at Maryland School for the Deaf and Brunswick Elementary School. She was also a singer and member of the Monday Morning Musical Foundation, an active organization in the 1940s. In her free time, Thelma enjoyed the art of writing poetry, singing, and playing the piano. The fund that honors her memory will allow countless students to follow their passion for music, just as Thelma did during her lifetime.
The “Judge” William B. Gross Fund was created by Anne-Lynn in her father’s memory. The fund’s purpose is to support the work of the Frederick Rescue Mission. “Judge” Gross was known for positively impacting the lives of others and providing second chances to people while he served as District Court Commissioner in Frederick. The fund in his name will continue his legacy of assisting people who are trying to improve their lives.
Anne-Lynn Gross passed away in 2014. Through her estate provisions, she established The “Judge” William B. Gross Scholarship Fund with the Community Foundation to provide scholarships to high school students pursuing postsecondary education. She also left real estate to the Community Foundation through her estate, which was then sold to support the Community Foundation’s charitable purposes, as per her instructions.
The Gross family made a positive impact on so many throughout their lives with their dedication and commitment to their community. Their charitable dreams will be permanently carried out by the Community Foundation, providing future community members with educational and other support services for generations to come.
The life of William Eugene “Gene” Barnhart will have a profound impact on others with three funds created with The Community Foundation of Frederick County through his estate provisions. With Mr. Barnhart’s generosity and vision for the future, countless students will benefit from educational scholarships, people battling cancer will receive vital support services, and Broadfording Church of the Brethren will receive support for its operations.
Mr. Barnhart was originally from Laytonsville and then later became a Middletown resident. He was a farmer for most of his life, followed by a second career as an auto mechanic. Some of Mr. Barnhart’s earliest memories were of his parents, Evelyn and Ernest, farming their land during the difficult times of the Great Depression. From a young age, he helped his parents sustain their livelihood.
Mr. Barnhart’s lifelong love of farming, coupled with his desire to see farming continue to thrive in Frederick County, prompted him to turn to the Community Foundation in 2008 to establish The Gene, Evelyn and Ernest Barnhart Family Scholarship Fund. The fund provided post-secondary scholarships to students studying agriculture at the University of Maryland for a number of years, according to Mr. Barnhart’s direction. The fund was then closed when the last scholarship was awarded.
Mr. Barnhart passed away in 2013. Through his estate provisions, he created three new funds with the Community Foundation. Honoring the legacy of his parents, The Gene, Evelyn and Ernest Family Scholarship Fund II provides post-secondary scholarships to Frederick County high school graduates pursuing a career in agriculture. With Mr. Barnhart’s first scholarship fund and the new one created through his estate provisions, more than $135,000 in total scholarships have been awarded to students to pursue their agricultural educational goals through his generosity.
The William E. Barnhart Memorial Fund provides grants to Frederick County residents with cancer and/or organizations in Frederick County that provide direct services for people battling cancer. The fund has supported organizations such as Habitat for Humanity of Frederick County for home repairs for a cancer patient through its A Brush With Kindness Program and the Patty Pollatos Fund to provide financial assistance to adults with cancer. To date, the fund has provided more than $93,000 in grants.
The third fund Mr. Barnhart created through his estate provisions was The William E. Barnhart Memorial Fund for Broadfording Church of the Brethren to support the church’s operations. To date, more than $121,000 in grants have been distributed from the fund.
The three funds in Mr. Barnhart’s name have provided broad impact in the community. He will be remembered and appreciated by countless people who will benefit from his generosity.
Betty Seligmann was dedicated to community service, including countless volunteer hours served with the Literacy Council of Frederick County. Through her many years with the Literacy Council and a number of other organizations, she positively influenced many people in the community. Her legacy lives permanently with a fund in her name at The Community Foundation of Frederick County that honors her commitment to helping others through access to literacy resources.
Mrs. Seligmann served in a variety of roles with the Literacy Council. She worked as a tutor, trainer, and basic program coordinator, and served as board president. She was deeply knowledgeable about the local community and used that knowledge to find places that could benefit from increased access to Literacy Council resources. She attracted tutors through her tireless efforts and students through outreach to churches, community organizations, and businesses. In addition to her work with the Literacy Council, Mrs. Seligmann actively participated with several organizations such as Frederick County Humane Society and Montevue Home Auxiliary.
In 2002, the Literacy Council’s Board of Directors established The Betty Seligmann Literacy Endowment Fund with the Community Foundation to honor Mrs. Seligmann’s legacy. The fund’s purpose is to support the activities of the Literacy Council.
Ten years later, in 2012, Caroline Gaver, a longtime volunteer with the Literacy Council, became a Community Foundation Wertheimer Fellow for Excellence in Volunteerism. The award recognizes outstanding volunteers in the community. Like Mrs. Seligmann, Mrs. Gaver has served in a variety of volunteer positions with the Literacy Council, including terms as board president and vice president. She has been an integral part of helping English and non-English speaking adults learn to read, write, and speak the English language. With her award, Mrs. Gaver decided to support the Literacy Council by adding to The Betty Seligmann Literacy Endowment Fund.
To date, grants from The Betty Seligmann Literacy Endowment Fund have helped support many Literacy Council programs, including its outreach efforts to recruit and train more volunteers and expand access to serve more adults with families. Grants have also supported individualized learning plans for students and tutors to help with English language learning, reading, and other life skills.
Mrs. Seligmann dedicated countless hours to promoting literacy in Frederick County. Her legacy is honored with the fund in her name at the Community Foundation, and many more generations of Frederick County citizens will benefit from Literacy Council programs.
Henry Droneburg, III was a young man who lived life with a quiet kindness that he extended to everyone he met. He was an exceptional artist who was a role model to many and inspired others. His legacy is honored with a fund in his name at The Community Foundation of Frederick County that helps students pursue their educational goals.
As an honor roll student and 2006 graduate of Governor Thomas Johnson High School, Henry pursued his passion of art. He attended Frederick Community College to further his education. His beautiful artwork filled his parents’ home, and he had a love of skateboarding and shared his enthusiasm for the sport with his younger brother, Joseph, to whom Henry was a role model. He pursued other hobbies such as snowboarding and karate, where he held a brown belt. During summers, Henry worked for Masters Plumbing with his father and grandfather.
Henry had an ability to make everyone around him smile, and he was loved by many. He was on the verge of accomplishing great things when his life was tragically cut short in a car accident in March 2007, leaving a void in the Frederick County community.
To honor Henry’s memory, his family turned to the Community Foundation in June 2007 to establish The Henry E. Droneburg, III Memorial Scholarship Fund. The fund’s purpose is to support students studying at the secondary or post-secondary level, with preference given to scholarships for graduates of Governor Thomas Johnson High School majoring in art, supplies for Governor Thomas Johnson High School art classes, and scholarships or stipends to purchase tools or equipment to benefit plumbing students at Frederick County Public Schools Career and Technology Center.
To date, the fund has provided broad impact through grants to support art department supplies at Governor Thomas Johnson High School and scholarships for students pursuing their education at institutions such as Shepherd University, Frederick Community College, Ohio University, and Ringling College of Art and Design.
Henry’s legacy has helped many students achieve their educational goals and follow similar passions and interests as his. His life of kindness, creativity, and endless potential is reflected in the fund in his name at the Community Foundation.
The Community Foundation of Frederick County’s online scholarship application is open through March 31. Scholarships are available to students pursuing post-secondary education or vocational training during the 2021-2022 academic year. Students about to complete their senior year of high school, students already enrolled in a trade school, college or university, and nontraditional students over the age of 21 are eligible to apply. Scholarship criteria are established by the scholarship funds’ founding donors, and some scholarships do not consider financial need.
We encourage all students to apply. To fill out an application and learn more about our program, visit www.ScholarshipsFrederickCounty.com.
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