Community Foundation Announces Volunteer Honorees

FREDERICK, MD – October 13, 2016: The Community Foundation of Frederick County will hold its 30th Annual Report to the Community on Thursday, November 17 at 5:30 p.m. at the Holiday Inn Hotel and Conference Center, Francis Scott Key Mall. The event will thank donors and highlight prior fiscal year accomplishments. In addition, the 2016 Wertheimer Fellows for Excellence in Volunteerism will be honored.


Wertheimer honorees are selected for their selfless contributions of time, energy, and talents to the Frederick County community. The awards are made possible by a bequest from the late Janis Miller Wertheimer, a well-known Frederick businesswoman and prolific volunteer whose legacy of giving continues through her planned gift that created, among three funds, The Janis Miller Wertheimer Endowment Fund with the Community Foundation.

The Janis Miller Wertheimer Endowment Fund has provided each Wertheimer Fellow with $25,000 to add to an existing Community Foundation fund or create a new fund. The fund also provides a $1,000 grant to a nonprofit of choice by the Youth in Action honoree, with an additional $1,000 provided by The Donald C. Linton Fund, another component fund of the Community Foundation. Through these awards, their legacies of giving will continue to touch lives and help those who are served through area nonprofit organizations.

The following individuals have been chosen to receive the 2016 Wertheimer Fellows for Excellence in Volunteerism Award and the Wertheimer Youth in Action Award.

Virginia “Ginny” Brace, of Frederick, has been an active leader with Friends of Waterford Park and the Neighborhood Advisory Virginia Brace webCouncils. 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, of Middletown, has served on the board of Woman to Woman Mentoring, Inc. (W2WM) since 2011 and has been Leslie Ruby webinstrumental 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.

Cristian Castillo, of Frederick, has been an active volunteer with Kids These Days, Inc. since its inception in 2015. He has Cristian Castillo webvolunteered 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.

Caleb McNeil webCaleb 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.

Video vignettes about the Wertheimer honorees will be unveiled during the 30th Annual Report to the Community, courtesy of WHAG-TV.

Those interested in attending the annual meeting and learning more about the Community Foundation or the Wertheimer Fellows for Excellence in Volunteerism and Youth in Action award are encouraged to visit the Community Foundation’s website at

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