I’ve been thinking … gratefully.
Two weeks ago, the Community Foundation of Carroll County celebrated its 12th annual Philanthropists of the Year event. And celebrate we did. About 225 people showed up at 7 a.m. on that Wednesday morning to cheer for this year’s winners, Individual, Sgt. Maj. Thomas Beyard; Youth, Lauren Jenne; Business, Quantum Internet and Telephone Services; Family, Josh and Matt Kohn; and Nonprofit, the Boys & Girls Club of Westminster.
If you are reading this column you probably also read the excellent stories about each one of our honorees done by reporters of the Carroll County Times for five days leading up to the event. It’s hard for me to put down in words the extent of our gratitude to the Times for the support they have given us since the very beginning of this project but I hope they know how deep it goes. Another year, another good job. Thank you.
And speaking of the beginning of the project, originally we were casting about for a unique and signature event to raise operating money for the Community Foundation. We wanted it to be something no one else was doing. The Boy Scouts have their “Good Scout Award” and frankly that’s what got us thinking about holding up people in Carroll County who have a history of good works, not just for one organization but for many. Not just once but for a lifetime. The event has taken on its own life and we believe POY is more than just another fundraiser.
Once we started down this road it became clear that it would take a very long time to thank all the people in this community who work in large and small ways to make Carroll County what it is, a great place to live.
And speaking of large and small ways, one person who can write a big check has also been known to install a toilet, himself, for someone in his church community.
Another one of those people has been seen setting up tables and chairs for an event and also serving dinner himself to people visiting from another country. Yet another person does all the “due diligence” required when grants are made, personally.
Some of them read to children on Dr. Seuss’ birthday, pick up trash along the highways, mow the lawn at the Farm Museum, donate financial expertise at the Ag Center or our fire departments.
The stream of good deeds and good will is seemingly endless and the people involved have another common characteristic — humility. Many, if not all, are slightly embarrassed when we inform them they will be honored. Sometimes it takes some convincing that honoring them is a way of encouraging others to follow their example that one generation of philanthropists’ needs to teach the next generation and remember previous generations. It would not be a good thing for us to forget that our beautiful hospital was started by a group of local doctors and citizens so that, “Our girls don’t have to leave the county to have their babies.”
The Community Foundation of Carroll County is approaching its 24th anniversary at the end of November. We manage about $6.5 million spread out over 260 funds. We are a tool that can be effectively used by both the private and public sector to get things done for the benefit of the community. In our 24 years we have put over $35 million in grants, scholarships and programs into the community; not to our credit but to yours, Carroll County.