I’ve been thinking about … dreams.
Here it is, Dec. 14, 2017, smack dab in the middle of the season of dreams. Funny thing about dreams, you can have one and do nothing with it and maybe regret it the rest of your life. You can have one and make it come true on your own. Or you can have a dream and share it with someone who can help you make it come true. That’s what we do here at the Community Foundation of Carroll County.
I’ve been told recently that a lot of people in Carroll County think that what a foundation is for, including the Community Foundation of Carroll County, is to give away money. That’s one of the things a foundation does but certainly not the only thing. And it is especially not true of our Community Foundation. Let me tell you about a few of the dreams we have helped come true in 2017.
We added 33 new funds in 2017, seven of them new scholarships. Some were to memorialize a terrible loss of life or to celebrate a life well-lived. In all cases, many students in Carroll County will receive support in financing the ever-increasing cost of a college education. We meet with each family or group and counsel with them about applications and criteria to help focus their thinking about what it is they want to accomplish. We produce brochures and fliers for fundraising. We provide the necessary fundraising licenses and permits required by the county or state.
We receive hundreds of scholarship applications each year, make sure all required criteria are met and prepare them for review by the various review committees. All our funds and scholarships have Maryland and federal credentials under the umbrella provided by the Community Foundation and are administered by our staff. More than 120 students received close to $300,000 in awards this year. That’s a lot of dreams and that’s just the scholarships. Total scholarships, grants and services for 2017 will exceed $1.3 million!
None of the 280 programs we have — whether it is a scholarship; a donor advised fund for a family or a business; a component fund providing assistance to veterans, people with cancer or someone who has lost everything in a fire; a group providing care to feral cats or other hungry, abandoned animals; someone providing music lessons to a talented child or a group doing plays or presenting choral concerts; drunk or drug victim impact forums; or the myriad other dreams that walk in our office — are required to do the paperwork involved in running a public charity. We do that.
We help our donors develop their mission statement, a business plan and a budget. We provide the technology for online donations and purchases, gift cards, a presence on Facebook and links between our website and theirs, if they have one. We do that so our clients can concentrate on accomplishing their dreams while we do the mountain of work in the background, dealing with the 990 federal tax return and an annual audit of the whole foundation, accounting for donations, proceeds of fundraisers, thank-you letters, paying bills, banking and investing the more than $6.5 million we manage for our clients so they don’t have to.