Friday Focus: Calvert Library Foundation

For thousands of years, libraries have been a staple community institution where people could gather and seek out information. Today, the Calvert County Librarcalvert_library_logoy system continues the tradition, providing central hubs that provide not only books, but an endless list of programs and services as well. This week’s Friday Focus organization, the Calvert Library Foundation, plays a vital role in supporting the Library’s mission by providing additional funding. We spoke with Scott Deacon, Vice President of the Foundation’s Board of Directors, who shared his thoughts on the many ways the Library benefits the local community.

Q: Tell us about your organization (who you serve, what you do, etc.)

A: Calvert Library Foundation is an enabling organization whose stated purpose is to improve public library services and facilities in Calvert County, Maryland.  The Foundation accomplishes this purpose by securing non-government funding from residents of Calvert County and its surrounding counties in Maryland, businesses and private sources.  These funds are used to purchase resources that will make significant improvements to libraries and their programs not otherwise obtainable through governmental or other institutional funding.  In 2013, the Foundation provided needed funds to the Library for furnishings and for staff training to improve services for County residents. We also conducted a capital campaign and provided more than $225,000 for the outfitting of one branch.  Funds provided by the Foundation help bridge the difference between the Calvert Library being good and being GREAT!

The Calvert Library is comprised of four separate branches throughout Calvert County, Maryland.  In 2013, the library was able to provide the more than 88,500 county residents and residents of nearby counties with a complete range of library services and employed 54 full-time equivalent employees.  They served nearly 600,000 customers in-person, circulated the 265,864 items in their physical collection 1,121,505 times and answered more than 145,954 reference questions.  Their website saw 186,465 unique visitors and the webpage was viewed 904,867 times.  The computers were used 141,507 times.  Additionally, outside groups used the meeting rooms 3,471 times.

Q: What is your favorite “moment” (example of how your organization helped)?

A: I do not think I have just one “moment”.  Actually, every time I go into one of the library facilities I get a sense of satisfaction.  You can almost feel the wonderment of those who are gaining from all the library has to offer.  When I grew up, we lived in an area that was so rural we did not have a library facility.  Rather, we had an old bus that served as a mobile library and brought books to our area once a week.  So when I go into the library facilities, I look at all the patrons who are benefitting from its very presence and I appreciate all of those who made and continue to make that reality.  For example, the Foundation provided a large flat-screen television in the meeting room which has become a mainstay for presentations, workshops, the cinema café movie nights, and is used extensively by community organizations on a daily basis.  Also, the circulating video games the foundation provided are very popular.  Finally, the Foundation has provided for children’s activity cubes, additional computers for patrons and staff, comfortable library furnishings and foreign language CDs and DVDs.

Q: Why is the Library important?

A: Calvert Library is a hub for members of our community to connect and interact across all demographic groups. The Library hosts a range of activities and social programs that engage our minds and provide opportunities to exchange ideas with other people.  It has numerous partnering agencies (College of Southern Maryland, public schools, Head Start, Workforce Investment Board’s Mobile Job Center, etc.) where its programs complement and reinforce theirs.  The library provides opportunities to bring diverse segments of the population together to have civil discourse about matters of importance.  Their “Choose Civility” programming is just one of many the library offers to address needs in our community.

It is also an important economic equalizer, providing equal access to technology, information and lifelong learning opportunities to all who wish to develop both professionally and personally.  It is a meeting place for those seeking to improve their English-speaking skills. Students and job seekers flock to the library to use computers for schoolwork, research, job searches and many other things.

It also makes green sense (environmental, not just dollars) to have reference materials, databases, literature and media in one place for people to access. Having hard copies to share across a community and online copies of documents shared by thousands of people in our county saves trees from being harvested and waters from being polluted. The Library provides timely, accurate responses to questions.  Its inter-library loan system connects people to the information they seek – all these services are provided free of charge to everyone.

Q: What is your biggest challenge?

A: Managing technology.  We need to assist the library in staying relevant to their patrons, young and old alike.  We also need to help the library stay abreast of the emerging technology as it relates to providing access to entertainment and knowledge.  There is a move toward having Maker-spaces in libraries where computers are programmed to manufacture 3D items. By providing cutting edge equipment such as this, the Library helps to ignite people’s imagination and foster the science, technology, engineering and math skills that make America competitive.

Q: Are there any upcoming events?

A: Coming up on October 25 is the Foundation’s 2014 Gala Art Auction. This is the second year for the event. Last year’s auction was a great success and raised over $10,000 for the Foundation.

Q: How can people get involved with your organization?

A: Please visit our website at http://calvertlibraryfoundation.com and look for activities and opportunities to join the foundation in its endeavors.  I should point out that the Calvert Library Foundation is a 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization and as such, your contribution is tax–deductible to the extent allowed by law.  Please contact us if you would like to become a member of the Library Foundation Board or if you would like to assist and/or participate in any of the Foundation events.  Finally, there are few—if any—institutions that provide so many free services and programs for people. Your donation will help this great institution innovate and reach out to all segments of the population. Your dollars will enable people to achieve their potential. And, you will know that you are an important part of something larger than yourself.

Community Bank is proud to support the Calvert Library Foundation through our annual “Casual for a Cause” campaign. If you’d like to donate directly to the Foundation, please visit their website.

Friday Focus: Southern Maryland Mission of Mercy

The Southern Maryland Mission of Mercy is part of a national initiative to improve the dental health of those without insurance by holding free two-day dental clinics. The clinics provide services ranging from preventative dentistry and cleanings to restorative fillings and extractions. The last clinic held in Southern Maryland took place in June 2012 at Chopticon High School. Led by Dr. Garner Morgan and a team of local dental professionals and volunteers, the organization was able to provide dental services to around 900 people. We caught up with Jean Wathen, a representative from the organization, who gave us more information on the next free clinic, scheduled for July 18 and 19 of this year!

Q: Tell us about your organization (who you serve, what you do, etc.)

A: Southern Maryland Mission of Mercy is a free adult dental clinic provided by volunteer dental professionals and volunteer staff of several hundred people. Dental services for adult patients include:

• Preventive dentistry and cleaning
• Nutritional counseling
• Restorative fillings
• Extractions

All dental services are provided by licensed dentists and hygienists, mostly from Maryland. Mission of Mercy was launched by Virginia Dental Health Foundation in 2000. Over 50 MOM projects are hosted in Virginia, and are now spreading elsewhere.

The first local MOM for Maryland’s Charles, St. Mary’s, and Calvert Counties was held in June 2012 at Chopticon High School in St. Mary’s County.

Q: What is your favorite “moment” (example of how your organization helped)?

A: Seeing people smile for the first time in a very long time. When you are not ashamed of your teeth, you have much more self-esteem in life.

Q: What is your biggest challenge?

A: Our biggest challenge is fundraising; the cost is $80,000 to $100,000 for the two-day clinic.

Q: Are there any upcoming events?

A: The next Southern Maryland Mission of Mercy (SMMOM) will be held on July 18th and 19th at North Point High School in Charles County.

Q: How can people get involved with your organization?

A: This clinic is made possible by volunteers. Upwards of 400 community volunteers are needed as well as 200 dentists, dental assistants, hygienists, oral surgeons, physicians, nurse practitioners, nurses and dental students.

Community volunteers do not need any special dental or medical training in order to participate. We need help with security, parking, volunteer and patient registration, meals, escorting, and more. Please register to volunteer online.

Community Bank of the Chesapeake proudly supports Southern Maryland Mission of Mercy through our annual Casual for a Cause Program!

Friday Focus: The Community Foundation of Rappahannock River Region

Since 1997, the Community Foundation of Rappahannock has supported local organizations through its philanthropic efforts. Working with individual donors and corporations alike, the Foundation creates endowments, grants and scholarships that benefit a number of programs, groups and community-oriented charitable efforts throughout Fredericksburg and the surrounding counties.  Our Friday Focus interviewee this week is the Foundation’s Executive Director, Teri McNally, who shared with us the challenges and rewards of grant-making!

Q: Tell us about your organization (who you serve, what you do, etc.)

A: The Community Foundation is a private, 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that has been managing charitable giving on behalf of generous local individuals, families and businesses since 1997. We establish named charitable funds and invest and manage charitable assets for the benefit of the entire Rappahannock River region, which includes the City of Fredericksburg and the four surrounding counties of Caroline, King George, Spotsylvania and Stafford.

Q: What is your favorite “moment” (example of how your organization helped)?

A: I’m happiest at work when I am talking to area donors about what they believe in, what they are grateful for and how they want to give back. And I love it when we get to “connect the dots” between generous donors and the nonprofit organizations who are working hard each day to meet our community’s needs – whether that be through environmental conservation, arts, education, health and wellness, etc.

Q: What is your biggest challenge?

A: They biggest challenge is that there are so many nonprofits doing such great work, but a limited amount of grant funding to distribute. It can be hard to say no when multiple nonprofits are competing for a grant. But it has an upside, too, because it pushes us to look for the most efficient, strategic and well-planned projects to benefit from our donor’s giving.

Q: Are there any upcoming events?

A: We will be hosting a continuing education opportunity for area professional advisors, such as investment bankers, estate attorneys, and accountants. This low cost, high value training will be held on September 16. Our website–www.cfrrr.org—will have more information and registration opportunities as the event draws closer.

Q: How can people get involved with your organization?

A: When the time comes in life to give back to a community that gives so much to each of us, I hope everyone will remember the local foundation that can help.

Opening a charitable fund at the Community Foundation is easy. A phone call is a great way to start! Teri McNally, Executive Director: 540 373-9292 or email terrimcnally@cfrrr.org.

Friday Focus: Charles County Dive Rescue, Inc.

When disaster strikes on the water, Charles County Dive Rescue, Inc. (CCDR) is there to help by dispatching properly trained and equipped divers to assist in emergencies. The organization was founded in 1989, when medical advances in near-drowning resuscitation prompted a need for a specialized rescue team that could respond in those situations. Today, CCDR Company 13 is an independent emergency service agency that operates an in-house training program and maintains a fleet of dive and rescue boats and vehicles. We talked with Chief William “Skeeter” Porter for this week’s Friday Focus, who gave us an inside look into the organization.design4_01

Q: Tell us about your organization (who you serve, what you do, etc.)

A: CCDR is an all-volunteer, nonprofit organization that operates with other public safety agencies for emergencies around water and ice. Our mission is to serve the citizens of Charles County (as well as neighboring jurisdictions) by providing properly trained and equipped divers to assist in times of need. Further, we shall always strive to raise public conscience concerning safety around water and ice.

Q: What is your favorite “moment” (example of how your organization helped)?

A: It’s hard to pick a ‘favorite’ moment when your service is most needed at times when people may be experiencing a horrible tragedy. Suffice it to say, we are fortunate to have dedicated members who volunteer their time, knowledge and skills to help others in their time of need.

Q: What is your biggest challenge?

A: Many emergency operations on open water are difficult due to a lack of reliable information. Distance is very hard to estimate over water. Also, wind and currents create difficult contributing factors. Alcohol is often a contributing factor to accidents, which also makes obtaining accurate information about an incident difficult.

Q: Are there any upcoming events?

A: Our 26th Annual “Vampire Manor” fundraiser starts in October. The Manor is run by our team members and all profits go to support CCDR, the Bel Alton VFD and some of the local high schools who help provide the volunteer creatures. Check out the website at www.vampiremanor.com/ for more information.

Q: How can people get involved with your organization?

A: You can learn more about CCDR by visiting our website at www.ccdr.net.

Community Bank is proud to support Charles County Dive Rescue through our annual “Casual for a Cause” campaign. If you’d like to donate directly to CCDR, donations can be mailed to: Charles County Dive and Rescue, Inc. P.O. Box 13, Pomfret, MD 20675.

Friday Focus: The Center for Life Enrichment

In 1963, the Center for Life Enrichment was founded in Leonardtown Maryland and has worked to positively impact the lives of people with intellectual disalogobilities in Southern Maryland ever since. The Center provides programs and services to help individuals increase independence, integrate into the workforce and have opportunities for social interaction. The Center is currently making the final preparations for its annual “Cash Bash” event this weekend, and Executive Director Randy Ferguson took time out of his busy schedule to chat with us for this week’s Friday Focus.

Q: Tell us about your organization (who you serve, what you do, etc.).

A: The Center for Life Enrichment (TCLE) is a nonprofit organization that provides services to individuals with special needs in St. Mary’s, Calvert and Charles counties. The type of services that we provide are aligned with our mission statement: “to provide programs and support services that will increase the vocational and personal potential of individuals with disabilities”. We are currently providing support to nearly 250 individuals throughout the three counties. TCLE provides a variety of services, grouped according to an individual’s interest and needs: day supports, vocational training, community employment, in-home supports, transportation and community integration. To learn more about our organization, please visit our website at http://www.tcle.org.

Q: What is your favorite “moment” (example of how your organization helped)?

A: If you ask anyone who works in this field what their favorite moment would be, more than likely their response would be “Every day is special and the biggest reward is the smiles that we receive”. We have a number of individual success stories from individuals receiving their first job, their first paycheck, to individuals getting their own apartment. For TCLE, the favorite moments are all individualized.

Q: What is your biggest challenge?

A: All nonprofit organizations will tell you that their biggest challenge is maintaining or raising money for their organization. The biggest challenge facing many nonprofits is to remain fiscally strong and sound and at the same time, be able to provide the necessary services needed by those we serve.

Q: Are there any upcoming events?

A: We have a few events on our calendar. On May 17, TLCE will be holding our fourth annual Cash Bash at the Hollywood Fire House from noon to five, with tickets available at the door. We also have a golf tournament scheduled on September 26, 2014 at the Wicomico Golf Course.

Q: How can people get involved with your organization?

A: We have a number of ways individuals can become involved at the Center for Life Enrichment:
• We have a volunteer program where individuals can volunteer their time working directly with the participants or assisting us at fundraising events.
• We are always looking for the community’s support by accepting donations of clothes, toys, furniture and everyday knick-knacks that will support our four Vintage Values Thrift Stores.
• We have a boat and car donation program
• We are a United Way Recipient; our campaign number is #56384
• We accept monetary donations to support special projects

Individuals wishing to help or if they would like more information can contact us at 301-373-8100 or email us at contact@tcle.org.

Friday Focus: The Greenwell Foundation

Located alongside the Patuxent River, Greenwell State Park provides St. Mary’s County residents with year-round opportunities for recreation and leisure. While the land itself is managed by the state of Maryland, the programs offered by the park are coordinated and funded by the Greenwell Foundation, a nonprofit organization. This week’s Friday Focus interviewed Cara Fogarty, Director of Communications for the Foundation. Cara GreenwellFoundation_horse and barnspoke with us about the Foundation’s work and some upcoming events, and also shared her favorite story about how Greenwell’s summer camp program was able to touch a local family in a special way.

Q: Tell us about your organization (who you serve, what you do, etc.)

A: The Greenwell Foundation, Inc. is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization dedicated to providing accessible and inclusive programs, services and facilities for all community members, with and without disabilities, in Southern Maryland. The Foundation operates in Greenwell State Park, a 600-acre property located along the lower Patuxent River in Hollywood, Maryland.

The Greenwell Foundation offers therapeutic and recreational horseback riding, summer camps, nature programs, veterans’ programs, accessible site rentals and regularly develops new programs—often in collaboration with area agencies and nonprofit organizations—to meet community needs. All programs are designed to be inclusive, allowing people with disabilities to fully participate. Additionally, the Foundation serves veterans, at-risk children and transitioning youth with disabilities.

Q: What is your favorite “moment” (example of how your organization helped)?

A: There are several, but one that sticks out in my mind comes from a family with three children. One of the children has Down syndrome. The mother discovered that he could attend Camp Greenwell alongside his two sisters. She didn’t have to put him in a “special” camp. She didn’t have to undergo an interview/intake process. She could simply sign him up as easily as she did her other two children. For the first time in his life, she said he was treated equally and given the same opportunities in the same environment as every other child. Our mission is to create this environment that allows all children to play and experience camp together.

Q: What is your biggest challenge?

A: There are many challenges, but I would have to say that funding is perhaps the biggest. Many people think because we are in a state park that we are funded by the state of Maryland and that their tax dollars support us. In actuality, the Greenwell Foundation is a small, private foundation that relies on donations, memberships, program fees, grants and facility rental fees. We receive no funding from the state of Maryland. The state takes care of the park itself, but the Greenwell Foundation runs the programs. We have an excellent relationship with the Department of Natural Resources/Maryland Park Service, but we are on our own! A nine-member Board of Trustees and an executive director oversee the work of the Foundation. We maintain a very small permanent staff and add a seasonal staff. This is purposeful to help us maintain costs.

Q: Are there any upcoming events?

A: We have a few events coming up this spring:

Every second Sunday of the month we have “Sundays in the Park” when we open the doors to Rosedale Manor from 1pm-4pm. People are welcome to browse through this historic building which was the summer home of John Philip Greenwell, the gentleman who donated his property to the state of Maryland. Our next “Sunday in the Park” day will be this Sunday, May 11.

On Saturday, June 7, we’ll be hosting our second annual 5K Fun Run & Dog Walk, held in conjunction with Dr. Tim Modic of Mechanicsville and Smiles for Life. People can run or walk the 5K, or they may bring their dog(s) for a nice trail walk with their best friend! This event also features raffles, kayak rides, soccer and other field games, water balloon archery, tie-dying shirts and pony rides. These are many of the same activities that take place at Camp Greenwell, so it’s the perfect opportunity to get a sneak peek at camp! The event is a benefit for the Greenwell Foundation’s Therapeutic Riding Program and Smiles for Life.

We also have our largest “event” of the year coming up—summer camp! Nine weekly sessions of Camp Greenwell and many specialty camps (Horse Camp, Fishing Camp, Kayak Fishing Camp, Nature Time Camp and Adventure Camp) begin June 16.

Visit http://greenwellfoundation.org/ for more information on any of these events and programs.

Q: How can people get involved with your organization?

A: We have an active and growing volunteer program. Volunteers are the heart and soul of Greenwell. Our volunteer coordinator helps people find the right fit, whether it is volunteering with the Therapeutic Riding Program, Vets Helping Vets, gardening, construction projects, etc. We also have a Camp Buddy program for 13-16 year olds who volunteer with our summer camps. It’s valuable experience for the young teens and a tremendous asset to our campers.

Friday Focus: Historic St. Mary’s City

Historic St. Mary's CityEver wondered what it would be like to spend a day in the 17th century? Visitors to Historic St. Mary’s City have the opportunity to do just that! Located on the St. Mary’s Peninsula, Historic St. Mary’s City brings the early colonial experience to life day in and day out. With a number of interactive historical sites staffed by costumed interpreters, visitors to the museum learn the stories of the earliest settlers of Maryland’s first capital. This week’s Friday Focus takes an inside look at the museum with help from Executive Director Regina Faden. Continue reading

Friday Focus: The Community Foundation of Southern Maryland

Community Foundation of Southern MarylandGuided by a vision to make Southern Maryland “the best place to live and give”, the Community Foundation of Southern Maryland is a driving philanthropic force in Charles County. Incorporated in 2005, the Foundation provides advice on all types of giving and uses its in-depth knowledge of the community’s needs to help direct funds to a multitude of organizations. We talked with the Foundation’s executive director, Gretchen Hardman, for an inside look at the Foundation’s work and what visitors to the upcoming Annual Potomac Waterfowl Festival can expect this year! Continue reading

Friday Focus: The Rappahannock YMCA

Rappahannock Area Family YMCAThe Rappahannock Area Family YMCA provides opportunities for health, wellness and recreation to many different communities in Virginia. With five locations in King George and Northern Virginia, the organization enriches the lives of people of all ages and abilities through the programs and services they provide. Barney Reiley, the Y’s Chief Executive Officer, chatted with us about the many ways the Y touches the community for this week’s Friday Focus. Continue reading