What is the Community Foundation of the Eastern Shore (CFES) and what do they do? We’re all familiar with the United Way, the Salvation Army, Goodwill Industries and many other organizations that give back to the community but what about the Community Foundation? There are more than 750 community foundations throughout the United States and some were established over 100 years ago. CFES was established in 1984 and this year is celebrating its 35th anniversary. The Foundation is primarily funded by donations by members of the community.
“CFES has had an enormous impact on many folks here on the Eastern Shore, as well as many non-profit entities,” said Erica Joseph, president of CFES. “Since its inception in 1984, 9,000 donors have contributed $120 million and over $84 million has been awarded in grants. However, since all funds donated to the CFES are applied to endowment funds, we have been able to maintain a positive balance of $120 million. The $84 million has been applied to over 700 different funds, amounting to over 25,000 grants and 3,400 scholarships. In fiscal year 2019 alone, $5.1 million was raised and 532 grants approved for a record breaking total of 6.3 million dollars. Additionally, 400 students received scholarships totaling over $600,000.”
The Foundation recently earned its third consecutive accreditation from the National Standards for U.S. Community Foundations—the nation’s highest standard for philanthropic excellence. “Receiving this accreditation is a rigorous and comprehensive process,” explained Joseph. It is designed to establish legal, ethical and effective practices for community foundations. “However,” she continued, “our donors are putting their trust in us, and accolades such as this attest to the strength and health of our foundation.”
There are a variety of ways to support CFES. Donors can specify how they want their contribution applied. For example, Donor-Advised Funds enable the donor to support causes that matter to them when and where it is convenient. Scholarship funds are created by families who wish to memorialize a loved one or professional organizations that want to encourage a certain field of study and to extend a helping hand for college-bound students. Funds may also be designated for organizations that are close to the donor’s heart. Other donors wish their contribution be used for the overall betterment of the community; while still others wish to support their distinct area of interest.
CFES will hold its annual meeting on Nov. 1 at the Fountains Wedding and Conference Center in Salisbury. The Foundation will report on its philanthropic activities during the year and announce winners of the 2019 Community Foundation awards, as well as highlight philanthropic initiatives that serve the Lower Shore. The public is welcome to attend the annual meeting; however tickets are required due to limited seating. For ticket information visit CFES.org or call 410-742-9911.
The Community Foundation of the Eastern Shore is a small, tightly run organization which has played an important role and has made a significant impact on the Lower Shore. Through its programs 3,400 kids have been able to find their way to college and thousands of nonprofits have received start-up funds and mentoring on their way to success.
The Lower Shore is definitely a better place to live as a result of their efforts.