In a world that thrives on communication, information and knowledge, the ability to read and write is like a superpower. Literacy is empowering – it helps level the playing field, opens doors to opportunity, nurtures growth, and provides access. As we celebrate National Literacy Month, it’s worth taking a few minutes to explore some of the organizations and people who champion literacy in Frederick County.
Kaye Elizabeth Ramsburg dedicated her life to education, serving as a 2nd and 3rd grade teacher, a reading specialist and an assistant principal at multiple schools in Frederick County. When Kaye passed away at the age of 49, her family wanted to create a legacy that would carry on her spirit of education and literacy. Kaye’s mother, Mary Alice Ramsburg and sister, Sharon Gregory, created The Kaye E. Ramsburg Memorial Fund with the Community Foundation to support literacy initiatives in Frederick County.
“Because Kaye departed our world way too early, this gives us the opportunity to continue her legacy,” says Kaye’s sister, Sharon. “It’s not an earth-shattering way but it is a very worthy way of giving back.”
Originally created to distribute scholarships and later changed to provide grants to the Literacy Council of Frederick County, the fund has distributed eight scholarships and four grants so far.
“Kaye had a lifelong commitment to public schools. It has come full circle with this fund, considering her own education and ultimately her master’s degree in education,” Sharon says. “After spending her entire career in teaching and administration, she is now helping others to do the same.”
In 2021, Timothy and Patricia O’Toole created a fund in memory of Patricia’s parents, Golda and Roger Delauter. Golda and Roger were members at Frederick Church of the Brethren, where Golda volunteered as a Sunday school teacher. Golda was a daycare provider when she retired at the age of 80. Her dedication to children and their love of learning motivated the O’Tooles to create the fund.
The Roger and Golda Delauter Memorial Fund supports children in the Frederick County community, with preference to programs for early childhood literacy. Grants from the fund have been distributed to Children of Incarcerated Parents Partnership (COIPP) and Mother Seton School.
With an eye towards creating consistent funding through an endowed fund with the Community Foundation, the Literacy Council of Frederick County created The Betty Seligmann Literacy Endowment Fund in honor of its former board president.
Betty Seligmann’s impact on Frederick through the Literacy Council was immense. She worked as a tutor, trainer, board president, basic program coordinator, and advocate. She understood the history of illiteracy in Frederick and used that knowledge to find places to publicize how the Literacy Council could help. The fund supports Literacy Council operations and activities and has distributed grants every year since 2004.
On the surface, it’s easy to understate the importance of being able to read and write. But make no mistake, literacy is critical to social and economic development and individual and community well-being.
Frederick County is fortunate to have individuals and organizations committed to providing literacy education to all of its citizens, as well as charitable funds that will continue to honor the spirit of literacy superheroes for generations to come.
*Published in The Frederick News-Post on 9/25/23.