How the Community Foundation of the Eastern Shore Gives to Maryland Nonprofits



As home to the Maryland Crab and Oyster Trail, the state’s Eastern Shore is well-known for its boating and fishing culture. This part of the Mid-Atlantic between the iconic Chesapeake Bay and the sandy beaches of the Atlantic is a favorite spot for seafood lovers and outdoor recreation, but it’s also a hub for local philanthropy.

The Community Foundation of the Eastern Shore (CFES) recently awarded a total of $107,713 in new grants to 30 Maryland nonprofits through its community needs grant program. This is a key program to know in this part of the state because it is pretty all-encompassing and sends money out in the community twice per year.

Based in Salisbury, Maryland, this community has opportunities for groups in Wicomico, Worcester, and Somerset counties. Recent CFES funding has gone to organizations working in the areas of youth, homelessness, health, hunger, the environment, and addition recovery.

For example, recent grants went to the Brown Box Theatre Project, Delmarva Public Radio, Assateague Island Alliance, and the 4STEPS Therapeutic Riding Program. Other organizations receiving support include Salisbury Urban Ministries, Somerset Committee for the Homeless, and Interfaith Partners for the Chesapeake.

“Our Community Needs Grants serve a wide array of programs that impact the Lower Shore community,” reported Erica Joseph, CFES president, on the group’s website. “This truly captures the spirit of grants made by the community, for the community, and allows so many nonprofits to grow their services.”

CFES has been on the local grantmaking scene since 1984, making it one of the most well-established funders in the region. It opens up its semi-annual community needs grant program with grants up to $5,000 and has provided over $80 million in grants and scholarships to local groups since inception. Community grants touch on nearly every nonprofit need in this three-county region and are the best avenues to initially get involved with this funder, in addition to the trainings and workshops EFES offers on multiple dates each month.

Otherwise, the foundation launched a new Spark Campaign to celebrate its 35th anniversary to provide over $210,000 in combined funding for the three education foundations serving the Lower Eastern Shore. This demonstrates the foundation’s deepening commitment to local education, with a 1:1 matching campaign that runs through mid-October.

“Programs facilitated by the Spark Campaign will help ensure that students not only have high quality facilities, teachers, and curricula, but also the resources to nurture creativity, aid students in times of struggle, encourage them to strive for personal success, and allow them to thrive in the classroom and the community,” according to a foundation press release.

In the meantime, the next deadline for CFES grants through the accessible community needs program is August 1.