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Endowment fund gets off the ground

July 03, 2007|By MARLO BARNHART

BOONSBORO - Like many who call Washington County's South County home, Randy Thompson and his wife, Jennifer, love this area where they live.

They are also prepared to put their money where their mouth is and are encouraging others to do the same as the South County Endowment Fund gets off the ground.

A board member of the Community Foundation of Washington County, Randy Thompson said this new fund points out that Washington County is more than Hagerstown.

"We are always looking for a chance to help the whole community, not just Hag-erstown," he said.

Boonsboro, Rohrersville and the Keedysville area, to name a few, would be targeted for philanthropic projects to better the living in those areas.

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A member of the third generation of the Thompson Gas and Electric Co. family in Boonsboro, Randy Thompson, along with his wife, are trustees of the new fund.

The business was started by his grandfather in 1946 and then operated by his father from 1969 to 1997, at which point Randy Thompson took the reins.

"The Thompson family has pledged $10,000 over five years," he said.

Recently Randy and Jennifer Thompson hosted an affair at their home to introduce the endowment fund to others.

Between 30 and 35 people were invited to hear the details about the fund, he said.

"We got another $5,000 pledge at that event," said Brad Sell, executive director of the Community Foundation.

And, Sell said, he received a call from an attorney a few days later, asking how his client could leave money to the endowment fund in his will.

"That's the key," Sell said.

Money bequeathed to the fund from people's wills could increase the amount of money that could be invested in larger sums.

For example, Sell said, if someone gives $1 million in money or stocks or in a will, the fund would be looking at $50,000 to dispense.

"It makes giving easy," Sell said. "And we all win."

Once the fund is established, the money would be invested and the interest from those investments would be used for such purposes as scholarships, library books, computers for children, etc.

"There will be a committee set up and within two years, we expect to be doing something quickly," Thompson said. "We will be solely focused on that part of the county - the arts, youth, education."

Sell said it's only necessary for a fund to have $5,000 for it to begin distributing interest money.

Sell said the Foundation is looking to create regional funds throughout the county as part of its 10th anniversary celebration.

"There will be a second meeting in Hancock on Sunday, Aug. 12, at the Locher Mansion home of Ross Cook and Carol Becker," Sell said.

More information on the South County Endowment Fund and other proposed funds can be obtained by calling Sell at 301-745-5210.

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