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.
There are many people who give generously to many organizations throughout their lifetime. They faithfully support one or more nonprofits representing causes they believe in, or they establish a fund with the Community Foundation that will provide grant distributions to these nonprofits each year. Often, people we meet with are concerned about what happens to these gifts after their lifetime. How can the organizations they’ve loved and supported still benefit once they are no longer here to write a check?
Meet Elmira B. Cook. Mrs. Cook was a long-time annual supporter of Frederick Rescue Mission, a nonprofit which serves the homeless and working poor in Frederick County and helps those with substance use disorder. As she advanced in age, she was concerned about the Frederick Rescue Mission missing out on her annual support after her death. Mrs. Cook met with the Community Foundation and learned there was a way to continue to help, in perpetuity. In 2000, she created The Elmira B. Cook Endowment Fund for the Frederick Rescue Mission. The first grant from the fund was given in 2001, and every year this grant to Frederick Rescue Mission carries out Mrs. Cook’s charitable goal of supporting this worthy organization.
We work with many donors who have the same concern as Elmira and decide to create funds that reflect their unique charitable goals. Another example is The Vince and Guelda Imirie Fund. It was founded in 2005 by Mrs. Imirie to support six different entities annually: Frederick Memorial Hospital, Kline Hospice House, Mental Health Association of Frederick County, The Norine Haas Mental Health Scholarship Fund, Glade United Church of Christ, and the Community Foundation. Rather than create the fund using cash, she used appreciated real estate and worked with the Community Foundation’s Holding Company to transfer the net proceeds to the fund. Mrs. Imirie deemed this transaction “a very worthy project that will long serve the charitable causes my late husband and I supported together.”
Some donors set-up testamentary funds, meaning that the fund isn’t active now, but will receive money from their estate and become an active grant and/or scholarship fund after their lifetime. The Linwood T. Offutt Fund for The Frederick County 4-H Camp Center, established in 2017, provides an annual grant to support Camp Center programs and activities. The purpose of the fund was defined by Mr. Offutt before his death and honors his lifelong career as a farmer and his devotion to agriculture education for youth. It also reflects his active memberships in many agricultural organizations in Frederick County.
Mrs. Cook, Mrs. Imirie, and Mr. Offutt have all passed away, but their legacy and impact within our community continue through their funds. Creating the funds, or the framework for a fund during their lifetime provided them great peace of mind that their charitable goals would continue to be carried out. We are honored to make these dreams come true, forever.
We celebrated Mother’s Day yesterday, May 12. Millions of people bought cards, flowers, candy and other symbols of love to show their appreciation for their mom, mother-in-law, grandmother, godmother, and anyone who has filled the role of “mom” at various times.
The Community Foundation celebrates Mother’s Day, too. We work with donors looking for ways to honor their mothers, and we have helped many families create funds that recognize their mother’s profession, interests, causes, or simply the love they received from her.
Scholarship funds and funds that help children in Frederick County are often created, and it’s important to know that while many funds have similarities, every fund created is unique to the person or family or cause it represents. For example, The Margaret E. Brust Nursing Scholarship Fund provides post-secondary scholarships to students studying nursing and was created by Charles and Betty Brust in honor of Margaret, Charles’ mother, who was a dedicated nurse to countless people. Virginia K. Draper was a beloved wife, mother, grandmother, and educator in Frederick County from 1939 to 1980, and her son, daughter-in-law and granddaughter created The Virginia K. Draper Memorial Scholarship Fund to provide post-secondary scholarships to students studying education. The Frederick Arts Council Thelma Gross Music Scholarship Fund was created by daughter Anne-Lynn Gross, to remember Thelma, a teacher, singer, pianist, and poet, and her love of music that was passed down to Anne-Lynn. Tuvy Guss and Tracey Ellis-Guss established The Jean Ellis and Florence Guss Memorial Fund to be able to give back to the community because their mothers instilled in them the importance of philanthropy and volunteering. Tuvy and Tracey named the fund after their mothers to honor and remember their contributions and impact on the community.
There are many more: The Martha Murphy Virts Fund for St. Joseph’s Ministries provides support to the St. Joseph’s nursing home facility in Emmitsburg (formerly St. Catherine’s Nursing Center) and was created by Edgar Virts, Jr., to honor his mother who was a dedicated nurse. The Markey/Hooper Fund for The Child Advocacy Center of Frederick County honors Richard Markey’s mother, Mary Alice Markey, and his aunt, Betty Hooper. The Linda M. Snyder Memorial Fund was established by Linda’s husband Tom and daughter Lindsay to remember her deep love of helping children with special needs by providing post-secondary scholarships to those who are majoring in special education or elementary education.
This is only a brief representation of the funds we hold that were created in honor of a mother, but it does provide examples of the creative ways in which sons and daughters have sought to add to their mother’s legacy and ensure she is remembered forever. The Community Foundation is honored to help.
Christmas in July has become a popular marketing theme in recent years. Store promotions, Hallmark Channel’s run of holiday movies throughout the month, and other deals and incentives to buy for the holidays now. One pair of our donors, however, have Christmas on their mind year-round, as their fund provides grants to many different organizations in Frederick County. Many of their grants have helped provide Christmas and holiday gifts to thousands of children, youth, and vulnerable adults.
The Mark and Susan Butt Saturday Mornings Fund was created by Mark and Susan in 2006 with funds from the sale of Mark’s book, Saturday Mornings. The book is a compilation of columns that Mark wrote over numerous years for The Frederick News-Post and is a humorous look at life and families. The Butts were already deeply ensconced in community activities, and because of this, they were aware of the many needs of Frederick County children. They decided that the money from book sales would benefit charitable causes and partnered with the Community Foundation to facilitate their dream.
Since 2006, more than $170,000 in grants has had a huge impact on thousands of lives right here at home. Many of those are children and youth who had presents to open on Christmas morning and in the holiday season. Grants to the Frederick County Department of Social Services (DSS) Foster Care and Adoption Unit, Glade Valley Community Services, Patty Pollatos Fund, and The Religious Coalition for Emergency Human Needs have enabled them to purchase toys, clothing, and gift cards that bring smiles to many faces during the holiday season. Other nonprofits have received grants that assisted with case manager salaries and rent/utility expenses (Advocates for Homeless Families, The Religious Coalition for Emergency Human Needs), grants for children without enough to eat on weekends (Blessings in a Backpack), summer programs for youth (SHIP News Horizons program), other educational programs for youth (Spring Ridge Elementary and Walkersville Middle School), and finally, support for those with special needs (Special Olympics, Frederick County program) and the arts (Frederick Arts Council/Sky Stage).
Since 2013, the Butts have also participated in the Community Foundation’s strategic funding partner program and through their fund, provided more than $70,000 for grants through The Children and Youth Strategic Initiatives Fund, and The Basic Human Needs Strategic Initiatives Fund. Grants supported programs that provided critical services for ensuring children were ready to learn at age 5, and for those who were newly homeless or precariously housed.
The Butts have a vision for their philanthropy, and with our help, as well as help from our grants committee and board of trustees who vet and approves all grants, they are making a difference in areas of need that are important to them.
What areas of need are important to you? Where can you make a difference? Every grant is significant, no matter its size. Every fund generating grants to worthy causes in Frederick County, even if one per year, helps improve someone’s life.
Neither John nor Carol Ford was born in Frederick, but after having lived here for more than 40 years, they consider it their adopted hometown. Even now that the couple, both in their 80s, have moved to New Hampshire to be closer to family, they are pleased to have left behind something that will benefit the community where they spent half their lives: an endowment fund that bears their name at The Community Foundation of Frederick County.
The Fords created their fund in 2004 using a small inheritance from one of Carol’s aunts. Over the years, they have recommended the Community Foundation use the income generated annually by the fund to support local nonprofits whose missions they supported, including Hope Alive and Habitat for Humanity.
The Fords could have contributed directly to these organizations, but because they had great respect for the Community Foundation’s innovative model of charitable giving, they decided to create a donor-advised endowment fund instead.
For the past 15 years, the Fords have continued to contribute to their endowment fund and make recommendations to the Community Foundation as to where to direct its income. After their lifetimes, their daughter will assume this responsibility as the fund’s representative. After their daughter’s lifetime, the Fords’ fund agreement stipulates that income from their endowment become unrestricted.
“Because our community’s greatest needs are continually changing, many donors feel like a group of living individuals in the future will be in a better position to allocate funds than a written directive from the past,” explained Betsy Day, President and CEO of The Community Foundation of Frederick County. “In these cases, an unrestricted endowment fund is most suitable, as they allow the Community Foundation's Board of Trustees to allocate their proceeds to meet the emerging needs of the community.”
“Giving a one-time contribution is certainly one way to support a cause that is close to your heart,” said Carol. “But John and I liked the idea of creating a fund whose income provides for an annual gift--not only throughout our lifetimes but in perpetuity. We trusted The Community Foundation of Frederick County in 2004 when we started our endowment fund, and we continue to trust them implicitly. We feel confident that their staff and Board of Trustees will always do the right thing with the funds entrusted to their care—today, tomorrow, and long after we’re gone.”
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