How a Community Foundation Works: The Two Sides of the House

Coins piled in the dirt with a hand placing a small plant on one of the piles.You might have a general idea of what the Community Foundation does and what our mission is, but have you ever thought about how we make it all happen?

The Community Foundation of Frederick County is essentially comprised of “two sides of the house” – money in and money out.

Our Philanthropic Services Department is responsible for all the money that comes into our organization. Philanthropic Services staff work with donors to fulfill their charitable intentions and build permanent funds that grow and benefit our community forever. They help donors create an individual or family legacy, and they offer opportunities for donors to play a role in determining how their funds are distributed.

Our Community Impact Department is responsible for all the money that goes out of our organization. Community Impact staff manage our grantmaking program, which supports a wide variety of community interests and causes with one goal in mind: improving the quality of life in Frederick County. Our grant funding is divided into strategic grants, impact grants, rolling grants, and donor advised and designated grants.

Strategic grants fund nonprofits that provide programs addressing the areas of greatest need in Frederick County, which have been identified in our 2011, 2018 and 2022 Human Needs Assessment reports. Impact grants support a wide array of programs that improve the community and provide opportunities for people of all ages. Funding can support many areas including the arts, youth programs, health and human services, and historic preservation. Rolling grants support nonprofits that meet the needs of individual Frederick County residents as well as a wide range of field of interest and special purpose funds. In FY23, the total of all grants (strategic, impact, donor advised, and designated) was $7.1 million. That’s a lot of impact in Frederick County!

Our Community Impact team also oversees our scholarship program, which supports nearly every area of study imaginable, with scholarships funded by generous donors who believe in the value of education. For the 2023-2024 academic year, $1.8 million was provided to more than 400 deserving students.

This is just a small glimpse into the world of what we do “in our house” here at the Community Foundation to translate simple good intentions into powerful acts of philanthropy that build a stronger, more vibrant community not only for today but for the future.