MSCF presents awards
Helfenbein honored for leadership, service
WYE MILLS — About 24 years ago the Mid-Shore Community Foundation was founded with $236,000 from the United Fund of Talbot County, said MSCF President Buck Duncan to the audience at the organization’s 2016 Report to the Community Awards Luncheon at Chesapeake College on Friday, Nov. 18.
Almost a quarter of a century later, Duncan said the organization has received $61.5 million in contributions which it has turned into $25.3 million in grants and scholarships throughout the Mid-Shore region.
Gathered in the Caroline College Center, members of nonprofit and community organizations throughout the region ate lunch and listened to MSCF representatives present awards to local individuals and groups.
Moorhead Vermilye, chairman of Mid-Shore Community Foundation, said 42 percent of the organization’s grant making in 2016 focused directly on supporting youth in the five counties it serves, resulting in $1,540,270 provided for education and youth development. Grant amounts for
other focus areas included: $69,502, animal welfare; $354,049, arts; $88,877, environment; $332,907, human services; and $1,292,099, health and disability.
Duncan said the Foundation provided $4.3 million in grants and scholarships in 2016 that aided 364 charities and 133 Mid-Shore students. Duncan said later in the day an associate at the Foundation was distributing checks to 30 not-for-profits in the amounts of $250,000. Duncan also said $528,000 in scholarships was provided in 2016.
“From my perspective, investing in the youth of the Mid-Shore is the right priority for Mid-Shore Community Foundation and it reflects the primary focus of our donors who again this year set a new record in charitable giving to the foundation,” Vermilye said.
In Duncan’s financial performance note in the 2016 Report to the Community, he said the Foundation experienced an increase of 1.2 percent in donor contributions resulting in about $6.4 million. Duncan also said the Foundation increased its assets by more than $2.6 million to a total of $59,367,850, which he said was a record high.
Before the annual presentation of awards, North Caroline High School junior Brittney Lane, and Special Assistant to Comptroller Peter Franchot John Handley, current and previous scholarship awardees, respectively, spoke. Both recipients talked about how the funds they received have guided them toward reaching their professional goals. Barbara Viniar, Chesapeake College president, spoke about the school, how it interacts with nonprofits and how it economically impacts the region.
“Today I have the greatest privilege, which is to say thank you in an investment you made in me,” Handley said.
Two individuals and two organizations received honors from MSCF for their work in the region. The first honor, the Town Watch Society Award, was given to Tom Helfenbein for his leadership and service.
Helfenbein was named chairman of the Compass Regional Hospice board of directors, where he has been a board member since 2010. Duncan said as well as being a member of both the Centreville Lions Club and the Centreville Lodge, Helfenbein is the director of the Queen Anne’s County Arts Council and was instrumental in setting up the Storytelling Festival at the college, Duncan said.
For many years, Helfenbein worked as a funeral director after he created his own funeral home in 1973. The business continues to be run by his family.
“Tom is absolutely one of the fellows I consider an unsung community hero here on the Mid-Shore,” Duncan said.
The second individual award, the Golden Key Society Award, was presented to John Valliant, founder and Responsible Philanthropy Group LLC. Valliant also serves as president of the Grayce B. Kerr Fund.
Duncan said while Helfenbein served as president of the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in St. Michaels, Valliant was instrumental in the Center for Chesapeake Studies as well as many exhibits and educational
programs created for adults and children.
Organizations that received honors were the Mid-Shore Recovering Veterans Group and The Caroline Foundation Inc. Royce Ball, co-founder of the MSRVG, received the award on behalf of the members, and Terry Mead and Robert Jarrell received the award on behalf of The Caroline Foundation.
Mid-Shore Recovering Veterans Group offers assistance to veterans and their families for any of their needs. Duncan said 100 percent of the organization’s donations go to the veterans.
The Caroline Foundation, which operated a nursing home for many years until it was sold for about $14 million, has now invested that money to be used for services in Caroline County, Duncan said. MSCF has entered into an agreement with The Caroline Foundation to provide it with accounting and other financial services, including grant making.
Duncan said the first two grants from it have been given. Hospice of Caroline County received $100,000, and the YMCA Denton Branch received $10,000 for a piece of equipment. Duncan said the organization is committed to providing $500,000 in funds “year after year after year to support their mission” of providing economic support to organizations that deal with medical or health related services in the county.
“Each and every one of you here makes an absolute positive difference in what we do here on the Mid-Shore and the quality of our lives,” Duncan said.
Follow Mike Davis on Twitter: @mike_ kibaytimes.
Mid-Shore Community Foundation President Buck Duncan presents Tom Helfenbein with the Town Watch Society Award during the 2016 Report to the Community Luncheon and Awards at Chesapeake College on Friday, Nov. 18.
Mid-Shore Community Foundation President Buck Duncan, middle, presents the Special Recognition Award to Terry Mead and Robert Jarrell, Esq., on behalf of The Caroline Foundation, Inc. during the 2016 Awards and Lun-