The 32nd annual meeting and award luncheon of the Community Foundation of the Eastern Shore emphasized a message of the importance and impact made each year by the foundation’s donors, volunteers, nonprofits, businesses, civic organizations and all those who invest their time and resources to make life better for others here on the Lower Eastern Shore.
“Every year, the annual meeting is a celebration of the strength and impact that comes from our community,” said Erica Joseph, CFES President at the Foundation’s 2016 annual meeting and awards luncheon in Salisbury. Over 300 people gathered at The Fountains Wedding and Conference Center on November 4 to celebrate the Foundation’s charitable leadership and accomplishments during the past year.
The Foundation reported on its activities during the past year to promote and support philanthropy on Maryland’s Lower Eastern Shore. “Together in 2016, our community foundation family is doing really good things, investing nearly $5 million in grants and scholarships to nearly 500 different nonprofit, faith-based and community organizations,” Joseph said.
“A record $450,000 in scholarships were awarded last year and many new scholarship funds established,” Joseph noted. The Foundation currently holds 636 charitable funds that benefit the community, including 15 new funds that were started in the past year.
The highlight of the Foundation’s annual meeting is the presentation of honors and awards. Three major Foundation Awards were announced at the meeting: the Volunteer of the Year Award that recognizes an individual who has made outstanding, sustained, and unselfish contributions in the field of direct community service; the Richard A. Henson Award of Nonprofit Excellence honoring the year’s most outstanding nonprofit organization; and the Frank H. Morris Humanitarian Award honoring an individual for uncommon philanthropic service to the community.
The Mary Gladys Jones Volunteer of the Year Award was awarded to Walt McCabe. Nine years ago, he fortunately moved to Salisbury after an impressive work history with the Associated Press and Reuters news service. He has the unique distinction of being recognized during his residence here as volunteer of the year for not just one, but three different nonprofit agencies: Coastal Hospice, the Ward Museum and the Salisbury Zoo. McCabe has also received recognition as the 2009 Shorebirds Fan of the Year and the Jefferson Award in 2010. Since making Salisbury his home he has dedicated himself to selfless service and generosity to benefit the community.
The Community Foundation’s Richard A. Henson Award for Nonprofit Excellence was presented to HOPE Inc., as the region’s outstanding nonprofit organization. Starting in 1999, this organization began with volunteers traveling to shelters, soup kitchens, the street and to homeless camps. They sought to seek out the poorest of the poor. Not only the homeless, but also individuals who had become totally disenfranchised and lacking proof of any identify that would enable them to enter the social service and health systems they were in dire need of. Seventeen years later there are 45 agencies in the tri-county area that collaborate with HOPE, Inc. and it now provides service to 2000 people who receive supportive housing and services for the chronically homeless in our area.
Mary Gladys Jones, for whom the Foundation’s annual Volunteer of the Year Award is named, this year was awarded the Frank H. Morris Humanitarian Award. Her lifetime commitment to community service, quiet but steady leadership and generosity of time and talents reflect the humanitarian ideals and human values that epitomized Frank Morris’ life. After a 42-year public teaching career she has spent the past 33 years of retirement as a remarkable and active woman who is the driving force of the Fruitland Community Center Tutorial Program. She has kept the doors and her arms open ever since, to provide young people with much needed love, academics, accountability, discipline, and most of all, a safe place to be after school. Over 1,500 students have passed through her doors, many having achieved goals and reached heights they had previously thought unattainable.