More than 150 community leaders filled the hall at Martin’s Westminster Oct. 17 to honor Audrey Cimino and her 25-year legacy of service to the Community Foundation of Carroll County.
After lunch, the master of ceremonies, retired Army Command Sgt. Maj. Thomas Beyard brought the ceremonies to order. It was one of the first public events many of those in attendance had enjoyed in 18 months, since COVID-19 safety protocols were put in place.
Helping Beyard to help celebrate the accomplishments of Cimino were William Gering, president of the Community Foundation of Carroll County (CFCC) board of directors; my wife, Caroline Babylon, past president of the foundation and current executive director of Carroll County Food Sunday; and Seth Shipley, a member of the foundation board and owner of Shipley’s Fine Jewelry in Hampstead.
I also had the opportunity to speak. I have worked with Cimino on many community initiatives since the 1990s. Last Sunday, I said to those in attendance that Cimino “is one of the nicest, best known and highly talented citizens of Carroll County. For three decades she has been a leader of uncompromising character, integrity, and sincere piety. For me personally, long before the concept elbowed its way into our lexicon, Audrey has been one of my ‘safe rooms’ for decades.
“In Audrey’s 25 years as its executive director,” Beyard said, “the community foundation has been instrumental in putting over $50 million in grants, scholarships, goods and services back into Carroll County. In addition to starting the local community foundation, she was instrumental in starting a community foundation in Parnu County, Estonia. She provides counsel and technical assistance to many Carroll County nonprofit organizations.”
According to a recent Carroll County Times article, “Cimino, 78, led the foundation from 1994 to 2020. … Her retirement was announced last year (in 2020,) but the celebration of her career was postponed because of COVID-19 concerns. Jaclyn Mathias assumed the role as director in April 2020.”
The Times reported in April 2020 that “Cimino has considered writing or maybe teaching a couple classes at the local colleges. … During her tenure at the Carroll Community Foundation, one of Cimino’s favorite part of her position was teaching others. She also enjoyed getting things done … and her help with the Ellsworth Cemetery.”
Carroll County has always been fortunate to have had many great leaders who made a difference and contributed to our community. Stop and think of any great Carroll County leader and remember that history is often the story of ordinary folks who stepped up to the plate to do extraordinary things.
Cimino is an exception. She was already extraordinarily talented when she came to our community in 1994. She was destined to do great things.
Cimino immediately became part of the fabric of our community. She built upon our successes. She identified our strengths and weaknesses and studied our history and traditions and leveraged that knowledge into extraordinary accomplishments.
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A foundation website history retrieved for a Dec. 29, 2005 article I wrote for The Baltimore Sun noted that before becoming the founding director of the community foundation, Cimino was a vice president and trust business development officer for Carroll County Bank and Trust Company. She is a member of the Maryland State Bar Association; her undergraduate and law degrees are from Essex Community College and The University of Baltimore.
Cimino, according to the 2005 history, “has served on the Board of Directors of a number of professional and local charitable organizations including University of Baltimore Board of Governors, Baltimore Estate Planning Council, Carroll County General Hospital, The Shepherd’s Staff, Voices for Children, The Literacy Council, The Vagabond Players, and Association of Development Officers of Carroll County.
For many years, civic and human services leaders in Carroll County shared a common vision of an umbrella organization that would facilitate philanthropic activities within our community. In mid-1993, a steering committee, which included James Wise, Arthur Valenzano, Calvin Seitz, Peggie Roland, Donald Hull, George Giese, William Gering, and Audrey Cimino, began the process of making the Community Foundation of Carroll County a reality.
Beginning with a gift of $60,000 from the Estate of Rosa B. Null, a Hampstead resident, the Community Foundation has grown to $8 million in endowments, operations funds, scholarships and funds managed for other community organizations.
Perhaps it was said best last Sunday by my wife: “Audrey has added beautifully to the afghan, this quilt we call Carroll County. The best part of visiting the foundation offices through the years is always hearing what new project Audrey has helped create. How she ran into two folks who needed to work together and didn’t even know it. …
“Magic has been created at the Community Foundation of Carroll County, thanks to the leadership, excitement and community involvement of Audrey Cimino.”
Kevin Dayhoff writes from Westminster. His Time Flies column appears every Sunday. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.