(April 12, 2019) The Community Foundation of the Eastern Shore unveiled its Spark Campaign, last Thursday, in honor of the organization’s 35th anniversary.

From April 4 to Oct. 15, Wicomico County Education Foundation, Worcester County Education Foundation and Somerset County Public Schools will work to raise funds for their various educational programs. The Community Foundation will then match whatever is raised by each group, up to $35,000.


Celebrating 35 years of serving the lower Eastern Shore, from left, are Community Foundation of the Eastern Shore Chairman Jim Thomas, Worcester County Education Foundation Board Member Greg Shockley, Chair of the Wicomico County Education Foundation Susan Purnell, Assistant Superintendent of Somerset County Public Schools Tom Davis and Erica Joseph, president of Community Foundation of the Eastern Shore.

“Our students are the heart of our community, and we are working hard to give them the tools they need to be successful. The Spark Campaign highlights education as an allied community priority,” Ray Thompson, chair of the Worcester County Education Foundation, stated in a press release.

“The Community Foundation of the Eastern Shore has a long history of philanthropic leadership with an impact that is felt throughout our region,” Community Foundation President Erica Joseph stated in the press release. “We are continuing this tradition in our 35th anniversary year as a way to celebrate investing in the future of our community - our kids.”

The Community Foundation’s goal is to provide each education foundation with a platform to communicate their county-specific goals to potential donors and energize people to get involved with making schools stronger, Victoria Kent, marketing officer for the Community Foundation, said.

“With a collective giving effort, every dollar helps and it really drives home the reality that philanthropy is not about wealth but about the size of our hearts. Anyone can give,” she said.

The goal is for the education foundations to raise a combined $105,000 matched by an additional $105,000 from the Community Foundation, for a total of $210,000 for lower shore education needs.

Funds from the campaign will be used toward different programs in Worcester County, according to Worcester County Education Foundation Board member Greg Shockley.

“We give roughly $30,000 to $40,000 a year in grants to the Worcester County Board of Education,” he said. “We give $10,000 to $12,000 teacher grants every year. We usually give around $3,000 a year to teachers around the county that have applied for grants and allows them to do things outside the budget that they want to try and be unique to their classroom.”

To qualify for the matching grant, donations must go to Community Foundation of the Eastern Shore either by check payable to Community Foundation of the Eastern Shore with SPARK and the county they wish to support in the memo, or online at CFES.org/SPARK, by Oct. 15.

Donors can also split their contribution if they would like to support all three organizations participating.

At the conclusion of the Spark Campaign, the Community Foundation will award a matching grant for each education foundation. The final results of the campaign will be announced at the Community Foundation of the Eastern Shore’s annual meeting on Nov. 1.

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