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.

Please note that the 6th Forward Funding Challenge has been postponed from early 2021, indefinitely. 

Responsive Grants

Deadline: November 15th, 11:59pm

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 2020 responsive grants to 29 local nonprofits for a total of $145,583. 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.

Resources 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 and the Sound the Alarm event that provides smoke alarms and financial assistance to Washington County disaster victims.
  • Boys & Girls Club of Washington County: $7,500 to continue promoting academic success.
  • CASA (Citizens Assisting & Sheltering the Abused, Inc.): $5,000 to continue support of their emergency shelter program.
  • Cedar Ridge Children’s Home & School, Inc.: $3,000 to support their peer-to-peer mentor & advocate program.
  • Children In Need, Inc: $5,000 to support their Extended Services program, servicing public school students who fall below the poverty line in farther outlying Washington County towns like Smithsburg, Hancock, Boonsboro, etc.
  • Community Food Bank at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church: $4,500 to support their food bank initiatives and to grow the program appropriately.
  • Community Free Clinic: $7,500 to expand their community mental health care program.
  • Community Free Clinic: $2,500 to develop their Youth Overcoming Life’s Obstacles (YOLO) program.
  • Court Appointed Special Advocates of Washington County, MD: $5,200 to support their program advocating for children.
  • Doleman Black Heritage Museum, Inc.: $4,400 to support their change of address by covering costs to reprint marketing materials and exhibit / gift shop showcases.
  • Ft. Ritchie Community Center: $4,000 to expand the community center’s STEM initiative.
  • Girls Inc. of Washington County: $5,000 to invest in their mentoring program.
  • Hagerstown Community College Foundation: $6,000 to invest in their WorkKeys Testing program for students, helping to develop Washington County’s workforce.
  • Horizon Goodwill Industries: $5,000 to develop their Young Adult Solution Center.
  • Hospice of Washington County, Inc.: $1,250 to invest into DoveTales Bereavement Camp, a program designed to support the children of those who’ve passed away.
  • Interfaith Service Coalition: $3,600 towards Martha’s House, a new youth center and feeding site located on Main Street in Hancock and their Fishing Kids program.
  • Ladders to Leaders: $7,500 to assist in work transportation.
  • Lasting Change/Recovery Solutions for Women: $4,000 to invest in their career development program.
  • Maryland Food Bank – Western Branch: $2,500 to support their Washington County School Pantry program.
  • Mason-Dixon Council, Boy Scouts of America: $5,000 for Scouting for the Whole Family, which provides monetary assistance for all aspects of Scouting such as registration fees, uniforms, handbooks, events/activities, summer camps, etc.
  • Open Minds, Inc.: $4,500 to the Mindfulness Living Program at Head Start of Washington County.
  • REACH of Washington County: $10,000 to invest into the creation of Bridge to Change – a service that puts individuals to work cleaning up the immediate downtown area, and more.
  • St. John’s Shelter: $2,200 to repair the shower / replace in their bathroom.
  • Star Community, Inc.: $2,500 to invest in their Equine Relationship Journey program.
  • The Salvation Army of Hagerstown: $3,500 to invest in Pathway to Hope.
  • Washington County Commission on Aging: $5,500 to invest in Meals on Wheels, and another $1,050 to invest in their Bingocize program.
  • Washington County Community Action Council, Inc.: $10,000 for their Emergency Family Assistance program.
  • Washington County Free Library (Fletcher Branch): $2,883 for their Cooking and Conversation program.
  • Washington County Museum of Fine Arts: $2,500 to fund Joshua Johnson: Portraitist of Early American Baltimore exhibit.
  • Women of Valor Ministries: $5,000 to THRIVE SNAP ET which provides quick, secure and consistent access to effective treatment options for people with mental illness in conjunction with Potomac Case Management Services.