The Community Foundation of Washington County awards $115,000 in unrestricted grants

February 16, 2012|By C.J. LOVELACE |
  • The Community Free Clinic's Julie Caniford, right, thanks Community Foundation of Washington County Chairman Mitesh Kothari for the foundation's check for $10,000. Looking on are Community Foundation of Washington County Executive Director Brad Sell and Community Free Clinic Executive Director Robin Roberson.
By Ric Dugan, Staff Photographer

Thursday was a really great day for Janet Bartels.

In 2006, Bartels, a Washington County master gardener from Hagerstown, helped to start a collaborative community gardening project at Memorial Recreation Center to provide children in the C-Safe afterschool program an opportunity to learn how to grow their own food.

Bartels and her husband, Gordon, helped expand the program to include three gardens around Hagerstown, but Gordon suddenly passed away Jan. 22.

Bartels said she has set up a fund in her husband’s name as a way to honor him while keeping the gardens going.

“There’s so much property in Hagerstown we could be growing food on,” Bartels said. “And there’s so many people that, once they learn, are interested. We can do it all year.”


C-Safe and the Community Action Council, the fiscal agent for the gardens, received a $10,000 grant at The Community Foundation of Washington County’s annual grant awards ceremony held Thursday afternoon.

Bartels accepted the grant with Kimberly Buchanan, director of development for the Community Action Council. It’s the second year the organization has received funding through the grant program.

“Sadly, Mr. Bartels passed away at the end of January before he found out we received this funding, so we just feel really honored that we can continue this work,” Buchanan said. “We’re so grateful that we can receive this funding and keep this garden going.”

21 groups share $115,000
Nearly $115,000 in grant money was presented to 21 community organizations during the event, held at the Commission on Aging offices at 140 W. Franklin St. in Hagerstown.

In partnership with the Pauline Anderson Foundation, the grants, ranging from $2,000 up to $10,000, will provide assistance to organizations that offer integral services to the community.

“This is the fun part of what we do,” said Brad Sell, executive director of The Community Foundation.

Organizations that receive funding must fit into one of The Community Foundation’s SCIP, or Strategic Community Impact Plan, goals, Chairman Mitesh Kothari said.

“We don’t want to blindly give out money,” Kothari said. “We want to give out money that makes the most impact in the community.”

Those goals include supporting senior socialization, fighting obesity, addressing child mistreatment and decreasing barriers in health care services, among others.

Two other organizations — The Community Free Clinic and the Washington County Commission on Aging — also received $10,000 grants.

It is the eighth year that The Community Foundation has distributed unrestricted grants, which help stretch the dollar for many service organization across Washington County, Sell said.

“It does mean a lot, and it means a lot to us to support (them),” he said, noting that the grant recipients are chosen by the foundation’s board of directors.

More information is available through The Community Foundation at 301-745-5210 or at

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