Honoring the Citizen Servant

betsy dayI didn’t know Janis Miller Wertheimer well while she was alive, but I feel like I know her better in the years since she passed. Many remember her dedication to her community, her volunteer efforts, her enjoyment of a lively conversation, and her desire to make Frederick County a better place to live and work.

Jan was a businesswoman during a time when few women were in business at all. Her keen business sense and her willingness to give of her time and her treasure made her a fixture in Frederick’s commerce and community organizations.

I talked with Jan a number of times during her lifetime about her interests and her charitable intentions. She never told me exactly what her estate provisions were, but she did tell me that she trusted the Community Foundation’s abilities to implement her intentions.

When Jan passed in 2001, we were honored to learn that she had bequeathed the bulk of her estate to the Community Foundation for two specific purposes:

1) to provide operating support for Frederick Memorial Hospital, The National Lutheran Home, Evangelical Lutheran Church, The Historical Society of Frederick County, YMCA of Frederick County, and the Girl Scouts.

2) to support community organizations, at the discretion of the Community Foundation’s Board of Trustees.  

 The funding provided through the second purpose shows that Jan trusted the Community Foundation to use the money wisely for community betterment.

When the bequest was received, the Community Foundation trustees wanted to honor Jan for her generosity as well as support community organizations. To address both purposes, the Community Foundation created its Wertheimer Fellows for Excellence in Volunteerism Award and Wertheimer Youth in Action Award.

The Wertheimer Fellow is awarded annually to the adult citizen-servant, age 18 and older, who gives of their time in extraordinary ways, making Frederick County a better place to live and work. Fellows receive $25,000 in funding to create a new fund or add to an already existing fund with the Community Foundation.

The Wertheimer Youth In Action is awarded annually to an individual under the age of 18, who exhibits exemplary community service and a dedication to volunteerism. The awardee receives $1,000 to grant to a nonprofit directly benefiting Frederick County.

The nomination period for these two awards is now open. The nomination form is easy to complete and can be found on our website by clicking here. Nominations should be received by the Community Foundation no later than 5 p.m., Friday, June 27.

Please note that community volunteers need to be nominated only once to be considered for the awards.

We encourage you to honor your friends, colleagues, family members, and fellow volunteers for these two special awards that in turn honor Janis Miller Wertheimer, whose generosity and planning continues to work in ways that are For Good. Forever. For Frederick County.

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