Five million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease and 50 million people are living with Alzheimer’s and other dementias worldwide. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, by 2050, the number of Americans living with Alzheimer’s is projected to rise to nearly 14 million. To raise awareness and support for the disease that has impacted millions of individuals and families, June has been named Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month by the Alzheimer’s Association.
Addressing the need in our own community, The Community Foundation of Frederick County has several component funds that provide support for Alzheimer’s therapies and services. Thanks to our generous donors who created these funds, since 2004, the Community Foundation has distributed more than $450,000 for Alzheimer’s services, treatment, therapies, and training for healthcare professionals.
One of these donors, Edgar Virts, was well-known in the community for his tireless commitment to helping those living with Alzheimer’s disease. In 1997, he established The Geraldine Virts and Jack Brady Memorial Fund for Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders with the Community Foundation in memory of his late wife and former coach. The fund’s purpose is to support Homewood at Crumland Farms for its services for people living with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. Grants from the fund are used for direct nursing care and support of complementary treatments, therapies, and visitors. To date, the fund has distributed more than $378,000 in grants in support of these services.
By continuing to create broad impact for Alzheimer’s support, in 2007, Mr. Virts established three funds with the Community Foundation: The Edgar and Geraldine Virts Fund for Copper Ridge Institute, The Edgar and Geraldine Virts Fund for Love Care and Concern Organization, Inc., and The Martha Murphy Virts Fund for St. Joseph’s Ministries, Inc. The funds all provide support for Alzheimer’s services, including complementary therapies and training for healthcare professionals. In total, the three funds have distributed nearly $70,000 in grants.
Other donors have also turned to the Community Foundation to ensure support for Alzheimer’s services in the community. In 2015, in memory of her husband, and in honor of their life together, Jeannette Shoemaker established The H. Reese and Jeannette K. Shoemaker Charitable Fund with the Community Foundation, which provides support for the Alzheimer’s Association’s Western Maryland activities supporting patients, their families, and caregivers. The fund has provided more than $4,000 in grants to support these services. In 2010, Karen Lee Waters and Joy Stanley Ellis established The Thomas F. Waters Memorial Fund, which provided more than $2,000 in support of Alzheimer’s Association services.
The Community Foundation is fortunate to have donors who are committed to helping those in our community living with Alzheimer’s disease. Their generosity and vision for the future ensure that this support will be in our community for generations to come as the number of Alzheimer’s cases is projected to increase.
Photo caption: From left, Betsy Day, Community Foundation president and CEO, Edgar Virts, and Barbara Pilgram Reynolds, former Alzheimer’s Association of Western Maryland executive director, pictured in 2009.