As the effects of the COVID-19 crisis continue to ripple through our nation and our community, God is enabling the Mission to meet ever-increasing needs. We have seen a 30 percent increase in the need for to-go meals and grocery boxes. A portion of this increase comes from people like Patrick, a single dad with three children who lost his job this summer. The food box he picks up each week helps him stretch his limited income as he looks for another job.
But food is only one area of need. We continue to help men, women, and children experiencing homelessness, rescue men struggling with substance use disorder, and clothe those in need. How are we able to meet the increasing need of our community while operating under COVID guidelines? With the Mission 10 Miler, the Annual Banquet, and the Faith House Dinner all cancelled this year, how do we meet operating expe nses and continue caring for those who look to us for help? The answer is clear: only through the generous support of local foundations, the continuing support of recurring donors, and the development of a planned giving program.
The Ausherman Family Foundation’s vision for Fredrick County is that it will be “a thriving community of vibrant spaces and places, with a superior quality of life, and strong and colla borative nonprofit organizations.” They work out their vision through supporting large-scale community projects and providing funding for nonprofit organizations. “We are committed to making Frederick a better place for everyone,” say Executive Director Leigh Adams. “We strive to enhance our local nonprofits through support and collaboration, to meet the needs of our community.”
Early in the COVID crisis, their priority was ensuring nonprofits were well equipped to meet the rapidly rising needs of the community. “It was a frantic time in the beginning,” recalls Adams. They streamlined the grant application process, worked with other foundations to identify critical needs, and started to host regular call-in meetings with area nonprofits. “These calls were so important to us because those on the frontlines, like the Mission, could tell us directly what their needs were,” says Adams. “The Mission is a beacon of hope, assuring our community that we are going to ride this storm together.”
The Community Foundation of Frederick County is dedicated to improving the quality of life for Frederick County now and in the future. “The Community Foundation has its finger on the pulse of Frederick County,” says President and CEO Betsy Day, “and we strive to use funding for leadership, education, and advocacy to address the needs of our community today and in years to come. We are not just concerned with today – we are forward thinking.” Through developing strong relationships with local donors, this foundation provides both scholarships to aspiring students and grants to local nonprofit organizations.
Their commitment to building a strong and healthy community propelled them into action early in the COV ID crisis. They immediately began to consider how COVID might affect various groups in our community, such as families, the aging population, and those struggling with substance use disorders. “Our first reaction was to look at funding and see what we could do in strategic areas of basic human need, such as food, shelter, and financial stability,” says Day. “As the pandemic unfolded, we realized that the Mission was a solid partner in these areas and was taking a leadership position.”
The Delaplaine Foundation, Inc. works to enrich communities and families not only within the state of Maryland, but also in nearby states and the District of Columbia. They provide grant assistance for cultural arts, education, health, historical preservation, human services, and spiritual enlightenment. By joining forces with nonprofits, the Delaplaine Foundation directs resources to meet the needs of Frederick County and beyond. “There is no group of individuals more committed to respecting the dignity of our most vulnerable citizens than our partner nonprofits,” says Marlene Young, president. “By joining forces in shared purpose, we transform problems into opportunities.”
And with COVID’s arrival, opportunities abounded. “Recognizing the urgent need, our board of directors mobilized quickly,” says Young. Working in collaboration with other local foundations, they wrote 70 emergency relief grants in an unusually short time. They targeted relief in critical areas such as food insecurity and child care, and strengthened frontline organizations like the Mission. “The Mission really is a beacon in this community that says, ‘You are not alone. We are here to give you what you need and to help you get through this.’ We really considered it our obligation as well as our honor to step in and see how we could help you,” Young says.
Another important source of funding comes from the faithful monthly support of donors like Kevin & Jolene Miller and Phil & Karen Lazo. “The Frederick Rescue Mission is ‘boots on the ground’ and takes care of those within the community that have nee ds such as shelter, clothing, or meals,” says Kevin. “We feel it is important to help those in need and the Mission does that.” The Lazos agree. “We love the fact that the Frederick Rescue Mission is the hands and feet of Christ. We are inspired by its vision to meet people where they are to help them in practical ways.” Without the regular support of monthly donors, the Mission would not be in a position to help as we have. We are grateful for the continuing trust and support of established donors, and we welcome the nearly 1,000 new donors who have stepped in this year!
Finally, planned giving is a new development for which we are grateful. We have established a Planned Giving Society that hopes to honor individuals who establish a gift to the Mission through their estates, desiring to honor them now for the legacy they will leave to us in the future. We have received three planned gifts this year and commitments for four additional gifts, all ranging widely in amounts. A planned gift does not require wealth, rather a vision for what can be done. It’s something everyone can do at all giving levels.
Jesus said, “Freely you have received, freely give” (Matthew 10:8). We can continue to give freely to those we serve only because we ourselves are the recipients of funds from gracious grantors and donors. To our grantors: thank you for continuing to partner with the Mission through funding cyclical and COVID-specific grants. Each one makes a significant contribution toward supplies and operational costs so that the Mission can continue to serve. To our monthly donors: thank you for your faithful heart, your trust in the Mission, and your obedience to steward your income as God directs. And to our planned givers: thank you for trusting the Mission to carr y forward your commitment to help Frederick’s men, women, and children in need. It is only by God’s abundant provision coming to us through grantors and donors that we are able to continue changing lives now and for eternity.