The Wertheimer Fellow Awards

Named for the late Janis Miller Wertheimer, a well-known Frederick County businesswoman and prolific volunteer, Wertheimer Fellows are recognized for their sweat equity rather than their financial contributions to the local community—leaving a lasting legacy of giving in everything they do.

At-risk youth, victims of domestic violence, the elderly, homeless families, children with disabilities, the hungry, people recovering from addictions, grant initiatives, African-American historical programs, faith based initiatives, scouting programs, health care agencies, and students reaching for a better life through education have all been helped by the funds added by each Wertheimer Fellow.

Wertheimer Fellows are recognized at the Community Foundation’s Annual Report to the Community each November and are awarded $25,000 to establish or add to a permanent fund with the Community Foundation for the nonprofit or charitable endeavor of their choice.

The Community Foundation presented its first youth award for volunteerism called the "Wertheimer Youth in Action Award" in 2012. Youth under the age of 18 who are positively impacting the community by volunteering their talents and energies in Frederick County may be nominated. The youth will receive a $1,000 grant to give to the nonprofit organization of their choice, and will be honored at the Community Foundation's Annual Report to the Community in November.

2017 Wertheimer Awards - Nomination Information

The Wertheimer Fellow for Excellence in Volunteerism Awards and Wertheimer Youth in Action Awards closed on June 30, 2017.

Nominees will be contacted in late July, and recognized at the 31st Annual Report to the Community on November 16, 2017.

Past Wertheimer Fellows include Cecilia Bach, Orley and Margaret Bourland, Virginia "Ginny" Brace, Elizabeth J. Brady, Peter Brehm, Dennis Cannon, Cristian Castillo, Sandy Cox, Jeanie Cronin, Lawrence A. “Tommy” Dorsey, George and Ruth Dredden, Marlene England, Kristopher Fair, Susan Favorite, Leah Fleming, Caroline Gaver, Charlotte and Charles Glick, Richard M. Golling, Jr., Diana R. Halleman, Miriam Lane, William O. Lee, Jr., Eugene Long, Richard Markey, Caleb McNeil, Susie Z. Miller, Jeannine Milyard, C. Rodman Myers, Viola M. Noffsinger, Ronnie Osterman, Frank Parsons, Jennie Sue Pearson, Colleen Remsberg, Nancy Roblin, Leslie Ruby, Edna and Grace Smith, Jane and Charles Smith, Robert F. Ward, Dr. George Waxter, Fran Wenner, Grace Winpigler, Gail A. Wood, and Vaughn Zimmerman.

Past Youth in Action Honorees include Paulina Bustillos, Cristian Castillo, Madeline Makusky, Caleb McNeil, Lane Davis, and Emily Zimmerman.

Click HERE to read about previous Wertheimer Honorees.

Please meet the 2016 Wertheimer Fellow Honorees :

Virginia Brace.web2Virginia “Ginny” Brace, of Frederick, has been an active leader with Friends of Waterford Park and the Neighborhood Advisory Councils. Her efforts have brought together partners from Maryland Department of Natural Resources, the City of Frederick Parks and Recreation, and Planning Commission and Sustainability teams, making Waterford Park an urban oasis and nature education area. She has also advocated for Rock Creek and Rock Creek Park, promoting stream health and identifying, planting, and maintaining native trees and shrubs to protect the creek. She has organized volunteers for clean-up and maintenance, fundraising, and more. Ms. Brace has been a vocal and effective advocate for the environment, removing trash from waterways to improve water quality, championing a stream bank restoration project, removing invasive plant species, creating bird and butterfly habitats and more. Her efforts to promote the shared use path connectedness helped make the Route 15 underpass, joining the east and west sides of the city, a reality.

In addition, Ms. Brace has volunteered with Frederick County Forestry Board, Record Street Home, Fredericktowne Players, Golden Mile Alliance, and more.

Ms. Brace has, with her 2016 Wertheimer Fellow for Excellence in Volunteerism Award, established The Friends of Waterford Park, Inc. Fund to support maintenance and improvements to Waterford Park and Rock Creek Park west of Route 15.

Leslie Ruby.web2Leslie Ruby, of Middletown, has served on the board of Woman to Woman Mentoring, Inc. (W2WM) since 2011 and has been instrumental in its growth and success. The nonprofit provides one-on-one mentoring to Frederick County women between the ages of 18 and 35, focusing on personal and professional development, education, and family. Ms. Ruby chairs the Social Enterprise Committee that provides “Pop Up Shops,” where gently worn donated clothing, shoes, and accessories are sold inexpensively. The funds support the W2WM program. She recruits and trains volunteers, gathers and sorts donated clothing, solicits partners, manages the marketing, and works at the events. Her efforts have raised more than $30,000, helping W2WM to grow and serve young Frederick County women, which now has more than 50 graduates. In addition, Ms. Ruby volunteers with Student Homelessness Initiative Program (SHIP), where she has also coordinated successful fundraisers. She has served on the board of Frederick Arts Council, Maryland Shakespeare Festival, Exchange Club for Child Abuse Prevention (ESCAPE), and the planning committee for Frederick Women’s Fair.

Ms. Ruby has, with her 2016 Wertheimer Fellow for Excellence in Volunteerism Award, established The Leslie Ruby and Howard Looney Community Fund to support a variety of projects in the community.

Caleb McNeil.web2Caleb McNeil, of Frederick, has been a volunteer with Frederick Rescue Mission’s Summer Enrichment Program, giving at least 120 hours during the eight week program over the last two years. The program helps children in 1st through 5th grade who are homeless, at-risk of making grade level, or from low-income families. Caleb has shown kindness, firmness, and consistency, and has been an excellent role model for the children. He has willingly stepped into difficult situations with some children, successfully encouraging them to make the right decision. His ability, especially at his young age, to build relationships and lead by example has made a tremendous difference in the lives of the children in the program.

Caleb has, with his 2016 Wertheimer Fellow for Excellence in Volunteerism Award, selected Frederick Rescue Mission to receive a grant in support of its activities.

Cristian Castillo.web2Cristian Castillo, of Frederick, has been an active volunteer with Kids These Days, Inc. since its inception in 2015. He has volunteered more than 100 hours of community service, attending nearly every event. Cristian has also volunteered at the Frederick Community Action Agency’s food bank, filling bags and restocking shelves, and with Frederick County Parks and Recreation’s children events, cleaning parks and hiking trails. Despite his young age, Cristian is described by Kids These Days organizers as one of their most reliable volunteers, because he is willing to take charge, helps others, is hardworking and caring, and makes volunteering fun for everyone.

Cristian has, with his 2016 Wertheimer Fellow for Excellence in Volunteerism Award, selected Kids These Days, Inc. to receive a grant in support of its activities.

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