The Community Foundation created the Friends & Neighbors Support Fund (FANS) as a way for concerned citizens in Washington County to respond to emergency situations affecting their neighbors. Nonprofit organizations within the community forward recommendations to the Foundation when a situation arises that meets a unique, one-time need. We do our best to make sure a long-term solution is put into place through other community organizations before asking donors to invest in an unsolvable problem. Then, we e-mail interested donors to share the specifics without divulging any personal or identifying information. Donors can decide at that time whether or not to make a tax-deductible contribution to help resolve the need. FANS’ members have made gifts ranging from $10 to $1,000. We disburse FANS funds to a responsible nonprofit organization to help them close the gap and, hopefully, resolve the situation.
Horizon Goodwill Industries reached out to the Community Foundation in April to help Nikita, a single mom with stable employment at the Goodwill South End store, who needed several expensive car repairs for her vehicle to pass Maryland inspection. She used her car for work, driving to child care and appointments. Nikita owned the vehicle and maintained insurance on it, but did not have extra funds to pay for the necessary repairs.
Members of FANS came together quickly to provide the $600 to help her out. Because of FANS, Nikita could fix her car and not have to depend on Public Assistance programs since her job enabled her to take care of herself and her family. “Without the assistance of FANS to get her car fixed, she may have found herself losing her job and living in poverty again,” said Brooke Grossman, associate director of workforce development at Horizon Goodwill.
Joining the FANS Network is a great way to give back to your community and know that your contribution has an immediate impact in helping an individual or family in need, right here in Washington County. To join the FANS Network, send your e-mail address with the word FANS in the subject line to firstname.lastname@example.org or call (301) 745-5210.