The Community Foundation of Frederick County has been working remotely for the past three months as our community is in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. Our staff members have been working hard, because coronavirus doesn’t stop philanthropy, and we understand the importance of continuing to serve our community during this challenging time.
For the first several weeks after the pandemic hit, we worked together with our partners in the funding community and generous donors to help ensure local nonprofits had what they needed so they could continue to help the people they serve. The Community Foundation worked quickly and decisively to distribute more than $330,000 in COVID-19 emergency relief grants to support a wide array of needs, including food insecurity, behavioral health services, information and referral services, and emergency shelter.
The pandemic started right in the middle of our scholarship season, but that didn’t slow down our team. The Community Foundation Scholarship Committee reviewed more than 1,100 scholarship applications online and had to make decisions on awarding more than $1.8 million in scholarships for the upcoming academic year to help students pursue their postsecondary educational goals.
There is always something happening at the Community Foundation. You might have a general idea of what the Community Foundation does and what our mission is, but have you ever thought about how we make all this great work happen, especially in the middle of a pandemic?
Community foundations generally have three distinct features: they create permanent endowments; they have broad, flexible purposes and monitor community needs; and they provide opportunities for personalized giving.
The Community Foundation of Frederick County is comprised of “two sides of the house.” Our Philanthropic Services Department is responsible for all the money that comes into our organization. Philanthropic Services staff work with donors to fulfill their charitable intents and build permanent funds that grow and benefit our community forever. They help donors create an individual or family legacy, and they offer donor involvement in selecting nonprofits and criteria for scholars who will benefit from their funds.
Central to the Philanthropic Services team’s work now is the Forever Frederick County campaign, which is creating funds to provide strategic grants based on Frederick County’s most pressing needs as determined by the 2018 Human Needs Assessment and similar studies going forward. To date, more than $14.2 million has been raised, which is $6 million from the campaign’s goal.
Our Community Impact Department is responsible for all the money that goes out of our organization. Community Impact staff manage our grantmaking program, which supports a wide variety of community interests and causes with one goal in mind: improving the quality of life in Frederick County. Our grant funding is divided into strategic grants, impact grants, rolling grants, and donor-advised and designated grants.
Strategic grants fund nonprofits that provide programs addressing the areas of greatest need in Frederick County, which have been identified in our 2011 and 2018 Human Needs Assessment reports. Impact grants support a wide array of programs that improve the community and provide opportunities for people of all ages. Funding can support many areas including the arts, youth programs, health and human services, and historic preservation. Rolling grants support nonprofits that meet the needs of individual Frederick County residents as well as a wide range of field of interest and special purpose funds. In FY19, the total of all grants (strategic, impact, donor-advised, and designated) was $5 million. That’s a lot of impact in Frederick County.Our Community Impact team also oversees our scholarship program, which supports nearly every area of study imaginable, with scholarships funded by generous donors who believe in the value of education.
This is just a small glimpse into the world of what we do “in our house” here at the Community Foundation to translate simple good intentions into powerful acts of philanthropy that build a stronger, more vibrant community not only for today but for the future. As our community begins to reopen, regroup, and revitalize during the pandemic, the Community Foundation continues to work hard serving our community, because coronavirus doesn’t stop philanthropy.