The Community Foundation of the Eastern Shore team includes (from left): Heather Mahler, Sharon Dickson, Patt Strausburg, Heather Trader, BJ Summers, Erica Joseph, David Plotts, Victoria Kent and Lauren Zarin.Dr. Annette Wallace, CFES board member with nephew Conner HargisMacky & Pam StansellJames and Janice Hudson with their son, HunterVelda Henry, CFES Board Member with husband, Patrick, and daughter Stephanie



The Community Foundation of the Eastern Shore continues its mission to enhance the lives and legacies of those who care for the region

On the Lower Eastern Shore, summer is sure to bring two things: hot weather and tourist crowds — making traffic the only thing slow about the “Slower Lower.” Why do millions of people flock to the area? Whether a visitor or a local, the answer is the same: The Eastern Shore is something special, and people are passionate about seeing it thrive.  

Nearly 35 years ago, a group of local leaders turned their passion for the region into the creation of a nonprofit organization. The Community Foundation of the Eastern Shore was founded with the sole purpose of promoting local philanthropy. With a vision of building a community where all can live, learn, work, create and prosper, today the Foundation strengthens local nonprofits with financial support and capacity building and supports the next generation through scholarships.

So just how passionate are people about the Lower Shore? Thanks to thousands of donors — individuals, families, businesses and civic organizations — the Community Foundation has established an inspiring history by fostering charitable endeavors. Over $77 million in grants and scholarships have been awarded to the community since inception, and that number grows every year. 

A Passion for Local Impact

Grants from CFES create a direct impact on the community and are awarded to nonprofits that serve Somerset, Wicomico and Worcester Counties. With gifts made by the community for the community, 2018 CFES grant-making totaled $5.2 million.  

But what does that mean for the Lower Shore, and how exactly do these grants help? Chances are if you have a cause you are passionate about or a favorite local nonprofit, it has benefited from at least one of the many resources offered by the Community Foundation. Grants funded through CFES expand horizons, transform lives and meet challenges across the charitable spectrum. With a diverse network of local nonprofit partners, grant-making possibilities are endless. The 1,400-plus grants made last year covered areas such as education, veterans programs, environmental and natural resources, animal welfare and historic preservation, just to name a few. 

The Community Foundation also champions investing in the future leaders of tomorrow. Awarding more than 300 scholarships each year, CFES is a valuable resource for local students. While each scholarship has its own criteria created by the original donor, the majority are awarded to local students who attend regional colleges. Often created by donors who wish to memorialize a loved one or encourage a certain area of study, scholarships at the Community Foundation help community members inspire generations to come.

“The Community Foundation is more than a source of financial support for nonprofits — we work to educate, connect and collaborate, with the goal of strengthening the entire sector," said Velda Henry, CFES board member.

“Hunter will forever be in our hearts. And through the generosity of all those who knew and loved him, his memory will live on through the young people who benefit from the Hunter Hudson Memorial Scholarship at the Community Foundation,” said Janice and James Hudson.


A Passion for Philanthropy

While it is often easy to find community members that are passionate about a cause, all too often people do not recognize how their contributions, big or small, can make a lasting impact. 

“The origin of the word ‘philanthropy’ actually means love of humanity, and that is something we can all get behind,” said Erica Joseph, president of the Community Foundation. “Philanthropy comes in many sizes, shapes and forms, and we all have something to share, whether it be in time, talent or assets. No gift is too small or too great.” 

While everyone’s life experiences may differ and will undoubtedly shape their charitable passions, something we all share is that giving originates deep within the heart, from a true desire to create positive impact. The Community Foundation helps donors create a unique impact, whatever the cause. By tailoring innovative and creative giving approaches, every donor can focus on personal philanthropic goals. 

“We give to a wide range of causes, and by partnering with the Community Foundation, it is so much easier — we can focus on doing good and feeling good because, they take care of the work,” said Macky and Pam Stansell. 

Joseph explains that the Foundation is entrusted to make every dollar a transformational gift. By investing these charitable gifts together, the interest becomes the source of grants to the community. This ensures that a donor’s original gift continues to support causes long after the initial donation is made. 


A Passion for the Future

No matter the cause or the issue, there is no doubt that each of us can create an impact in our community. Through a tradition of local philanthropy, communities can meet the pressing needs of today while building a source of support for the future.

“As an educator, I see the importance of people coming together now to improve our communities for the future. The Community Foundation allows our dreams of a more vibrant and prosperous community to become a reality,” said Dr. Annette Wallace, CFES board member and principal of Pocomoke High School.

So, as summer rolls along, the traffic gets thicker, and the cool water tempts us all to unwind, take a moment to envision a Lower Shore where all can live, learn, work, create and prosper. Whether a local or a visitor, CFES helps those who love the Lower Eastern Shore give back to the community. Start where you are, with what you have, and turn your passion into a purpose.


410-742-9911    CFES.org

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