It’s ok to call me Nancy
- Monday, 04 February 2013 20:30
My name is Betsy. My parent-given name is Elizabeth, but no one has ever called me that except my doctor’s office, our former Board secretary, and my mother when she was angry.
But if you call me Nancy, I will just giggle and smile.
One of our long-time donors passed away last week. Whenever I called to schedule an appointment to visit her, I would say, “Good morning! This is Betsy with the Community Foundation. How are you today?” Within a millisecond, I would hear a rousing, “Nancy! It’s so nice to hear from you!”
Our donor had a long relationship with the Community Foundation, one that began prior to my tenure here. During her lifetime, she started a fund in honor of her deceased daughter’s dedication to supporting children facing catastrophic situations in life. Later on, she created a fund in her family’s name to award grants to nonprofits helping children become involved in extra-curricular activities, sports, camps, and other pursuits that are a part of a “normal” childhood, especially children from families in extraordinary situations, like living in transitional housing, facing terminal illness, and lacking positive adult role models. Our donor instructed the Community Foundation’s Grants Committee to review applications and make recommendations to the Community Foundation’s board to award grants from both of her funds. She would say to me, “Your Grants Committee knows what it’s doing. But be sure to tell me about the Committee’s decisions so I know who is getting the money from my funds.”
During my regular visits, our donor would delight in hearing about the dollar amounts awarded and the impact that both of her funds created. She would often say to me, “Nancy, this is great! This is just what I wanted.” I was always relieved when she said this because our Grants Committee tries very hard to make good decisions based upon the funding criteria established by our donors when they create funds with us.
During these same visits, she would tell me about raising her daughter, having her husband and the other men in Frederick County back after World War II, her activities in the “new” church that was moved from one location to another more than 50 years ago, and working in various businesses at a time when women were not usually working outside the home. We laughed our mutual clumsiness and “gift for gab.” However, when she talked about the children that her daughter taught that were having trouble learning or just being kids, or the children that she saw with parents who were having difficulties, her voice took on a tender tone. “Nancy, I just want to help children. That’s my family’s gift to Frederick County,” she would say. And, my heart would sing, because I knew that the Community Foundation was and would continue to fulfill her intentions.
With our donor’s passing, I have fond memories of visits around her kitchen table, talking about the opportunities her funds were providing to children in Frederick County, and reporting that the Community Foundation was awarding grants according to her instructions. And if you call me Nancy, I will just giggle and smile, and remember our donor with great fondness just as Frederick County will remember her family with each grant awarded in her family members’ names, which is For Good. Forever. For Frederick County.
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