The Wertheimer Awards
2022 Wertheimer Honorees
Rev. Dr. Barbara Kershner Daniel
Rev. Dr. Barbara Kershner Daniel has given her time and energy to more than a dozen local organizations doing everything from leading major fundraising initiatives to serving on boards to advocating for those in need and participating in relief trips to locations experiencing hardship in the U.S. and abroad.
Currently the senior pastor at Evangelical Reformed United Church of Christ, Barbara has volunteered her time and experience at The Frederick Center, SHIP, Religious Coalition for Emergency Human Needs, YMCA of Frederick, Frederick Area Ministerial Association, Frederick Junior Fire Company and Rotary Club of Carroll Creek, among others.
Some of her most notable achievements include leading the Frederick Area School Supply Drive for 12 years, providing thousands of students each year with needed school supplies, including more than 2000 students in 2021 alone; and her work with the Religious Coalition for Emergency Family Needs Emergency Family Shelter. Barbara has been a tireless advocate of this program and has been outspoken about the need for a permanent family shelter. She is co-chairing a Beyond Shelter Campaign that has raised $3.5 million in 12 months to fund a new Emergency Family Shelter that will provide temporary housing and supportive services for up to ten families.
Others have said that Barbara’s approach to volunteerism is to first ask “where am I needed?” followed by “how can I help?”. She is a leader who is able to organize people and projects using an encouraging and inclusive approach and is equally willing to serve as a team member and support others who are heading up efforts in an energetic and dedicated manner.
One peer said of Barbara, “Her focus has always been to support marginalized populations through a tireless commitment of time and talent. Barbara has been willing to serve as a leading advocate for social justice in the Frederick Community.”
Rev. Dr. Barbara Kershner Daniel will contribute her 2022 Wertheimer Fellow for Excellence in Volunteerism Award to the existing Community Service Fund of Evangelical Reformed Church.
Mary Giles Ellis
Mary Giles Ellis has provided decades of valuable services to the citizens of Frederick County, especially for individuals in underserved ALICE households and senior citizens.
Mary has either worked for or volunteered at a range of charitable organizations since the 1990s including the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation where she was its first Managing Director and CFO; Habitat for Humanity where she oversaw public relations and grant activities; Heartly House where she volunteered as interim Chief Operations Officer, on the Board of Directors, and managed the annual children’s holiday gift drive; the Friends of the Child Advocacy Center where she served as publicity chair; and. most recently, SOAR where she volunteers with board governance, grant writing, and operations. She has even served on the Community Foundation’s scholarship committee for several years. For over 8 years, she has dedicated her efforts to the United Way of Frederick County where she is a member of the Board of Directors. She serves as the Governance Chair and assists the organization with grant writing and other projects. For 5 years, she worked several days a week as a volunteer income tax preparer for the Prosperity Center.
She has guided and educated many nonprofit board and staff members on building and strengthening their organizations. She has stepped in and stabilized nonprofits during financial and leadership transition.
She is well-known for her grant writing prowess, having secured community impact grants totaling over $1 million. She is also credited with saving organizations tens of thousands of dollars while volunteering in operations, governance, and public relations capacities.
Mary’s impact goes beyond dollar signs. Her commitment to helping local nonprofits become mature, self-reliant, efficient organizations has enriched, and perhaps even saved, the lives of many. One local executive director said of Mary: “She is a one-of-a-kind marvel with her vast knowledge and understanding of nonprofit organization. To say you care is one thing, to write a check is another, to actually show up and offer your time to organizations that are in need and offer tangible assistance is what Mary does best.”
With her 2022 Wertheimer Fellow for Excellence in Volunteerism Award, Mary will establish The Friends of SOAR Fund to support administrative and program costs of service for seniors in need in Frederick County.
Claire Mathews, 2022 Youth in Action Honoree
Claire Mathews, the Wertheimer Youth in Action honoree, is a senior at Frederick High School. Claire always puts others before herself and that is evident in the many ways she gives back to her community. Earlier this year Claire was recognized as a Dr. Ben Carson Scholar for not only her academic achievements but her commitment to volunteering as well.
A dedicated Girl Scout, Claire impacts her community through initiatives like working as a camp aide, teaching youths at the Brunswick STEM Camp, creating pumpkin pie mix to donate to local food banks at Thanksgiving, attending the National Girl Scout meeting, and supporting an array of local events and projects.
In addition to Girl Scouts, Claire is dedicated to supporting church activities. She participates in her church’s 30-hour famine event at which she doesn’t eat for 30 hours as she learns about famine around the world, and then goes out into the community and collects food donations for the local food bank. She learned how to work the video system so she can record services for those who cannot attend in person and she helps children at music camp learn how to play various instruments.
She also commits time and energy to projects with the Academy for the Fine Arts and Frederick Children’s Chorus.
She is described as being trustworthy, responsible, respectful, fair and caring. One said of her, “Claire’s ability to lead, yet stay out of the limelight, I believe has encouraged others to follow in her footsteps. She cares for her community with such grace. Those young and old tend to gravitate to Claire.”
With her Wertheimer Youth in Action Award, Claire will provide a grant to the Academy for the Fine Arts summer camp.