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betsy daySeeing is believing! Over the next couple of weeks, our trustees are visiting our grantees to discuss the use of their strategic grants over the past year. These grantees are the nonprofits that received money to prepare children for kindergarten, provide services to the homeless and individuals and families facing possible eviction, and access to healthcare for the underinsured.

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.

betsy dayThe Community Foundation’s domain name of cffredco.org has never been easy to remember or say. If you look at it sideways, you can see The Community Foundation of Frederick County in the name, but that means getting the letters placing the letters in the correct order (and maybe tilting your head to the left or right).

betsy dayHere’s a HUGE shout-out to our Scholarship Committee members who scored scholarship applications and met with fund representatives over the past several months. Through their volunteer service, each application receives a thorough and fair review and the Community Foundation remains compliant with IRS regulations. We couldn’t do what we do without them.

It’s almost Easter, and thousands of boxes of Peeps have hit the store shelves. In the old days, there was only one kind of Peep – the yellow chick. Now, Peeps come in every color, shape, and size, for every holiday. Just this week, one of the vendors at the 2013 Nonprofit Summit gave away boxes of bright pink bunny Peeps, with a tag that said “nonprofit Peeps.” I thought this was a very clever idea, but I should have brought home two boxes, because my box of pink bunny Peeps is now missing all their ears.

My name is Betsy.  My parent-given name is Elizabeth, but no one has ever called me that except my doctor’s office, our former Board secretary, and my mother when she was angry.

Ho ho ho from Frederick County!

From your telescope at the North Pole, I am sure that you can see all of the good things that are happening in Frederick County.  I also know that you and your elves have been scrutinizing your lists, checking them twice, and figuring out who has been naughty and nice.  Yes, we anxiously await your annual trip to Frederick County!

Seven fishes on Christmas Eve.
Letters from Santa to each of the kids.
A nativity set with a headless wise man.
A Charlie Brown tree decorated with candy canes.

If you were a fly on the Community Foundation’s conference room over the past two weeks, this is what you would have heard…

Free money?  No way. Grants are not a giveaway.

When nonprofits accept our grant money, they agree to meet our requirements regarding our return on investment in their organizations. This is critically important, because the reality is that the grant money has originated from you, our donors, who want to positively impact the lives of people in Frederick County.

With the recent closing of the Jeanne Bussard Center, I’ve fielded numerous inquiries about Community Foundation funds that were established specifically to support the organization. What happens to those funds? Where does the money go when it’s time to provide the grant? These are all important and valid questions.

This past year has been a year of firsts for The Community Foundation of Frederick County –
our first community-wide human needs assessment,
our first completely on-line scholarship process, including application, selection, and notifications,
our first strategic grantsmaking,
and our first grant awarded pending the successful outcome of another grant.
Did I lose you here?  Let me explain.

Say “scholarships,” and automatically people think of ivy covered buildings, dormitories, and professors with long credentials teaching eager minds at the post-secondary level.  And, yes, the Community Foundation just presented more than $500,000 in post-secondary scholarships to 260 scholars for the 2012-2013 academic year.  Quite an accomplishment for a community foundation that primarily uses the investment return from its scholarship funds in an economy that has been less than favorable.

A comic book focusing on charitable giving with a cat named Lafayette? Yes, that’s what one of our fellow community foundations created and published to showcase how easy “Giving While Living” is.

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