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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.”
Frederick County is rich in history, from the Revolutionary War forward. Originally, Memorial Day honored those who lost their lives fighting in the Civil War. As world wars and other conflicts evolved, the holiday became a way to honor all who have died serving their country. Annually on this weekend, we remember the men and women who have died while serving in the United States military to preserve our freedoms.
In addition to the funds created at the Community Foundation honoring individual military personnel who have given their lives, we hold funds that honor those who have served in specific conflicts. The Cresap's Rifles Post 78, 29th Division Fund provides grants to nonprofits, with a preference to those with programs serving veterans and military-related organizations. Grants have supported such organizations as Operation Second Chance, Wounded Warrior Projects, Fisher House, and more. The history of Cresap’s Rifles is an interesting Revolutionary War story. The Continental Congress requested ten rifle companies from Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Maryland to join George Washington and the Continental forces outside Boston. A group of men led by Michael Cresap marched 550 miles from Oldtown, Maryland to Boston and the rifle companies collectively are credited with helping to save Washington’s army when at their weakest point in the summer of 1775.
Also representing the Revolutionary War is The Sergeant Lawrence Everhart Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution Fund. The Chapter, through its activities, brings attention to the patriotic, historical and educational importance of the Revolutionary War and its history in Frederick County. In 2012, the Chapter began organizing the Frederick Town Fife & Drum Corps for youth up to age 19. The corps members, garbed in historically based uniforms and equipment, bring to life the important role that the fife and drum corps played in the Revolutionary War, with the fifers and drummers providing music and sound signals that entertained our military units in camp and directed their maneuvers on the battlefield. Contributions to the fund have supported the fife and drum initiative and the group's current 18 and growing number of members and staff.
Finally, the Community Foundation holds The Col. William E. Weber Chapter 142 Korean War Veterans Association of Frederick County, MD, Inc. Fund. Scholarships from the fund are provided for students who are direct bloodline descendants of those who served in the U.S. Military and are eligible for Korean War Veterans Association membership. More than 30 scholarships have helped students achieve their post-secondary educational goals since 2004.
Many contributions and sacrifices have been made by those who have served and are serving our county. Our thanks to all, past and present.
FREDERICK, MD – July 18, 2019: The Women’s Giving Circle of Frederick County announces that 39 grants totaling $210,000 have been presented to 24 area nonprofits serving women and children. The grants were presented during the 13th annual event held in June. The Women’s Giving Circle of Frederick County Fund is one of more than 700 component funds of The Community Foundation of Frederick County.
The FY2019 grants bring the Women’s Giving Circle grant total to $1,656,500 since the first grants were provided in 2006 in support of its mission to provide programs and services promoting self-sufficiency for women and those who depend on them. The organization was founded by Karlys Kline, a local resident who wanted to find ways to assist women and their dependents. The idea quickly caught on and through a partnership with the Community Foundation, the organization has grown to include more than 325 members. Kimberly S. Chaney, Women’s Giving Circle chairperson, encourages those interested in membership to visit www.FrederickWGC.org for more information.
The following nonprofits received grants:
Advocates for Homeless Families received a $4,000 grant to provide assistance accessing permanent housing or avoid energy shutoff, a $4,000 grant to provide or maintain reliable transportation and childcare, and a $500 grant for its urban gardens program.
The Birthing Circle received a $6,500 grant to assist women in challenging pregnancy and birth situations to improve birth outcomes.
Boys & Girls Club of Frederick County received a $5,000 grant to provide summer child care scholarships to children of single mothers.
Care Net Pregnancy Center of Frederick received a $3,000 grant to provide safe and age appropriate car seats to Frederick County women, and a $3,000 grant for diapers and wipes for mothers with financial need.
Children of Incarcerated Parents Partnership received a $3,000 grant to provide higher education assistance to women who have incarceration in their lives, and a $1,000 grant for respite support of caregivers of children impacted by incarceration.
Daybreak Adult Care Services received an $8,000 grant to provide respite services to women caring for an aging parent or spouse.
Frederick Community College Foundation received a $5,000 grant for its Allied Health Academy to assist unemployed or under-employed women seeking to acquire training in an allied health field, and a $5,000 grant for Project Forward Step to reduce financial barriers for low-income single mothers and displaced women enrolled in classes.
Frederick Memorial Hospital received a $5,500 grant for its Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders Support and Outreach Program, including mental health treatment for pregnant and postpartum women in Frederick County.
Frederick Rescue Mission, Inc. received an $8,000 grant for its Faith House Program in support of case management services to homeless mothers and children, and a $3,000 grant to support its food distribution center for women in need.
Heartly House received an $8,000 grant to provide medical accompaniment and advocacy for victims of sexual assault and domestic violence.
Housing Authority of the City of Frederick received an $8,000 grant in support of child care costs to help women move forward, and an $8,000 grant to provide transportation to women improving their lives through education and employment.
Literacy Council of Frederick County, Inc. received a $3,000 grant to support women’s literacy programs and a $2,500 grant for women’s literacy program teaching and learning materials.
Mental Health Association of Frederick County received a $5,000 grant in support of its Parent Coach program that helps promote parent/child relationships and improves child development, and a $7,500 grant in support of its Healthy Families Frederick program to promote child well-being through intensive home visits for first-time mothers.
Mission of Mercy, Inc. received a $3,500 grant to provide medical services to uninsured and underinsured women with hypertension and heart disease, a $3,500 grant to provide medications to uninsured and underinsured for women with diabetes, a $3,500 grant to provide general medications for uninsured and underinsured women, and a $6,000 grant for dental care for uninsured and underinsured women.
Partners In Care received a $3,000 grant to better serve older women by focusing on personal needs such as member advocacy, health, wellness, and safety concerns.
The Phoenix Foundation received an $8,000 grant to provide financial assistance for women who cannot afford substance use disorder treatment fees, sober living fees, transportation for treatment, and/or treatment-related prescription medication.
Planned Parenthood of Maryland received an $8,000 grant to provide reproductive health care screenings, tests and treatments to women living at or below poverty level.
The Religious Coalition for Emergency Human Needs received an $8,000 grant for eviction and utility interruption prevention for women and their families, and an $8,000 grant to help provide emergency shelter and case management support for homeless women with children.
The Salvation Army received a $5,000 grant to provide individualized services to families with children to assist in breaking generational cycles of crisis and vulnerability.
Second Chances Garage received an $8,000 grant in support of the low-cost vehicle repair program for women, and an $8,000 grant to provide refurbished vehicles for women.
Seton Center, Inc. received a $6,000 grant in support of the DePaul Dental Women’s program to provide dental screenings and services to uninsured, low-income women, and a $7,000 grant to support the cost of dentures or partials for uninsured, low-income women.
Spanish Speaking Community of Maryland received an $8,000 grant to educate and support mothers of children who attend Frederick County Public Schools who are victims of abuse and/or are low-income to help build self-sufficiency and invoke their legal rights.
Student Homelessness Initiative Partnership (SHIP) received an $8,000 grant to provide emergency shelter in area hotels for women and children experiencing homelessness.
Wells House at Gale Recovery received a $2,000 grant to provide Trauma Informed Yoga to female patients.
The new grants bring the Women’s Giving Circle grant total to just over $1.1 million since the first grants were provided in 2006 in support of its mission to provide programs and services promoting self-sufficiency for women and those who depend on them. The 275+ member organization welcomes new people at any time. To learn more, visit www.womensgivingcircleoffred.org.
Advocates for Homeless Families received a $4,000 grant to provide assistance accessing permanent housing or avoid energy shutoff, a $3,000 grant to provide or maintain reliable transportation and childcare, and a $500 grant for its urban gardens program.
Children of Incarcerated Parents Partnership received a $2,000 grant to provide higher education assistance to caregivers of children whose lives have been affected by an incarcerated parent and a $600 grant to provide women inmates leaving the Detention Center with resources that will lead them toward success.
Care Net Pregnancy Center of Frederick received a $2,400 grant to provide safe travel for 100 children in the Frederick community by providing new car seats to families and a $3,900 grant to provide diaper supplies to mothers who need financial assistance.
Daybreak Adult Day Services received a $5,000 grant to provide respite care and support to women caring for older adults.
Frederick Community College Foundation received a $2,500 grant for the Allied Health Academy to provide transportation and childcare assistance to women in the allied health program, and a $7,000 grant for Project Forward Step to provide transportation and childcare assistance to returning single parents who need financial assistance.
Frederick Memorial Hospital received a $3,000 grant for the Survivors Offering Support program to provide hospital integrated peer mentoring to newly diagnosed breast cancer patients.
Frederick Rescue Mission, Inc. received a $10,000 grant to support the Faith House Program to provide support to homeless mothers and children.
Heartly House received a $10,000 grant to provide medical accompaniment and advocacy for victims of sexual assault and domestic violence.
Housing Authority of the City of Frederick received a $7,000 grant and a $6,500 grant, both in support of the Women Succeeding in Education program, helping women in public housing meet their education and employment goals.
Interfaith Housing Alliance received a $6,500 grant in support of its Self Sufficiency Counseling initiative that teaches women effective financial management.
Literacy Council of Frederick County, Inc. received a $3,000 grant to provide textbooks and curricular materials to women to support their literacy goals and improve their self-sufficiency and employment opportunities.
Mental Health Association of Frederick County received a $7,000 grant in support of its Parent Coach program to support non-custodial mothers and a $7,000 grant in support of its Healthy Families Frederick program to improve parenting skills.
Mission of Mercy, Inc. received a $4,000 grant in support of dental services for women, a $2,300 grant to provide medications for women, a $2,300 grant to provide medical care for women with diabetes and a $2,300 grant to provide medical care for women with hypertension.
Partners In Care received a $6,000 grant to help coordinate volunteers with older women who receive 2,000 free rides yearly for medical appointments and assistance for everyday living tasks.
Planned Parenthood of Maryland received a $7,500 grant to provide reproductive health care screenings, tests and treatments to women living at or below poverty level.
The Religious Coalition for Emergency Human Needs received a $10,000 grant for eviction and utility interruption prevention for women and their families, and a $7,000 grant to help provide emergency shelter and case management support for homeless women with children.
Second Chances Garage received a $7,500 grant in support of the low-cost vehicle repair program for women, and a $4,000 grant to provide refurbished vehicles for women.
Seton Center, Inc. received a $10,000 grant in support of the DePaul Dental Women’s program to provide dental screenings and services to low income women.
Student Homelessness Initiative Partnership of Frederick County (SHIP) received a $10,000 grant to provide expanded emergency shelter for homeless mothers and their children.
Wells House at Gale Recovery received an $8,000 grant in support of drug and alcohol recovery and employment services for women and a $1,200 grant to provide a computer station with printer at The Gale House.
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.”
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