News & Event
There’s a story behind every fund created at the Community Foundation. Let’s start with one of the very first: the Smith Sisters, who created The Mary E. M. and Ruth E. Smith Scholarship Fund. They were dedicated schoolteachers and community volunteers who cared deeply about the children they taught and the community they lived in, and they left a legacy that’s benefited nearly 300 students pursuing education as a career.
If you attended Parkway Elementary in the 1940’s, 50’s, or first half of the 60’s, you’re not too old to remember these remarkable women. Mary and Ruth taught school for 42 and 44 years respectively. Mary was also an administrator, serving as principal of Parkway Elementary from 1940 to 1966. Early in her career, she spent 13 years as a “teaching principal” at Urbana Elementary, meaning she taught all seven grades and served as head administrator. Mary was the first teacher and principal in Frederick County to earn a master’s degree, and Ruth was the second elementary teacher to accomplish this.
In a June 1966 article by The Frederick News-Post covering Mary’s retirement, she said the key to a rewarding life is to identify with a cause that is bigger than yourself and then lose yourself in the cause. As devoted teachers, education was the cause to which Mary and Ruth “lost” themselves during their lifetime. After their lifetime, they wanted to help others be successful teachers and administrators. Through their fund, they have continued to support their cause and build their legacy.
Each year, approximately a dozen students receive a college scholarship from this fund that helps them pursue their dream of becoming a teacher and getting “lost in their cause” by positively influencing the lives of young learners. Some have returned to teach in Frederick County, but no matter where they’ve gone, the impact of Mary and Ruth’s scholarship has gone with them.
This fund also holds a significant place in the Community Foundation’s history, as it was the first large endowment fund to be managed by the board of trustees. It was originally established with Fredericktown Bank and Trust Company and then transferred in 1987, just one year after the Community Foundation was incorporated as a public charity. It is still one of the largest endowed scholarship funds under management and contributes significantly to the $1 million total of all scholarships presented annually.
What are the causes in which you can “lose” yourself? How can your efforts make a difference? What kind of legacy do you wish to leave? Only you know the answer to the first question. The Community Foundation can help you answer the others. You don’t have to be wealthy to create a lasting legacy. All you need is the desire to something meaningful with the resources you have.
The Community Foundation of Frederick County announces its FY2019 dates for strategic and impact grant application periods.
Applications for strategic grants will be accepted July 15, 2018 through August 15, 2018. Nonprofits providing programs supporting access to health care, prevention of homelessness and access to affordable housing, and improving school readiness for children should apply.
Applications for impact grants will be accepted August 15, 2018 through September 15, 2018. Nonprofits providing programs that impact health and human services, historic preservation, the arts, agriculture, civic causes, animal welfare, education, youth programs, elder care and more should apply.
All grant applications are made through the Community Foundation’s online application process, and details can be found at www.FrederickCountyGives.org/grants.
To be eligible to apply, organizations must certify it is one of the following: a 501(c)(3) nonprofit; a government agency applying for an extraordinary project that is not funded by tax revenue; a religious organization requesting funding for non-sectarian activities, or a civic group that is not a 501(c)(3) requesting funding for a community cause.
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.
As a community, we continue to hear about accidents and deaths related to drunk driving. It is especially sobering when you know people who have lost family or friends this way. When a person’s life is cut short, it’s incredibly difficult to find comfort or offer comfort to those left behind. Some people turn their grief into preventative action, so others never experience the same loss.
One example of loss turned into action is The Garrett R. Petronchak Memorial Fund. Garrett lost his life in an alcohol-related accident in 1995. A graduate of Walkersville High School, he was enrolled in his second year at Frederick Community College. His death sent his mother, Peggy Waxter, on a mission to educate others about the dangers of drinking and driving. Her first step was to establish a fund at the Community Foundation for scholarships to graduating high school seniors and grants to nonprofits. The scholarship criteria included that students must be involved in substance dependence prevention programs and grants would support programs relating to the enforcement of underage drinking laws. The fund provides a way to fundraise and accept contributions that are tax-deductible.
Mrs. Waxter decided to organize a community run to raise money for the fund, and The Garrett’s 5K Run was established in 1996. She, along with family and friends, worked tirelessly for ten years to organize the race, with as many as 600 runners participating. Mrs. Waxter also partnered with Frederick County Public Schools (FCPS) for ten years to talk with high school students throughout the county about drinking and driving. Since 1998, more than 18 scholarships have been presented, totaling more than $35,000 in post-secondary educational support. Also, she shared her story by speaking at Frederick County Victim Impact Panels - a court-mandated requirement when a person was charged with DUI.
Since education is Mrs. Waxter’s focus, she recommends grants to Frederick Community College’s Police Science program to assist those studying law enforcement. Grants have provided books to police cadets enrolled in the program, to ensure they have the most up-to-date material available. GoPro cameras were purchased as additional training tools. In 2016 and 2017, grants to Frederick Community College Foundation supported the purchase of two Drunk Busters Pedal Karts and impairment goggles for the Police Science program. The Maryland State Police and Frederick City Police are using the Karts and goggles for community outreach to let people experience what it is like to drink under the influence and have reached hundreds in the community as a result. Additional grants from the fund in 2018 provided the Maryland State Police with three new Preliminary Breath Testers and other classroom equipment that demonstrates how alcohol affects the body and increases drunk driving risks.
How have these scholarships and grants impacted the community? Mrs. Waxter says she has created awareness of the devastation that impaired driving can cause. The FCPS high school students she spoke with were shocked when she described the horrendous car accident that took Garrett’s life. When presenting a scholarship in Garrett’s name to a student, she makes sure they know about the poor decision Garrett made to ride with an intoxicated driver, and that earning their college degree and being successful is important to her because Garrett would never finish college. She also says the grants have brought the message to a higher level, as the Drunk Buster Kart simulations have reached hundreds of people. “Knowledge is power, and the more information people have about driving under the influence will hopefully save lives,” said Mrs. Waxter.
Our Scholarship Committee volunteers are one of the largest sets of non-compensated worker bees that we have. The Board of Trustees includes 24 volunteers who are Frederick County residents engaged in diverse professions and come from all over the county. The Grants Committee is another group of worker bees who put in countless hours vetting grant requests and recommending to the Board where the grant dollars will create the most impact. There are 12 additional committees that fall under Board leadership, and dozens of additional volunteers fill these roles. We are grateful for their selfless service and humbled by their commitment to making Frederick County the best it can be.
These are examples of how the Community Foundation utilizes volunteers. Opportunities abound in Frederick County, from serving as a volunteer fire fighter to serving meals at Community Action Agency or Frederick Rescue Mission. Volunteering doesn’t have to be “big” – simply helping with spring clean-up at a local park makes a difference.
Just for fun, here are few more Maryland annual volunteer stats*:
· The 27.9 percent of residents who volunteer equates to nearly 1.4 million people
· More than 153 million hours of service are given
· The 153 million hours of service equates to more than $3.9 billion of service contributed. That’s right – “billion” with a “b”
· Nearly 54 percent of residents donate $25 or more to a charitable cause
If you’re a volunteer, thank you! If you know someone who volunteers, offer them a big “thank you.” Together, we’re all making a positive difference for everyone in Frederick County.
*Statistics gathered from www.nationalservice.gov/vcla/state/maryland
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