News & Event
It is no secret that 2020 has been a difficult year for all of us. As we approach Thanksgiving this week, it is another sign of how things are different this year. We will not be gathered around the dinner table with large groups of family and friends as we normally are every fourth Thursday in November, but as I reflect back on this year, there is plenty that I am thankful for.
Frederick County is a generous community. So many of our citizens are eager to extend a helping hand through their generosity, compassion, and empathy. I am thankful to live in a place where people care deeply about their community and want to see it succeed well into the future, and that The Community Foundation of Frederick County has a role in translating our community’s simple good intentions into powerful acts of philanthropy.
I am thankful for the Community Foundation’s founders. It is because of the selfless dedication and extraordinary vision of Charles V. Main, Donald C. Linton, CPA, and W. Jerome Offutt, Esq. that the Community Foundation is what it is today and has given back more than $71 million to the community since its inception in 1986.
I am thankful for our board of trustees. Our board is a dedicated group of 24 volunteers that works to promote philanthropy that keeps Frederick County thriving now and for future generations. All trustees take their roles and responsibilities seriously, and the Community Foundation is fortunate to be guided by their leadership.
Our generous donors and fund founders enable us to do the work that we do on a daily basis. Their consistent show of support and desire to see Frederick County be a vibrant community will positively impact our citizens for generations to come, and for that, I am thankful.
I am thankful for the Community Foundation’s competent and dedicated staff, who work each day in serving the Community Foundation’s mission. Our staff is experienced, they work hard, and they uphold our excellent reputation for trustworthiness, accountability, and transparency.
As I reflect back on this year, I am also thankful for Frederick County’s nonprofit community. It is collaborative, innovative, and is always striving to respond to the changing needs of our community. This was perhaps most evident as soon as the pandemic hit our community back in March. The COVID-19 Philanthropic Funders Collaborative quickly formed, consisting of major local funders within Frederick County. These organizations worked together to respond quickly and decisively to provide emergency relief funding throughout our community.
This year has been a year unlike any other. The Community Foundation of Frederick County will continue its work to ensure that Frederick County is forever. We know that through this community’s support and all of our collaboration that #NothingStopsPhilanthropy.
Ho ho ho from Frederick County!
From your telescope at the North Pole, I am sure that you can see the many good things happening in Frederick County. I know that you and your elves have been scrutinizing your lists, checking them twice, and figuring out who has been naughty and nice. Yes, we anxiously await your annual trip to Frederick County!
I hope our donors are on your list as being “nice.” Without their support, the Community Foundation can’t provide grants and scholarships, so please bring them something special that thanks them for providing more than $6 million in these areas in fiscal 2019. And, if you have something in your sack that is heart-warming, please consider leaving gifts for our Cornerstone Society members in recognition of their remembering the Community Foundation or one of its funds in their estate plans.
I would be surprised if you found anyone in Frederick County to put on your “naughty” list, except maybe the people who drive the wrong way on Church Street in front of our office. However, I don’t think they are naughty; they are just disoriented or confused with our one-way streets. Or maybe they are so happy eating their cupcakes from our neighborhood cupcakery or the fudge, ice cream, and doughnut stores on our street corners that they lose their sense of direction. I will be sure to leave some of their special treats for you and the reindeer on the 24th.
I know a letter to you is supposed to ask for something. Here are a few things that would make my heart sing, such as:
· Help us continue to make progress in raising money for our Forever Frederick County campaign. This money will go towards building an endowment fund that will provide grants now for Frederick County’s greatest needs, such as our aging population, families with children, and responding to substance use disorder, and then the greatest needs that arise in the future.
· Encourage all Frederick County residents who are pursuing a post-secondary education to apply for our scholarships. The application will be available on our website from March 1st through March 31st. Speaking of scholarships, our Scholarship Committee is currently accepting applications for volunteers. Maybe you could let everyone know about this as you travel during the holidays?
· Give everyone who is struggling a peaceful heart during the holiday and in the coming year. Our nonprofits work hard to bring health, harmony, and happiness to all the residents of Frederick County, so please include their volunteers and staff in your gifts as well.
Thank you for reading my letter and thank you for all your gifts – the ones from the past years, the ones that you will leave this year, and the ones that will come to us in the future. Most importantly, thank you for all the donors who are and will help ensure that Frederick County is forever. Ho ho ho! A happy holiday to all!
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.
In this holiday season, some families, friends, and co-workers have “Secret Santa” exchanges where holiday gifts are given anonymously. Each person has the name of another person in the group and provides a gift for them. It’s a fun way to celebrate the season and make memories.
Based on the “Secret Santa” idea, a donor came to us in 2010 and said he wanted to create a fund to provide small grants that would help people with special situations. He knew that small obstacles sometimes reduced the quality of life, and other aspects of life would improve ten-fold if the smaller obstacle could be overcome. This donor also knew the Community Foundation often received requests of this kind but didn’t always have grant money available.
The Secret Santa Fund was born. Early in its life, the Community Foundation received a request from Citizens Care & Rehabilitation Center. A resident needed new tires on her power wheelchair. Her insurance would not cover the cost, and she could not pay out of pocket. The power wheelchair was her only means to be independent, navigate the facility, and participate in resident activities. The grant was made, and this resident was again enjoying life.
Several grants have been requested by SOAR Frederick County (Supporting Older Adults through Resources, Inc.). SOAR’s mission is to assist older adults in Frederick County to help meet their essential needs confidentially and respectfully. A Frederick resident undergoing treatment at The Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore needed reliable, regular transportation. A Secret Santa grant helped purchase a car. Another Frederick County resident had no functioning appliances in his home and was living on prepared foods. His wife was receiving care in a nursing home, and his income was very limited. The Secret Santa Fund assisted with a grant that purchased gently used appliances and a grocery gift card to help stock the refrigerator and freezer with food. Another grant request from SOAR helped an elderly man who was deaf replace an old computer that stopped working. The computer was his only way of communicating with the outside world, schedule appointments, and more. A replacement computer ended his isolation and depression.
Other grants from the fund include helping another Frederick County senior with power chair repairs, and a church that purchased gift cards for its Angel Tree program at Christmas so that six children would have Christmas gifts.
Recently, grants from The Secret Santa Fund have supported The Federated Charities Rapid Response Program. This program’s purpose of assisting residents who are experiencing hardships with a small grant that could positively change their situation aligns with the purpose of the fund. To date, grants have helped with gas gift cards so that medical appointments could be kept, groceries, medical equipment, gift cards for clothing at Goodwill and Select Seconds, utility bills, and more.
While gift-giving for most of us takes place in a concentrated time frame at the end of the year, The Secret Santa Fund gives throughout the year. The situations that were improved with grants from the fund made a huge difference in the lives of those who benefited. The donor’s vision in setting up the fund to provide a “hand-up” to those needing assistance is a wonderful example of giving and creating great impact within Frederick County.
If you’re interested in supporting this fund, tax-deductible contributions are accepted at www.FrederickCountyGives.org/SecretSanta.
Grantmaking is a large part of the Community Foundation’s role. In FY2019 (July 1, 2018, through June 30, 2019), $5 million was invested into our community through grants to local nonprofits, and other organizations such as civic and faith-based groups. Grants are both competitive and designated, meaning that some grants are created through a competitive application process, and other grants are “designated” by the donor specifically to support an organization or cause, and are provided annually. Our ability to do this starts with generous donors who want to make a difference and who use the Community Foundation as their conduit for their charitable giving.
Grantmaking is a process that comes with a variety of rewards and challenges. I recently talked with Dr. Amaris Little, Community Foundation trustee and grant committee chairperson, to get her perspective about our competitive grantmaking. Dr. Little has been a member of the grant committee since 2014 and has served as chairperson since 2017.
Reviewing competitive grant applications is the most complicated part of the process. “We see what great need there is in Frederick County, and we’re challenged to make difficult choices between many compelling grant applications and funding one program or another,” Dr. Little said. “We’re fortunate that our grant committee volunteers have a broad range of experience and expertise, which helps bridge the information gap. In addition, the number of applications increases each year, requesting larger dollar amounts. More organizations than ever before are relying on the Community Foundation for funding, and our board has stepped up and approved money from our reserve funds when needed.”
Our grantmaking process has evolved with the time, Dr. Little says. Technology has brought great advances in software and has helped streamline the review process and rating system dramatically. “The rating system is really important because it helps us answer the question about the request fitting the purpose of the fund providing the money,” she said. “Then, the group discussion and the perspectives shared help the committee determine how much impact a grant supporting one program or another can make for the benefit of the community.”
Our staff constantly reviews the grant process, and I asked Dr. Little what she thinks is unique about our grantmaking. “The Community Foundation has its finger on the pulse of what’s going on in the community and what’s coming up. We do our homework so that we can anticipate needs. We’re not stuck in one place doing the same things the same way every year.”
Finally, I asked Dr. Little what advice she would offer for organizations seeking grants, and what she believes that donors should know. “We want to fund great programs, so the content provided in the application is really important. Sometimes that’s all the information we have towards making the decision,” Dr. Little said regarding organizations that apply. “Attend the grant information sessions provided and learn how to make your application stronger.”
“Donors should know that there are many people involved in the grantmaking decision process,” Dr. Little went on to say. “The grant committee members invest a huge amount of time to ensure we make the best decisions and that the Community Foundation is a good steward of their charitable dollars because we all care about what’s happening in our community.”
During this unprecedented time of critical need, The Community Foundation of Frederick County is taking action to support local nonprofits that have been impacted by the COVID-19 crisis.
To date, the Community Foundation has provided $125,000 in COVID emergency funding to help local nonprofits continue their critical services and programs for Frederick County residents experiencing difficulties because of the public health crisis. Food, assistance with rent and utilities, emergency shelters, and adaptations of facilities and programs to meet emerging needs are just a few of the things that these grants will support. Grantees are located in all areas of Frederick County – Emmitsburg, in the northern region, through Frederick City, to Brunswick, in the south.
Through quick action on the part of many Frederick County funders, the COVID Collaborative was formed in late March, at the start of this crisis in Maryland. The Collaborative includes the Community Foundation, United Way of Frederick County, Ausherman Family Foundation, Delaplaine Foundation, Inc., Helen J. Serini Foundation, Women’s Giving Circle of Frederick County, The Kahlert Foundation, The William E. Cross Foundation, and The Mark and Susan Butt Saturday Mornings Fund, and others. These organizations and donors are working together to respond quickly and decisively to local nonprofits' needs.
As part of this campaign, the COVID Collaborative is administering a common grant application to support local organizations impacted by COVID-19. Organizations can apply for emergency grants to support increases to demands in services and/or grants to support general operating expenses when revenues have been impacted by COVID-19-related closures. Applications will be considered on a rolling basis. The application can be accessed at www.FrederickCountyGives.org/grants.
We do not want to add pressure to our already stretched nonprofits, and we are here to work with them in submitting grant applications and developing their cases for support.
These are challenging times. The Community Foundation wants our donors, scholars, grantees, volunteers, and community members to know that we are here for Frederick County. We will help our donors and community members act on ideas for creating impact during this crisis. We are strategic, nimble, and responsive in supporting the nonprofit community as this crisis unfolds. We’re in this for the long haul, and we are here for you.
Donate to the COVID-19 Emergency Relief Campaign by visiting www.unitedwayfrederick.org/COVIDrelief. Donations can also be mailed to United Way of Frederick County, PO Box 307, Frederick, MD, 21705.
Each year, the Community Foundation recognizes several people from Frederick County who are selfless in their contributions of time, energy, and talents because they want to make a difference in the lives of others. We are pleased to announce the 2020 Wertheimer Fellows for Excellence in Volunteerism who will be honored on November 19, 2020, at our 34th Annual Report to the Community, which is being held virtually this year.
The awards are made possible by a bequest from the late Janis Miller Wertheimer, a well-known Frederick businesswoman and prolific volunteer whose legacy of giving continues through The Janis Miller Wertheimer Endowment Fund with the Community Foundation.
Each Wertheimer Fellow receives $25,000 from The Janis Miller Wertheimer Endowment Fund. They choose to add this money to an existing Community Foundation fund or use it to create a new fund. The Wertheimer Fund also provides a $2,000 grant to a nonprofit of choice by the Youth in Action honoree.
Sally Arnold, 2020 Wertheimer Fellow for Excellence in Volunteerism, has made a profound impact in Frederick County from her volunteer service as a certified 4-H volunteer for the last 45 years. She is known for bringing people together and making connections that might not have been made otherwise. She thrives on building relationships and spreading love, from educating youth to supporting the elderly.
Some examples of Mrs. Arnold’s volunteer work include picking up trash along the sides of a littered road, volunteering to serve dinners at the Jefferson Ruritan, and putting together boxes at Thanksgiving and gathering Christmas presents for families in need. She teaches 4-H youth the value of performing selfless acts to encourage her club members to also be active in the community. Some of her other volunteer activities include playing the organ for local churches and being involved in Brunswick High School’s Future Farmers of America program and the Great Frederick Fair’s 4-H programs.
With her award, Mrs. Arnold has created The Richard and Sally Arnold Family Fund with the Community Foundation to provide grants to support the programs and activities of Frederick County 4-H Camp and Activities Center.
Shari Ostrow Scher, 2020 Wertheimer Fellow for Excellence in Volunteerism, is the founder of Children of Incarcerated Parents Partnership (COIPP). The nonprofit provides support for children, their incarcerated parents, and alternate caregivers through activities for children, parenting classes, caregiver workshops, post-release support group sessions, and other support services.
Under Mrs. Scher’s leadership, COIPP served more than 700 individuals, their children, and caregivers in 2019. COIPP’s all-volunteer members come from all over Frederick County, providing thousands of hours of service. Mrs. Scher has never taken a salary for her efforts in leading the organization. Her long-time volunteer commitment to this underserved population in Frederick County has made a significant impact, and people around the world reach out to her for assistance in starting similar programs.
With her award, Mrs. Scher has established The Scher Family Fund with the Community Foundation to provide grants to support the programs and activities of Children of Incarcerated Parents Partnership.
Daryenne Elizabeth Dorsey, 2020 Wertheimer Fellow Youth in Action honoree, has been volunteering since the age of 6 when she decided to run for Frederick County Volunteer Fire & Rescue Association’s Little Miss Fire Prevention in 2008. She has been a volunteer with United Steam Fire Engine Company #3 since 2014.
Ms. Dorsey was instrumental in establishing what is now known as the Junior Swamper program for the department, making her one of the first junior members of the department. She has progressed through apprentice membership and now serves as a senior member and continues in that volunteer role to date. Ms. Dorsey’s dedication to volunteerism has meant several hours of training. She selflessly gives of her time whenever possible, assisting at fundraising events, assisting with education and prevention events, attending formal and informal training, attendance at a variety of meetings within the corporation, and providing basic life support on one of the corporation’s transport units.
With her award, Ms. Dorsey is providing a grant to United Steam Fire Engine Company #3 in support of its mission.
To view the Community Foundation’s 34th Annual Report to the Community and to see this year’s Wertheimer awardees be honored, visit www.FrederickCountyGives.org/NothingStopsPhilanthropy on November 19 at 3 p.m. You may also view the video “on-demand,” as it will be posted permanently at the above link.
View All Press Releases | View All Announcements