Adapt, Respond and Inspire

The Community Foundation champions the role of philanthropy through an unprecedented year

Just like a changing tide, the needs of our local community evolve over time, and when necessary, we must adapt. At the Community Foundation of the Eastern Shore, responsiveness and inspiration have always been important principles, but through recent events, these characteristics have been critical in guiding the philanthropic work of the Community Foundation.

Serving Somerset, Wicomico and Worcester counties, the Community Foundation strengthens the Lower Shore community through grants and capacity building for nonprofits and scholarships for students. The Foundation recognizes that within a community, there are needs large and small that when met, make the place we call home better for everyone. As the only public foundation dedicated to regional philanthropy, the Foundation has granted more than $89 million to the community since 1984.

“We are unique in our ability to make an impact in so many diverse areas of community need,” said Community Foundation President Erica Joseph. “Our grant making encompasses the wishes of our donors — the programs, scholarships and nonprofits they wish to support — also our discretionary grant making, which allows us to be responsive to emerging challenges we are facing here and now.”

FUNDING MATTERS  Community Foundation of the Eastern Shore Treasurer Todd Hershey, upper left, and President Erica Joseph display a check demonstrating its annual grant power for local nonprofits. 

Through a turbulent year, the Community Foundation, like many others, had to quickly adapt to world events. Despite the uncertainty, the Community Foundation supported over 500 nonprofit programs across the charitable spectrum this past year. These grants made a difference for children, healthcare, veterans, education, the arts, animal welfare, the environment, food security and many other initiatives.

As the COVID-19 pandemic emerged, the Community Foundation leapt into action, seeing local needs met as donors and philanthropic partners from around the region rallied together through its efforts. Almost immediately, the COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund was created, which enabled donors to come together, with CFES serving to identify urgent needs.

These contributions ensured valuable services were available and that a helping hand was extended to those who were at risk. The Emergency Response Fund supported first responders and essential workers, provided resources for vulnerable populations and funded technology for critical programs that keep vital services active.

“While community needs may change over time, one thing that will never change is our commitment to being a part of what’s good in our region,” Joseph said. “There is still more we can accomplish together.”

The power of philanthropy is amplified when it inspires others, and the Community Foundation continues to do just that year after year. By adjusting course to respond as needed, the Community Foundation remains the steady vessel dedicated to building local nonprofit capacity, investing in future generations and inspiring donors to embrace their passions through charitable giving.

For more information about the Community Foundation of the Eastern Shore and how you can make a difference, visit