Heartfelt Choices: Charitable Funds Support Causes Near and Far

black and white photo of woman with glasses and white haired manPhilanthropy is personal and each individual, family and business must make a host of decisions to determine what to give and what to support with their charitable dollars. Part of the joy of my job over the last couple decades has been working with people to help them support causes and organizations that are near and dear to their hearts.

Many choose to keep their support local, in fact last year we distributed grants to hundreds of local nonprofits thanks to generous donors. But we’re excited to help empower donors to support causes that resonate with their unique passions, even when those causes extend beyond the local community. We understand that heartfelt connections often transcend geographic boundaries.

Charles and Helen Myers owned a 250-acre dairy farm in Thurmont. They raised 7 kids and were recognized for the work they did with agricultural and civic organizations in the northern part of the county. In 1956, one of the Myers kids – Rodman Myers – presided over the first Thurmont Community Show, a showcase of Northern Frederick County’s agricultural bounty and community spirit.

After Charles and Helen passed, the Myers children established The Charles F. and Helen A. Myers Endowment Fund with the Community Foundation. The fund supports two separate causes – The Catoctin High School Youth Fund and Shriners Children’s (formerly called Shriners Hospitals for Children).

“We started the fund after my parents died, it was a way to do something that would keep their memory alive,” said Becky Linton, one of the Myers children. “It’s our way of thanking them for all they did for us.”

Shriners Children’s is a health care system that provides care for children at hospitals, clinics and outreach locations around the world. Becky said that her father was a member of the Acacia Masonic Lodge in Thurmont and since that organization supported Shriners, it seemed fitting to make it a beneficiary of this fund.

Since it was created in 1997, the fund has distributed grants totaling more than $25,000.man and woman dressed in black

Dan and Jackie Ward have lived in Frederick County for nearly 40 years. Dan said that several years ago they started to plan for how they would support local organizations and play a role in addressing some of the community’s needs. The Wards said they wanted to be active in their philanthropy, and they wanted to help various organizations and causes.

The couple created The Dan and Jackie Ward Family Fund which focuses on grants that support children’s needs, veteran groups and individuals dealing with addiction.

“We rely on information from the Community Foundation to help us determine where the most need is in Frederick County,” Ward said. “We also make recommendations for grants to organizations outside the local community.”

With their donor advised fund, the Wards have the option to recommend organizations and causes that will receive grant support. The Wards are also strategic funding partners, supporting causes that the Community Foundation has pinpointed as Frederick County’s most pressing needs based on our Human Needs Assessment report.

“We have been very fortunate, and we feel we are able to help those in Frederick that need assistance,” Dan said. “The Community Foundation provides the vehicle for us to help those in need.”

Since their fund was created in 2017, it has provided more than 40 grants to organizations including the Alzheimer’s Association of Greater MD chapter, the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation, Canine Service Partners, Frederick Rescue Mission, Smile Train, Inc., and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, to name a few.

It’s an honor to partner with compassionate individuals, families and business owners to help them extend their generosity and make a positive difference in their local, and sometimes national and global, communities.

*Published in The Frederick News-Post on 1/16/2024.