Circular Tales

betsy dayWhen my children were younger, I loved reading circular tales to them. My favorite was “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie” by Laura Numeroff, which tells the tale of a boy who gives a cookie to a mouse, the mouse subsequently asks for milk, then a straw, a mirror, a nap, followed by other things and eventually the story goes back to the cookie. It all started because of the cookie.

At the Community Foundation, we create our own circular tales of giving, receiving, stewardship, community impact, and then back to giving. We have used (maybe overused) the visual of the stone cast into a calm pool of water, with the concentric ripples reaching out further and further. That’s what a contribution to a Community Foundation fund does – it creates more and more impact, round and round, with surprising results.

I wish I could write circular tales as well as Laura Numeroff, so here is my humble attempt to tell two true-life circular tales from The Community Foundation of Frederick County.

Circular Tale #1…If you give a student a scholarship….

(Giving) A husband and wife decide to create a scholarship fund with the Community Foundation to support post-secondary education in accounting, healthcare or the physical sciences.

(Stewardship) The first scholarship is awarded to a young man who was completing his nursing degree at Frederick Community College.

(Receiving) The young man begins his career at Frederick Memorial Hospital.

(Impact) The wife is admitted to the hospital, and by coincidence, the young man is the nurse assigned to her case. The husband and wife were able to see first-hand the impact of the scholarship fund they created.

(Giving)That first-hand experience made them want to help more students, which they did by adding to their scholarship fund.

I don’t know about you, but I love this happy, heart-warming ending.

Here’s another circular tale, but the circle isn’t quite complete yet.

Circular Tale #2…If you give a grant to support health care in appreciation

(Giving) A man creates a fund to provide grants to the Frederick County high school where his children graduated and Shriner’s Hospital in Philadelphia, in appreciation of the healthcare services that his great-grandson received as a child.

(Stewardship) Each year, Shriner’s Hospital receives a grant to provide affordable, quality healthcare, just like the great-grandson received.

(Receiving) The great-grandson, with the help of sound medical care, grows into an impressive young man, graduates from high school and applies for a Community Foundation scholarship.

(Impact) The great-grandson receives three Community Foundation scholarships.

(Giving) The boy’s father is appreciative of the scholarships and is encouraging a civic group that he is involved in to start a Community Foundation scholarship fund.

This circular tale isn’t quite complete yet because we are anxiously waiting to see all that the grandson accomplishes in his academic career and his future professional endeavors.

If you give a student a scholarship, or if you give a grant to healthcare, it’s a lot different than giving a mouse a cookie, because it creates impact that is For Good. Forever. For Frederick County.

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