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.

HabitatHumanity checkHabitat for Humanity of Washington County won the fourth annual Forward Funding Challenge on March 2 at The Maryland Theatre before a panel of judges consisting of previous Community Foundation Rising Star winners’ Sam Buhrman, Kandace Carpenter and Kelsi Palmer. Habitat will use their grant of $3,000 to purchase tools and paint supplies for a new Playhouse Project Build Day. This one-day event will provide low income families in Washington County with their own playhouses built by the teams who sponsor each house.

Other finalists included Hope Through Birth and Leitersburg Ruritan Community Center.

Hope Through Birth plans to provide free birth and bereavement training classes to local medical professionals, first responders and funeral directors for families who experience pregnancy and infant loss.

Leitersburg Ruritan Community Center would like to hold an 80’s themed weekend bash fundraiser that includes a band, trivia competition and corn hole tournament. The money raised during the event will help with the center’s capital campaign.

Through a generous donation by the Pauline Anderson Foundation, Hope Through Birth received second place and a grant of $2,000 for their classes while Leitersburg Ruritan Community Center came in third and will get $1,000 for their fundraiser.

Responsive Grants

The Community Foundation’s 2020 grants ceremony for Thursday, March 19 at 3:00 PM at the American Red Cross of Western Maryland has been cancelled. As we have been closely monitoring developments in the worldwide spread of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) and reviewing available public health information and carefully considering the impact that our public events may have on the spread of this disease, we have decided to cancel all events through the end of March.

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. 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.