The Community Foundation of the Eastern Shore honored four award recipients and celebrated annual grant-making efforts at its virtual Annual Meeting and Report to the Community on Nov. 12. The Foundation celebrated a total of $5.5 million in grants made in fiscal year 2020, including more than $539,000 in scholarships to local students. 

The Mary Gladys Jones Volunteer of the Year Award was awarded to Shawna Kearsley for her many years of dedicated service to others and passionate volunteerism. Shawna was a team leader for the National Folk Festival Bucket Brigade in 2018 and 2019. She is a board member for the Minds in Motion Children’s Museum, The Salisbury Chamber of Commerce, and serves as executive director for the Crisfield Arts Syndicate. She will receive a $1,000 gift to designate to the charity of her choice.

The Nonprofit Award of Excellence honoring Richard A. Henson was awarded to Operation We Care. Founded in 2007 by Jeff and Diana Merritt, Operation We Care is an all-volunteer organization dedicated to supporting our military and first responders. Their efforts include annually sending over 2,000 care packages to deployed military troops around the world and purchasing items needed by first responders. Operation We Care will receive $5,000 to support their work.  

The Frank H. Morris Humanitarian Award was awarded to Grace Murdock for her exemplary leadership, vision, integrity, compassion, and dedication to community. Grace has been a public servant for over 30 years, having worked as an educator, administrator, and as a community advocate. She is the founder of Wicomico Grows Kindness and leads the Kindness Commission for the City of Salisbury. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Grace has set up a HERO station where she encourages neighbors to participate in photo ops thanking our community heroes. A $1,500 gift will be made to the charity of Grace Murdock’s choice.

The Chairman’s Award was presented to Dr. George Whitehead III for his dedication to the Community Foundation of the Eastern Shore and his many community efforts. George is a passionate ambassador for the Community Foundation and has served on the Foundation’s Board of Directors since 2016. He has also served as the chairman of the Community Needs Grant Committee.