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. Applications are now open for the third annual Forward Funding Challenge. Applications are due January 31. Finalists will be notified by February 13. The live presentation event will take place on February 25.

Winners-JudgesThe Washington County Historical Society won the second annual Forward Funding Challenge. They will use their grant of $3,000 to turn the Miller House and Gardens into a special event venue for showers, luncheons and birthday parties. They plan to purchase additional food storage and preparation items, such as a commercial ice machine and chafing dishes.

Other finalists included Community Free Clinic and Community Volunteer Fire Company of District 12. The Community Free Clinic proposed a new online auction designed to coincide with Cyber Monday and Giving Tuesday. The Community Volunteer Fire Company of District 12 proposed purchasing two fryers to use during indoor and outdoor fundraising events.

Responsive Grants

Applications are now closed for the 2019 granting cycle. The 2019 Responsive Grants focused on the development of a stronger community through high impact programs and initiatives within the following areas:

  • Family Stability, including 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 under-served

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 2018 responsive grants to 21 local nonprofits at the Discovery Station on March 15. Total dollars for this year’s grants equaled $126,415. The Foundation has granted more than $1 million since this program’s inception 15 years ago.

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