The Community Foundation of Washington County MD was established as a permanent and growing philanthropic vehicle for charitably minded people and corporations to contribute financial resources that enrich the community’s quality of life. Income from our various funds offers financial support, in the form of grants, allowing us to meet current needs and prepare for the future. We support a wide-range of qualified nonprofit organizations and causes, primarily in Washington County, Maryland. Our grant making objectives include:

  • Support creative, focused, results-oriented responses to existing or emerging community challenges
  • Reward efforts that recognize and build on community strengths and assets
  • Improve the effectiveness and build the capacity of Washington County’s nonprofit organizations
  • Facilitate cooperation and collaboration among community organizations

We offer the following granting programs: Responsive Grants, the Mary K. Bowman Fine Arts Fund, the Forward Funding Challenge, the Women’s Giving Circle Fund and FANS Fund. Additionally, we facilitate work to meet the charitable goals of individual donors through donor-advised funds and scholarships.

Forward Funding Challenge

The Forward Funding Challenge encourages local nonprofit organizations to create innovative and ongoing fundraising efforts. Organizations must be based in and serving Washington County, Maryland. The project or idea must be new to the organization. This initiative is not to expand the capacity of programs offered, but to aid organizations in developing a sustained funding source.

Forward Funding finalists will be notified by February 12. Training for the three finalists will take place on February 14. Finalists will present their ideas before a panel of judges at a live event on Monday, March 2, 2020, at the Maryland Theatre in the View Studio Room. The winning nonprofit organization will receive $3,000 for their innovative project or idea.

Winners-judgesCedar Ridge Children’s Home & School won the Community Foundation of Washington County MD’s third annual Forward Funding Challenge. Cedar Ridge will use their grant of $3,000 to purchase LiveScan Fingerprinting Equipment to use within the organization as well as for other organizations in the local community for a nominal fee to perform digital fingerprinting for state and federal background checks.

Other finalists included Potomac Playmakers and San Mar Family & Community Services. Potomac Playmakers planned to create screen printed t-shirts for each show by purchasing the screen-printing machine and supplies to have in-house. San Mar proposed developing a crowdfunding model that allows their most faithful supporters to garner the power of the internet and social media by sharing their reasons for supporting the nonprofit. Both organizations ended up receiving a $1,500 grant for their projects from the Pauline Anderson Foundation.

Responsive Grants

The Community Foundation’s 2020 Responsive Grants are now closed. This year’s grants focused on the development of a stronger community through high impact programs and initiatives within the following areas: family stability, including all stages of life, financial literacy, employment, mental health, and basic needs; Youth Development with a focus on mentoring, school readiness, and advocacy; Arts, recreation and educational opportunities for our youth and the underserved.

2020 grants will be presented on Thursday, March 19 at 3:00 PM at the American Red Cross of Western Maryland on 1131 Conrad Court. 

Applicant organizations must be based in and primarily serving Washington County, Maryland, and have a current 501(c) (3) determination from the IRS. Organizations may apply for funding for more than one program; however, each program requires a separate grant application. The Community Foundation of Washington County MD does not fund endowment growth or capital campaigns. Grant requests for operating funds may be considered on a case by case basis provided the applicant organization makes a compelling case for such funding.

What We Do Not Fund
The Community Foundation usually will NOT approve grant requests for:

  • Funding annual operating expenses
  • Endowment campaigns
  • Projects that would ordinarily receive public tax support
  • Sectarian religious programs
  • Political activities or organizations
  • Special fundraising events/celebration functions
  • Scholarships or financial assistance for grades K-12
  • Deficit retirement
  • Capital campaigns
  • Any organization whose board of directors or programs are not primarily based in Washington County, MD

We review each application for completeness, clarity and eligibility. Then the Foundation’s Grants Committee evaluates the applications and directs grant money to specific nonprofit organizations with final approval from the board of trustees.

The Community Foundation makes financial commitments only one year at a time. Please direct any questions concerning grants to Sarah Burge, director of grants and donor relations, at 301-745-5210.

The Community Foundation presented its 2019 responsive grants in March to 22 local nonprofits for a total of $125,175. The grants committee selected Washington County nonprofits and programs focused on the development of a stronger community through programs addressing family stability, youth development and arts, recreation and educational opportunities. Please submit the 2019 Responsive Grant Final Report for your organization by December 31st at midnight.

Grants-19 group picResources for the responsive grants come from the growth and earnings of established Community Funds at the Foundation as well as a partnership with the Pauline Anderson Foundation. The Community Foundation presented grants to the following 24 programs:

  • American Red Cross of Western MD: $7,500 to support the Home Fire Campaign project that provides smoke alarms and financial assistance to Washington County disaster victims.
  • Barbara Ingram School for the Arts Foundation: $2,500 to expand the Photography Academy at the Summer Arts Academy.
  • BEACON House: $5,000 to support STEAM Works for children ages 3-18 and their families.
  • Boys & Girls Club of Washington County: $10,000 for Smart MOVES (Skills Mastery and Resistance Training), a nationally acclaimed prevention and advocacy program to help participants with their decision making and critical thinking skills.
  • Community Foundation Imagination Library program: $5,000 for books to children birth to five.
  • Community Free Clinic: $10,000 to expand their community mental health care program.
  • Community Free Clinic: $5,000 for an on-site, acute health care clinic at E. Russell Hicks Middle School.
  • Ft. Ritchie Community Center: $5,000 to expand the Kid’s Club program to add a second weekly session, field trips for families and host a Christmas dinner for senior citizens.
  • Hagerstown YMCA: $9,800 for infant and toddler childcare expansion.
  • Horizon Goodwill Industries: $5,000 for Get Onboard, a two-week course focused on introducing participants to the concepts of self-motivation, self-management, self-assessment, conflict negotiation and financial literacy.
  • Interfaith Service Coalition: $4,000 towards Martha’s House, a new youth center and feeding site located on Main Street in Hancock.
  • Lasting Change/Recovery Solutions for Women: $3,250 for a fitness and wellness center.
  • Maryland Wind Music, Inc.: $1,250 for the Maryland Wind Festival, a week-long performance series held by the Maryland Chamber Winds each summer.
  • Mason-Dixon Council, Boy Scouts of America: $10,000 for Scouting for All, which provides monetary assistance for all aspects of Scouting such as registration fees, uniforms, handbooks, events/activities, summer camps, etc.
  • Office of Consumer Advocates: $3,000 for Soul Haven Wellness & Recovery Center to provide nutritious meals.
  • Open Minds, Inc.: $6,500 to the Mindful Living Program at Head Start of Washington County.
  • The Arc of Washington County: $9,675 towards staff training and program improvement for autism.
  • Together with Families: $2,700 for Food for All, a program that addresses the nutritional needs of participants and provides basic culinary education, encourages cooking at home, exposure to fresh and healthy foods and the value of eating meals as a family.
  • Town of Williamsport: $2,000 towards Red Cross swim lessons for low income families.
  • University of Maryland Extension 4-H Youth Development: $1,000 to support the downtown Hagerstown 4-H Club with supplies, transportation to other 4-H events and scholarships for the Washington County 4-H Day Camp for.
  • OnTrack: $5,000 for the OnTrack Washington County Technology Enabled Youth Council, an innovative research and youth engagement program.
  • Washington County Commission on Aging: $3,000 to begin a food pantry program at its congregate sites to support participants when meals are unavailable during inclement weather, weekends and holidays.
  • Women of Valor Ministries: $5,000 to THRIVE Connect which provides quick, secure and consistent access to effective treatment options for people with mental illness in conjunction with Potomac Case Management Services.
  • Western MD Fellowship of Christian Athletes: $4,000 to fund the Wheaton Park Co-ed Day Camp.