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Joseph Compofelice was a man dedicated to hard work, learning new skills, and mentoring others. These character traits will forever be reflected in a fund in his memory with The Community Foundation of Frederick County.
Mr. Compofelice had a long and distinguished career that can be traced back to when he was 12 years old when he began learning to paint homes. Throughout his life, he acquired multiple building skills and was always eager to learn more. He served his country with the U.S. Navy during the Vietnam War. After serving in the Navy, he began working for the Department of Energy. His broad knowledge, his ongoing quest for perfection, and his motivation to continually learn new skills enabled Mr. Compofelice to advance to the position of project manager at the Naval National Medical Center (now Walter Reed National Military Medical Center) in Bethesda. He retired after working more than 30 years with the federal government.
After Mr. Compofelice passed away, his wife Susan wanted to honor his memory and turned to the Community Foundation in 2016 to establish The Compofelice Family Fund for Building Trades. The fund’s purpose is to support organizations seeking to help Frederick County residents receive training for construction trades in the Frederick County area, with preference given to plumbing, carpentry, electrical services, masonry, and other skills associated with the building industry. Grants may be used to pay for training, educational materials, certification fees, transportation costs, and eliminating any barrier that may prevent students from completing their training program and establishing a career in the building trades.
To date, the fund has provided grants to organizations such as Platoon 22 to assist veterans with the cost of building trades certification, Frederick Career and Technology Center FFA Alumni for student safety training, and Frederick Community College Foundation in support of building trades scholarships.
Mr. Compofelice’s strong work ethic and desire to help others succeed is reflected in the fund in his memory with the Community Foundation. His legacy will help countless Frederick County residents pursue their career goals and further develop their building trades skills.
Donald Lewis was a well-known Frederick County citizen from Thurmont who made a lasting impact on his community. He was an Army veteran, businessman, politician, and community philanthropist who left a permanent legacy by creating funds with The Community Foundation of Frederick County to benefit local nonprofits and provide educational opportunities. With his vision for the future, Mr. Lewis took a big step to ensure that Frederick County continues to be a place that future generations will be proud to call home, just as he did.
Born in Thurmont, Mr. Lewis grew up working on his grandparents’ farm and graduated from Thurmont High School in 1935. Following his graduation, he enlisted in the Civilian Conservation Corps where he met his future wife, Freda. Mr. Lewis later joined the United States Army and was awarded a Purple Heart after being wounded in France during World War II.
In the years following the war, Mr. Lewis returned home and began his entrepreneurial career with his wife Freda. The couple opened Lewis Confectionery in 1952 in Thurmont, and later opened Lewis Sporting Goods Store next door, both of which were community destinations that they owned for many years. Mr. Lewis later served his community through two terms as mayor of Thurmont and two terms as Frederick County Commissioner. As a commissioner, he served as liaison to the Maryland General Assembly in Annapolis.
Mr. Lewis had a successful business and political career, but he was also a generous supporter of causes that mattered to him. He was a longtime supporter of Citizens Care and Rehabilitation Center and Montevue Assisted Living. He cared for his wife for several years after she had a stroke, and the experience inspired him to do something that would create lasting impact at the Citizens and Montevue facilities.
In 2012, Mr. Lewis turned to the Community Foundation to establish The Donald L. Lewis Staff Education Fund for Citizens Care & Rehabilitation Center and Montevue Assisted Living Fund. The fund’s purpose is to provide Citizens and Montevue staff with access to continuing education and training, such as support for tuition, books, resource materials, and professional development. To date, the fund has distributed more than $100,000 for educational support for employees.
Mr. Lewis passed away in 2018 at age 99. With his vision for the future of Frederick County, he made provisions in his estate to create the following funds with the Community Foundation to benefit 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.
Donors like Donald Lewis place their trust in the Community Foundation to help them support the nonprofits and causes they care about. Their vision for the future helps ensure that Frederick County remains a vibrant community for generations to come.
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.
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.
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.
For more than three decades, The Community Foundation of Frederick County has worked with donors to translate their charitable intentions into powerful acts of philanthropy. By connecting people who care with causes that matter, the Community Foundation has found a way to build community and enrich the quality of life in Frederick County—now and for generations to come.
Jack Leishear is one of the people who has reached out to the Community Foundation to help him leverage his resources to set in motion real and lasting change in Frederick County.
First introduced to The Community Foundation of Frederick County in 2001 when he was settling his father’s estate, Mr. Leishear recalls being impressed with the organization’s philosophy and leadership. In 2003, he became a supporter of the Community Foundation himself. Over the past 18 years, he has served as one of the organization’s strategic funding partners, supported basic human needs and access to health care and has given generously to the Widening Circles campaign.
Although originally from Montgomery County, Mr. Leishear has adopted Frederick County as his home. Very much a self-made man, he shares his resources with those less fortunate through The Jack V. Leishear Endowment Fund #1, which he established at the Community Foundation. The proceeds from this donor-advised fund have supported local nonprofits including the Frederick Rescue Mission, the Salvation Army, Mission of Mercy, and the Frederick County Department of Aging, Senior Services Division, as well as the American Heart Association, Fisher Center Alzheimer Research Foundation, Hearing Health Foundation, Judicial Watch, the Heritage Foundation, and WETA.
Mr. Leishear is also a member of the Community Foundation’s Cornerstone Society. In addition to the fund he established during his lifetime, the legacy gift he has provided for in his estate plan will help ensure the future of Frederick County by providing grants that will be used to address the greatest needs of our community—needs we can’t predict but must be prepared to deal with.
Being a progressive influence for change means constantly seeking new and more powerful ways to create impact. Since 2011, the Community Foundation has been working toward targeting our funding toward the most pressing issues of our community as identified in the Frederick County Human Needs Assessments that are commissioned periodically to ‘take the pulse’ of our community. In 2018, our board of trustees adopted an even more proactive approach to addressing our greatest needs, not just now but in the future as well, with the creation of the Forever Frederick County campaign.
The Forever Frederick County campaign creates funds to provide strategic grants based on Frederick County’s most pressing needs as determined by the 2018 Frederick County Human Needs Assessment and similar studies moving forward. Donors like Mr. Leishear have either given gifts now or will contribute funds through planned giving that will be available to meet these future needs as they emerge. They have put their trust in the board of trustees and the Community Foundation staff to invest their charitable gifts and grant them wisely and to act with integrity.
The Forever Frederick County Endowment Fund will provide the resources we need to shape the future and preserve the quality of life for all who call Frederick County home. With the support of donors like Mr. Leishear and thousands more like him, the Forever Frederick County Fund will be a powerful agent for change—now, tomorrow, and in perpetuity.
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