Charles County Charitable Trust celebrates one year
Organization lauded for dedication to supporting local nonprofits
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.
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.