MSCF Annual Business Breakfast last June 14


On June 14, Mid-Shore Community Foundation hosted its Annual Business Breakfast at Chesapeake College.  MSCF President Buck Duncan thanked six retiring Directors for contributing their time and talent to the mission of the Foundation: Bill Boyd, Dick Barker, Janelle Buck, Sara Jane Davidson, Ann Jacobs, and Greg Meekins.  Most of them will continue to volunteer as committee members or scholarship readers.  He then welcomed five new Directors: Bill Christopher and Tracy Tyler from Dorchester County, Becky Loukides from Caroline County, Joe Holt from Kent County, and John Lewis and Jenny Rhodes from Queen Anne’s County.

The keynote speaker for the event was Clay B. Stamp, Assistant Manager & Emergency Services Director for Talbot County. Clay spoke about the opioid crisis, the unique challenges this social and health problem presents, and Governor Hogan’s approach to combatting it through the Opioid Operational Command Center, which Clay led. He thanked State Senator Addie Eckardt,who was in attendance, for her assistance in these efforts. He also thanked the many non-profit representatives in the room for their work supporting the individuals and their families affected by this crisis in so many different ways.

Grant recipients and Clay Stamp

The highlight of the meeting was the distribution of grant awards. In the past fiscal year, MSCF has disbursed more than $4,000,000 in grants and over $700,000 in scholarships to Mid-Shore organizations and students. Another $250,000 was awarded at the meeting from the following MSCF donor advised funds: Artistic Insights, Ferree, Fryling, Reade and Mary Corr, Reynolds/Cristiano and George B. Todd.  Twenty organizations received awards: CASA of the Mid-Shore, Chesapeake College Foundation, Church Hill Theatre, Compass Regional Hospice, Critchlow Adkins Children’s Centers, Delmarva Community Services, Dorchester County Public Library, Eastern Shore Area Health Education Center, Easton Choral Arts Society, Echo Hill Outdoor School, Historical Society of Talbot County, Maryland Food Bank, MidShore Meals til Monday, New Beginnings Youth and Family Services, Pickering Creek Audubon Center, Radcliffe Creek School, ShoreRivers, Talbot Community Connections, Talbot Interfaith Shelter and Wye River Upper School.

Caroline Foundation Accepting Grant Requests


The Caroline Foundation, in partnership with the Mid-Shore Community Foundation, invites organizations that provide medical and/or health-related services to residents of Caroline County, Maryland to apply for FY 2020 grant funding.

Applicants must be nonprofit corporations with IRS tax-exempt status, or government-related entities.  Applications are online at The deadline for submission of FY 2020 grant applications is July 1, 2019.

Grant decisions and distributions will be made in October 2019.  The Caroline Foundation retains the right to accept or reject applications, suggest changes, and support grant requests in full, in part, or not at all.

Organizations that would like additional information about The Caroline Foundation’s grants process should contact Buck Duncan or Robbin Hill at the Mid-Shore Community Foundation, 410-820-8175  or

Mid-Shore Community Foundation to Host Leadership Program May 17


On Friday, May 17, 2019, the Mid-Shore Community Foundation is hosting a leadership program featuring John (Johnny) O’Brien, former Princeton footballer, leadership coach and author.

Johnny O’Brien had a remarkably tragic beginning and as a small child he was sent to the Milton Hershey School – the legendary school for orphans, founded by Milton Hershey of Hershey candy.  Despite all odds, Johnny thrived at the Hershey School and went on to attend Princeton University, where he currently serves as Trustee Emeritus. Following Princeton, Johnny founded Renaissance Leadership – one of the first firms devoted to leadership development, with clients such as American Express, Pfizer, AT&T and Smith Barney.  After years of coaching Fortune 500 Executives on enlightened leadership and high-performance teamwork, Johnny was called to serve his former alma mater.  In 2002, Johnny was named Milton Hershey School’s eighth president and was tasked with restoring the school’s mission and character-building culture.  He has captured his journey in an extraordinary memoir titled, Semisweet: An Orphan’s Journey Through the School the Hersheys Built and on May 17th he will share his lessons and insight with us!

The program will begin at 9:00 AM and will be held in the Todd Performing Arts Center at Chesapeake College, 1000 College Circle, Wye Mills, MD 21679.  The program will end around noon and lunch will be provided. Advance registration is required. The $20 registration fee is a donation (tax-deductible) to the MSCF Founders Fund which provides discretionary grants targeting the needs of the Mid-Shore.

Register online at

Artistic Insights Grants Enrich the Mid-Shore


Kadie Ladamore was awarded $10,000 Artistics Insights scholarship.

Mid-Shore Community Foundation’s Artistic Insights Fund was established in 2010 to support the arts in the Mid-Shore region by providing access and awareness to visual, literary, performing and experimental arts.  By broadening the perspective of an individual or group through the arts, the Fund’s goal is to contribute to personal and community growth as well as to enhance understanding and provide insight into multi-cultural issues and the environment.The Fund provides this support through grants and scholarships totaling nearly $680,000 to date.  The public is encouraged to enjoy the many opportunities to experience the arts made possible through this generous funding.

In 2018, the Fund distributed $105,000 in grants that benefited a broad range of projects.  Carpe Diem Arts received $1,000 to assist their outreach to schools and under-resourced communities through their residency program, summer camp concerts, and family performances.  The St. Michaels Middle High School Theater Program will use their $1,000 award to purchase building supplies for set construction for their musical theater production of All Shook Up (Feb 22-March 3, 2019). Chester River Chorale received $1,500 for River Voices, a community outreach ensemble with a mission to bring joy to the community through choral music.  A $2,500 grant to Easton Middle School will support the Artist in Residence Program, in partnership with the University of Maryland School of Music. A brass quintet will spend four days with students to connect the study of world history with the experience of world music.

The Queen Anne’s County Arts Council received $5,000 for 2019 programming which will focus on the theme The Art in Our History.  Exhibits, concerts and lectures celebrating the unique character and heritage of Queen Anne’s County will bring together historians, artists, storytellers and watermen to explore folklore, painting, photographs, sculpture, quilts, fiber arts and music.The Kent Island Federation of Arts also received $5,000 for art gallery exhibits for both budding and professional artists and to provide art classes, including drawing, painting, jewelry making, photography, and costume making,for both children and adults.

The Chesapeake Film Festival received $5,000 for its 2018 program which took place in October.  $5,000 was awarded to the Talbot County Arts Council for its Art-in-Education Program which supports school grant requests for visiting performers and artists.  The Talbot County Arts Council recognized The Artistic Insights Fund at its Winners Circle Reception in November, “for their generosity over the years in making grant awards that promote the cultural and artistic life of the community.”

The Talbot County Public Schools annual visual/literary arts magazine, Spindrift, which highlights the prose, poetry, and artwork of students at both Easton and St. Michaels High Schools, received $7,000.  Young Audiences of Maryland will use it’s $7,500 grant for its Rural Access for All project which offers a wide range of performing arts programs by professional artists at school and community venues in Caroline, Dorchester, Kent, Queen Anne’s and Talbot counties.The Garfield Center for the Arts in Chestertown was awarded $9,000 to replace its 18-year-old light board and for production assistance involving construction of sets, maintaining wardrobes and promoting productions.

The Artistic Insights Fund also renewed its $25,000 funding of the Academy Art Museum’s ArtReach program for area school children in the5-county region. ArtReach offers students a guided tour of an exhibition, works with them on a related visual arts project, and provides bus transportation to and from the museum.

In 2016 the fund advisors established an annual scholarship.  In 2018, the Artistic Insights Scholarship was awarded to Kadie Ladamore, of Hurlock,who will use the $10,000 scholarship at Salisbury University to pursue her interest in music education. Scholarships for Emma Brohawn, the 2016 recipient from Federalsburg who is a Studio Art Major at Skidmore College, and Olivia Davidson, the 2017 recipient from Cambridge, who is studying vocal performance at Salisbury University, were renewed as well.

The Artistic Insights Fund is a component fund of the Mid-Shore Community Foundation which administers the grant and scholarship processes for the fund advisors who wish to remain anonymous.   Scholarship applications for 2019 are due by February 14, 2019.  The next grant application deadline is October 1, 2019. Application forms are available at

Mid-Shore Community Foundation Honors Award Recipients


Nearly 300 community members from throughout the Mid-Shore Region attended the Mid-Shore Community Foundation’s 5th Annual Report to the Community and Awards Luncheon on November 30, 2018 at the Milestone.

The event which honors award recipients and celebrates the good work of the community was attended by community leaders, nonprofit representatives and elected officials including Senator Addie Eckardt and Delegate Johnny Mautz.

The luncheon opened with remarks from Moorhead Vermilye, Chairman and Founder of the Mid-Shore Community Foundation. “From its beginning 26 years ago, the Foundation has matured to become one of the most significant foundations – public or private – in the State of Maryland with more than $80 million in assets to benefit the five counties served by the Foundation – Caroline, Dorchester, Kent, Queen Anne’s and Talbot,” said Vermilye.

L-R: Delegate Johnny Mautz, Ryan Snow, Mickey & Margie Elsberg, Kevin White, Mary Lou McAllister, Robert Billings, Judge Stephen Rideout, Buck Duncan and Senator Addie Eckardt

In Fiscal Year 2018 the Foundation awarded $4.5 million in grants, including $637,235 in scholarships to local students.  Additionally, the Foundation saw continued expansion of funds – now 415, new partnerships with nonprofits and new community initiatives under the sponsorship of the Foundation.

David Nagel, Finance Committee Chair,reported a clean audit for the fiscal year ending June 30th. Other speakers included keynote speaker Rob Levit, an award-winning nonprofit leader and Licensed Consultant from the Standards for Excellence® Institute and Buck Duncan, Foundation President.

“The work of the Foundation is truly a collaborative effort and would not be possible without our talented and supportive volunteers,” said Duncan. “Together, the work of the Foundation – our directors, volunteers and staff, along with the extraordinary support of our donors have created a strong and lasting resource for the Mid-Shore Community.”

Each year, the Foundation recognizes individuals and nonprofits for their contributions to the community.  This year’s awards were presented as follows.

Mickey and Margie Elsberg were honored with the Town Watch Society Award for their extraordinary leadership and service in Kent County and beyond.

Judge Stephen Rideout and Buck Duncan

The second Town Watch Award was presented to Judge Stephen Rideout for his many contributions in Dorchester County. The First Ward Commissioner of Cambridge served on the Cambridge Ethics Commission and organized a City Matters Group that was integral in bringing a city manager to Cambridge. Before retiring to Dorchester County, Steve practiced law in Alexandria, Virginia and was Chief Judge of the Alexandria Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court.

The J. McKenny Willis, Jr. Award was presented to Freedom Rowers, a nonprofit rowing team that serves student-athletes and to Robert Billings who has been instrumental in the success of the organization.

The second J. McKenny Willis, Jr. Award was presented to St. Michaels After School Help (SMASH) and to Mary Lou McAllister who founded the program in 2013. Under the Fiscal Sponsorship of the Mid-Shore Community Foundation, the SMASH Program provides educational support and enrichment to ensure that children in St. Michaels Elementary and Middle Schools have the academic tools for a successful academic future.

A Special Recognition Award was presented to Kevin White, Founder and CEO of Global Vision 2020, for providing vision correction to impoverished people in remote parts of the world via custom-fitted eyeglasses. Kevin is the inventor of USee custom-fitted eyeglasses and earlier this year, was named a $1 million winner at the We Work Creator Awards.

In addition to honoring award recipients, the Mid-Shore Community Foundation distributed $250,000 in grant awards to 28 worthy organizations: Bay Hundred Community Volunteers, Caroline Co. Department of Social Services, Chestertown RiverArts, Compass Regional Hospice, Critchlow Adkins Children’s Centers, Farmers and Hunters Feeding the Hungry, For All Seasons, Freedom Rowers, Haven Ministries, Horizons of Kent and Queen Anne’s, Kennard Alumni Association, Kent Association of Riding Therapy, Kent Conservation & Preservation Alliance, Living Waters Assembly, Mid Shore Community Mediation Center, Mid Shore Pro Bono, National Music Festival, Radcliffe Creek School, Really Great Cats Rescue, Rebuilding Together Kent County, Saint Martin’s Ministries, St. Luke’s School, Talbot Hospice, Tilghman Area Youth Association, UM Memorial Hospital Foundation and YMCA of the Chesapeake.

This year’s event sponsors were Peoples Bank, 1880 Bank, CBIZ, Nagel Farm Service, Shore United Bank, The Hill Group at Morgan Stanley, The Wilford Nagel Group at Morgan Stanley, James M. Vermilye CFP®, Robert W. Baird & Co., Valliant Wealth Strategies and Wye Financial & Trust.

For additional information, including event photos, visit

MSCF Scholarship Program Underway


The Mid-Shore Community Foundation, having just finished awarding over $635,000 in scholarships to 160 students this year, is already kicking off its 2019 program.  Initially intended for high school students planning to attend two- or four-year colleges, the program has expanded to meet the growing needs of the community.  Applications are being accepted from both current high school students and adults wishing to continue their education.

This year, over $100,000 went to students continuing their education at an institute of technology, vocational school, or career college that awards academic degrees or professional certifications. Recipients are now attending programs such as automotive technology, welding, aviation mechanics, radiology technology, and maritime training. The first recipient of the Brendan Davis Memorial Culinary Scholarship, new in 2018, is attending the prestigious Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY.

Scholarship Winners

Buck Duncan, President of MSCF, has always believed that not everyone has to go to a traditional four-year college to be successful.  “Many students with no interest in college are pushed to go, and that creates the notion of failure as well as financial hardship.  We need to develop individual talents through training and certification.  We need a skilled workforce on the mid-shore: mechanics, plumbers, electricians, welders, radiology and lab techs, dental hygienists – the list goes on–who will become productive citizens supporting the economy of our region.We will put people to work doing things they love to do, and they will pay taxes, buy vehicles, use healthcare services, and send their kids to local schools.” Duncan has made it a priority of the Foundation to develop more of these types of scholarships.

Recipients of the two- and four-year college awards are also attending a wide variety of schools both within and outside of Maryland.  Awards vary in size from one-time gifts of $500 to multi-year awards of up to $25,000.  Some scholarships are renewable for multiple years but require students to reapply.  Therefore, the Foundation is busy paying tuition bills for students with awards given not only in 2018, but back as far as 2014.

Scholarships are funded by a variety of generous donors who, with the Mid-Shore Community Foundation, are committed to helping local students from Caroline, Dorchester, Kent, Queen Anne’s and Talbot County.  They are awarded almost exclusively to students who demonstrate financial need.  While some are open to all students, others are designated for students with interest in a particular subject or career path or from a specific county or even high school.

The Foundation administers the application, selection and award process for most of the available scholarships.  These awards fall into the “pooled” scholarship program which allows students to apply for multiple scholarships by filling out one online application.  Once the application window closes, community volunteers, from all 5 counties, read the applications and then meet in small groups to consider the pool of applicants for each scholarship and determine the recipient.  Last year, 56 volunteers participated in making these decisions.

“It’s an amazing process,” said Megan Cook, MSCF Scholarship Program Coordinator.  “Our readers come to these meetings prepared to discuss the applicants.  There’s a sense of purpose to match the donor’s intentions to the best possible candidate.  They consider grades, volunteer hours and extra curriculars but, most often, it comes down to the personal essay.  There’s a sense of getting to know the candidate that comes from reading their words.  The only disappointment is that there are so many more qualified candidates than scholarships.”

Scholarship Readers

The good news is five new scholarships are being added to the pooled program this year.  The Mary B. Lynch Scholarship is for a Caroline County Public School student pursuing a 4-year degree and the Jochheim Knotts Memorial Scholarship is for a graduate of St. Michaels High School.  The Fellowes Trades and Workforce Scholarship is for a Talbot County resident continuing their education at a technology, vocational, trade or career college or for current employees of Talbot County businesses who wish to develop their skills through accredited seminars, courses or customized training. Two other Trades and Workforce scholarships, the Reade and Mary Corrand the Brooke & Trish Harwood, are for the same types of programs for residents of Kent County.

The Foundation also provides oversight and administers the payment for several scholarships whose application and selection processes are managed by external organizations or committees. Descriptions of these “donor involved” scholarships are available on the MSCF website, at, along with contact information for applications.

Given the growth in both scholarships and applicants, the Foundation has elected to open the application window a full three months earlier to give students ample time to apply.  The application is now available at along with a description of each award.  Students must submit their applications by February 14, 2019 to be considered.  Students are notified of their awards in late April and then honored at a Scholarship Award Breakfast in May.  For additional information about the Mid-Shore Community Foundation’s scholarship program, contact Megan Cook at or 410-820-8175 x 104.

Commander Charles and Dr. Roberta Stephens MSCF Memorial Fund


The Mid-Shore Community Foundation was established in 1992 with a $236,000 bequest from Colonel and Mrs. Edgar Linthicum to the United Fund of Talbot County. Over the next 25 years it has become one of the most significant foundations, public or private, in the state of Maryland, with over $70 million in assets.  That figure is expanding further thanks to the generous planned gifts recently received from the estates of Commander Charles and Dr. Roberta Stephens for a memorial fund in their names.  With nearly $9 million in assets, the Charles and Roberta Stephens Memorial Fund will be one of the largest funds at MSCF.  It will be used to benefit Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church in Joppa, MD, Sandhills College Foundation, in Pinehurst, NC, and the Old Wye Church of Wye Mills, Maryland.  In addition, the Talbot Hospice Foundation Fund at MSCF received $68,000 from a Stephens charitable gift annuity.

Commander Stephens was born in Joppa, MD, and after high school worked as a tree trimmer before enlisting in the Navy in 1942. He served tours with Bombing Squadron-153 (VB-153), flying the Curtis Helldiver, and with Attack Squadron (VA-25), flying the Douglas AD-Skyraider. He served tours in the Mediterranean aboard the U.S. Midway, in Port Lyautey, Morocco, with Air Transport Squadron-24, and aboard the U.S.S. Cabot (CVL-) at Pensacola, FL. He also served tours with the Operations Department of the Naval Air Station at Patuxent River, MD.

In 1948, he married Dr. Roberta Hall who was born in Freemansburg, WV, graduated from West Virginia University and earned her medical degree from the Medical College of Virginia.  After practicing medicine for some years and moving around the world because of her husband’s naval career, she received a Master of Public Health degree from Johns Hopkins. She and Charles moved to Centreville in 1966, and she worked as the County Health Officer in Queen Anne’s and Caroline Counties. Shortly after her retirement in 1981, they moved to Pinehurst, NC, but moved to Londonderry Retirement Community, in Easton, in 2002.

Commander Stephens was very active in volunteer work. He served as chairman of the Board for Londonderry, Junior Warden at Old Wye Episcopal Church, chairman of the Queen Anne’s County Parks and Recreation Department, secretary of the Centreville Rotary, and treasurer of the Queen Anne’s County Red Cross.  He was also a member of the Queen Anne’s County Fair Board, the Library Board, and Queen Anne’s County 4-H.

The couple was married for 65 years and, before Roberta’s death, in 2013, she and Charles made plans for the memorial fund. Charles died earlier this year and it was then that the magnitude of their gift was revealed. “They were generous supporters and friends of the Mid-Shore Community Foundation and of every community in which they lived, as reflected in their legacy gifts,” said Buck Duncan, MSCF President. “The Charles and Roberta Stephens Memorial Fund will serve as a perpetual reminder of their commitment to community and we are honored to be the stewards of their legacy.”

Mid-Shore Community Foundation Appoints New Directors


The Mid Shore Community Foundation has announced the appointment of two new members to its Board of Directors –Margaret (Peggy) Baker Rennels, M.D. and Charles Lerner, J.D.

Rennels, a native to the Easton/Oxford area and graduate of Easton High School, attended Skidmore College and then earned her M.D. in Pediatrics – Infectious Diseases from the University of MD School of Medicine, where she subsequently became a tenured Professor.

In addition to teaching, Rennels cared for patients and was involved with clinical evaluations of vaccines, many of which are now used throughout the world.

Rennels served on Vaccine Advisory Committees for the CDC and FDA and chaired the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Committee on Infectious Diseases and Vaccines.

Rennels, now retired back to her childhood home on Trippe’s Creek, serves as a director and is actively involved with Critchlow Adkins Children’s Centers.

Margaret Baker Rennels, M.D. and Charles Lerner, J.D.

Lerner, a graduate of Cornell University and Brooklyn Law School, is a member of the Maryland Bar and is the founder and principal of Fiduciary Compliance Associates.

Lerner has worked as an attorney for the Securities and Exchange Commission and as the Director of ERISA enforcement at the U.S. Department of Labor and thereafter as a senior compliance official at financial institutions.

Lerner resides in Chestertown, Maryland where he serves as a director to the Kent County Public Library and to the Chester River Health Foundation.

“We are fortunate to have Peggy and Charles as new directors,” said Buck Duncan, President/CEO of the Mid-Shore Community Foundation. These individuals bring a wealth of experience and they will be tremendous assets to the Foundation.”

The Mid-Shore Community Foundation’s Board of Directors consists of thirty individuals (all volunteers), who with diverse backgrounds and areas of expertise, are representative of the entire Mid-Shore Community.

Established in 1992, the Mid-Shore Community Foundation is a 501(c)(3) public charity that serves individuals, associations and nonprofit organizations in Caroline, Dorchester, Kent, Queen Anne’s and Talbot Counties.  The Mid-Shore Community Foundation is dedicated to enhancing the quality of life throughout the Mid-Shore Region and stewards nearly 80 million in assets for the benefit the community.  For additional information, visit

Community Foundation Hosts Workshop


On April 6, Mid-Shore Community Foundation hosted 130 executive directors and board members from the five-county area at Chesapeake College for a CEO/Board workshop.  The workshop was led by Chuck V. Loring of Ft. Lauderdale and Indianapolis-based Loring, Sternberg & Associates, which provides fundraising and governance consulting services to nonprofits. Mr. Loring is also a Senior Governance Consultant for BoardSource.

Mr. Loring was invited back after receiving rave reviews at a similar event hosted by MSCF last September.  “Part of our mission is to provide education opportunities for the non-profit organizations in the community,” said Robbin Hill, MSCF Chief Program Officer. “A workshop of this type is cost prohibitive for many individual organizations and we are happy to be able to make it available to them.  We offer a variety of programs but what we kept hearing at the end of the September workshop was, please bring him back!”

The first part of the program focused on governance issues such as building an effective board, legal and fiduciary responsibilities of the board, common pitfalls that impact board effectiveness and trends impacting the non-profit sector.  The second half of the program focused on current trends in philanthropic fundraising, the importance of donor cultivation and stewardship, how board members can be great fundraisers without asking for money, and why legacy giving is the future of philanthropy.

Once again, Mr. Loring received rave reviews.  “This was a unique opportunity for directors and board members to evaluate their board against the standards considered best practices for nonprofit boards,” said Moorhead Vermilye, President of the Board of CASA of the Mid-Shore.

Mid-Shore Community Foundation offers at least two training opportunities for nonprofits each year.  The next program will be in the Fall.

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