Charles County Char­i­ta­ble Trust cel­e­brates one year

Or­ga­ni­za­tion lauded for ded­i­ca­tion to sup­port­ing lo­cal non­prof­its

Maryland Independent - - Front Page - By JAMIE AN­FEN­SON-COMEAU jan­fen­son-comeau@somd­news.com

The Charles County Char­i­ta­ble Trust is cel­e­brat­ing one year of help­ing fos­ter and sup­port the county’s non­profit or­ga­ni­za­tions.

“This is a great mo­ment for us,” said Vi­vian Mills, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the trust. “We’re cel­e­brat­ing a year of work to get this or­ga­ni­za­tion up and run­ning and do­ing the things it should do.”

The or­ga­ni­za­tion held an open house Tues­day in La Plata to cel­e­brate its an­niver­sary.

The trust was formed in June 2016 to serve as a cen­tral source

of in­for­ma­tion and as­sis­tance to the county’s non­profit sec­tor, Mills said.

“Our mis­sion is to as­sist the lo­cal non­profit com­mu­nity to be­come more ef­fec­tive in what it does,” Mills said. “We’re here to help, and we have a vi­sion for hav­ing the best pos­si­ble non­profit com­mu­nity in the en­tire state and the en­tire na­tion.”

One of the trust’s roles is to ad­min­is­ter Charles County gov­ern­ment’s non­profit grant pro­gram, and will be award­ing ap­prox­i­mately $800,000 in grants in the com­ing fis­cal year, Mills said.

“We are com­mit­ted, not just to ju­di­ciously award our county’s grant funds, but also to mak­ing it as trans­par­ent and fair a process as we pos­si­bly can,” said Sandy McGraw, pres­i­dent of the trust’s board of di­rec­tors.

Mills said the trust is cur­rently launch­ing the first study of the so­cial and eco­nomic im­pact non­profit or­ga­ni­za­tions have on Charles County. The re­sults of the study are ex­pected to be re­leased by the end of sum­mer, Mills said.

“I think it will be a source of pride for the com­mu­nity, but will also give in­for­ma­tion about some of the ar­eas that might need more at­ten­tion than they’re get­ting right now,” Mills said.

Mills said the trust is also hold­ing in­for­ma­tion ses­sions on pro bono work for non­prof­its, and is reach­ing out to the lead­ers of non­prof­its to learn about their needs.

“We are also go­ing to be pay­ing at­ten­tion to what the non­profit com­mu­nity wants from us,” Mills said. “I could sit here be­hind my desk and make some as­sump­tions about what peo­ple need, but far bet­ter if we hear from the peo­ple them­selves who are in­volved in the work of mak­ing our com­mu­nity a bet­ter com­mu­nity.”

Mills said the county’s non­profit com­mu­nity, be­lieved to con­sist of at least 400 or­ga­ni­za­tions, is a wide and di­verse body.

“It in­cludes or­ga­ni­za­tions very large, some with 500 or more [em­ploy­ees], some that are very small, that don’t have any em­ploy­ees at all,” Mills said. “Some have been around for decades, and some are pretty brand new.”

Non­prof­its in the county work in dif­fer­ent fields, in­clud­ing the arts, health ser­vices, open space preser­va­tion, vol­un­teer fire and EMT de­part­ments and ath­letic groups.

“The one thing they all have in com­mon is they are all char­i­ta­ble or­ga­ni­za­tions, they are all ded­i­cated to the pub­lic good, they all must have a board of di­rec­tors, and they all have to raise funds, and that’s prob­a­bly one of the most im­por­tant parts of a non­profit or­ga­ni­za­tion, is how to find funds to sup­port it,” Mills said.

Del. Edith Pat­ter­son (D-Charles) com­mended the work the trust is do­ing.

“The fact that it has pro­vided so many funds for non­prof­its and ex­ists to this point, I think is phe­nom­e­nal,” Pat­ter­son said.

State Sen­a­tor Thomas “Mac” Mid­dle­ton (D-Charles) said non­prof­its per­form a num­ber of im­por­tant roles in the com­mu­nity.

“I don’t know what Charles County would be like if we didn’t have the non­prof­its, from the arts to folks tak­ing care of the home­less pop­u­la­tion, to peo­ple just out there in the com­mu­nity, do­ing a quasi-govern­men­tal work, and I am so pleased the county com­mis­sion­ers have con­tin­ued to make this in­vest­ment,” Mid­dle­ton said.

McGraw said the trust is com­mit­ted to sup­port­ing the work of Charles County non­prof­its.

“They make such a tremen­dous con­tri­bu­tion to the qual­ity of life of all of us who live here and work here,” McGraw said.

Charles County Com­mis­sion­ers’ Pres­i­dent Peter Mur­phy (D) said the trust fills a valu­able need within the com­mu­nity.

“Gov­ern­ment can­not do it all, and we rec­og­nize that,” Mur­phy said.

Mary­land Del­e­gate Edith Pat­ter­son and State Sen­a­tor Thomas “Mac” Mid­dle­ton, both of Charles County, speak about the role of the Charles County Char­i­ta­ble Trust dur­ing a one-year an­niver­sary cel­e­bra­tion and open house Tues­day morn­ing.

STAFF PHO­TOS BY JAMIE AN­FEN­SON-COMEAU

Vi­vian Mills, right, talks about the Charles County Char­i­ta­ble Trust, while in the back­ground, Board of Charles County Com­mis­sion­ers Pres­i­dent Peter Mur­phy and Com­mis­sioner Ken Robin­son lis­ten, dur­ing a one-year an­niver­sary cel­e­bra­tion and open house Tues­day morn­ing.

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