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.

Online applications are now closed. The Community Foundation’s selection committee will review all completed applications and choose three finalists by February 12. Finalists will present their idea at a live event on February 26 before a panel of judges similar to “Shark Tank.” The winning nonprofit organization will receive $3,000 for their innovative project or idea.

Responsive Grants

What We Fund
The Community Foundation’s Responsive Grants will focus on the development of a stronger community through programs addressing the following areas:

  • Family Stability including financial literacy, employment, housing and basic needs
  • Youth Development with a focus on mentoring, advocacy and mental health
  • Arts, recreation and educational opportunities with some emphasis on the under-served

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.


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 2018 Responsive Grants are now closed.

Grant recs

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 Kristy Smith, director of grants and donor relations, at 301-745-5210.