The Community Foundation of the Eastern Shore celebrated having made $100 million in grants since inception at its Annual Meeting on November 4th. The Foundation also honored six award recipients. In fiscal year 2022 The Foundation granted a total of $7.1 million in grants made to the local community, which included more than $439,000 in scholarships to area students.
“The $100 million grant making milestone is a collaboration of generosity from donors, volunteers, and staff working together to make the Lower Shore a more vibrant community,” says CFES President, Erica Joseph. “As the leading philanthropic resource for our community, we create incredible impact for nonprofits and connect donors with charitable causes.”
The Mary Gladys Jones Volunteer of the Year Award honors the commitment and value of a volunteer’s sustained and unselfish contributions through the investment of time, talent, and expertise. In addition to the award, each honoree will receive $1,000 for a charity of their choice. This year’s awardees are:
Sharon Upton has devoted herself to historical preservation and community development. She is involved with educational programs at Teackle Mansion, serves as a trustee on the Somerset County Historical Society Board, and actively supports Main
Street Princess Anne projects. In her 13-year leadership role at Somerset Choice Station, she has created a community outlet for networking, volunteerism, and promotion of all Somerset County offers. Each year the shop’s revenue has grown, contributing over $45,000 a year to the historical society, for preservation and support of Teackle Mansion. This impact is a direct result of Sharon’s dedication to the shop, town, and society and their commitment to preserve and educate future generations on the history of Somerset County.
Hank Meixner, who exudes the qualities of a great volunteer through their selflessness, humility, reliability, and positivity. He has devoted nearly two decades as a volunteer for Believe in Tomorrow Children’s Foundation, which provides a safe and comfortable place for families to vacation together during a child’s medical crisis. No job is too big or too small for Hank, from maintenance issues to ensuring families have the most comfortable stay and a healing environment during their respite. He has great ability to look at challenges through a bright lens and develop solutions that benefit everyone involved and has helped touch the lives of more than 2,300 families. Hank is also an engaged volunteer with the Ocean City Homeless Shelter.
The Richard A. Henson Nonprofit Award of Excellence honoring Richard A. Henson honors those who make an outstanding contribution to the well-being of residents of the Lower Shore by responding to a significant community need, showing ingenuity and innovation in utilizing resources, and demonstrating excellence in board leadership and responsibility. In addition to the award the organizations receive a $5,000 check to support their work. This year’s awardees are:
Salisbury Neighborhood Housing Services for working to strengthen neighborhoods through providing education, financial assistance, and partnering with other organizations to achieve the goal of long-term, responsible homeownership since 1994. SNHS offers educational programs for home buyers, financial assistance in the form of low interest loans, and administers the State’s Special Loan program on behalf of the City of Salisbury.
Habitat for Humanity of Wicomico County for their outstanding leadership and active collaboration to bring people together to build homes and communities. Habitat has completed their 72nd home as of May of this year, helps the elderly “age in place” safely, accepts donations of appliances and furniture and selling them at a fraction of the retail price, and so much more. During the COVID-19 pandemic they responded urgently to keeping people in their homes, saving more than 1,500 individuals from eviction.
The Frank H. Morris Humanitarian Award was awarded to Mitzi Perdue for exemplifying the qualities of leadership, integrity, compassion, and generosity not only to our community, but worldwide. Mitzi has dedicated herself to a life of service for the betterment of people everywhere. As a writer, podcaster, artist, and activist, her work is well known. She is first to respond with a donation when needed, and has spearheaded many projects that improve the lives of others including Healthy U of Delmarva. She actively fights against human trafficking and raised $732,000 in three years for this cause. She has also recently traveled to the frontlines of Ukraine to better understand the tragedies of war first hand. Her involvement to the Perdue Kresge Challenge led to $12.8 million in grants to local nonprofits. Mrs. Perdue will receive a $2,500 gift to designate to the charity of her choice.
The Chairman’s Award was presented to Velda Henry for her invaluable service and dedication to the Community Foundation. In addition to her service to CFES, she has also served in leadership positions on numerous organizational boards and cares deeply about the betterment of our community. She is always kind and positive, asks important questions, and brings about effective solutions to community challenges. From making connections within the community to further the reach of our grantmaking, to helping to interview prospective staff members when they want to join our team, Velda engages in every facet of our work.