Community Foundation of Carroll County Announces 2024 Philanthropists of the Year Honorees Share a Passion for Community

Awards presentation is September 25 at Carroll Arts Center, Westminster, 5 PM

WESTMINSTER, MD, MAY 23, 2024 - Today the Community Foundation of Carroll County announced the Class of 2024 Philanthropists of the Year: We Grow Together award honorees. CFCC, now in its 30th year, recognizes achievements in four categories: Living Legacy; Rooted in the Community; Rising Star; and our Fund-nominated BFF. There is no other event where business and civic leaders gather to pay tribute to those who make a difference in our community. This year’s honorees, our 16th class, have all made a significant, positive impact in and around Carroll County with their generosity and commitment. POY recognizes the passion for community, dedication to service, and vision for the future of each year's POY honorees.

Living Legacy: Patricia Mack Preston, Appy Time for Learning

The honoree of this category has created and established a Fund of the Community Foundation that embodies their commitment to the cause/interest/need, and continues to or has successfully fulfilled its mission, making a lasting impact on the community.

Patricia Mack Preston taught elementary age children in both regular and special education for Howard County Public Schools for 30 years. After retiring in July 2015, she continued to work as an educational consultant. She also taught early childhood education courses for 17 years at Villa Julie College (now Stevenson University.) In May 2016 Patricia founded Appy Time for Learning, a volunteer- and a technology-based academic achievement program for elementary students with CFCC. Using technology Appy Time creates a learning environment that is self-directed, interactive, collaborative, and focused on the diverse needs of the learner in an ever-increasing technological society. Patricia talks about the students she’s influenced and the Community Foundation’s role in helping Appy Time succeed on the We Are Carroll Project podcast.


Rooted in the Community: September Song Musical Theater

This award recognizes the success and impact of a long-standing Fund of the Community Foundation of Carroll County. The honoree in this category has had at least seven years of continual operation as a Fund of CFCC and consistently meets and exceeds their defined mission.

September Song Musical Theatre (SSMT) has organized and performed a Broadway musical for the past 50 years. Founded by two educators, Arnie Hayes and Robert "Doc" Kersey, September Song is a nonprofit community theatre based in Carroll County that joined the CFCC in August 2011. September Song draws a talented cast and production staff from Carroll County and the surrounding area. They are dedicated to spreading a quality gift of the arts through musical theatre to all participants on and off stage, as well as to audiences of all ages. September Song has not only been a staple in the Carroll County arts community but has consistently been an advocate for several nonprofit organizations throughout Maryland.


Rising Star: Bee a Rae of Sunshine Foundation

This award recognizes a Fund of the Community Foundation that is within its first two years of service, is making a significant impact in the community, and exceeding early expectations.

Bee a Rae of Sunshine Foundation was established in January 2023 in honor of MaKenzi Rae Cash, WHS class of 2026. MaKenzi passed away from tragic side effects of her prescribed antidepressant medication in December 2022. Her parents, Rachael and Chris Cash, joined with family and friends to form the Bee a Rae of Sunshine Foundation as a way to honor MaKensi’s memory and work to put an end to bullying. This foundation’s primary purpose is to execute antibullying initiatives, provide awareness and resources for youth mental health issues, and provide scholarships to students with similar interests as MaKenzi. Money raised by Bee a Rae of Sunshine is used to help students that are targets of bullying, provide awareness of current mental health issues, and to give assistance to animal shelters in Carroll County.



This business, family or friend (BFF) has gone above and beyond for a CFCC Fund and in turn, the community. Nominated by CFCC clients, and affirmed by the board of directors, they have made a significant positive impact on a Fund of the Community Foundation of Carroll County.

Westminster Youth Project nominated Sue Shorb-Sterling as their BFF. It’s very possible WYP would not exist without her. She was instrumental in securing WYP’s current location through her connection to Westminster United Methodist Church. Sue is active in the success of fundraising efforts and events. At Christmas she secured Secret Santa adoptees for all 18 youth who needed gifts. Then she gathered some folks to wrap the gifts. Perhaps most significantly, Sue and a friend or two cook a meal for as many as 10 of our youth every Monday, including leftovers for Tuesday as well. She cares about the WYP youth deeply, is a great advocate, and pulls together folks in the Westminster community to provide for youth who are often overlooked and underserved.

The 2024 Philanthropists of the Year celebration is on September 25, 5 to 9 PM, at Carroll Arts Center, Westminster, MD 21157. This event benefits the Audrey Cimino Legacy Fund of the Community Foundation of Carroll County. Event details, ticket sales and sponsorship opportunities to follow.

About Community Foundation of Carroll County

An umbrella organization that facilitates philanthropic activities across Carroll County, Community Foundation of Carroll County (CFCC) manages approximately 8 million dollars in endowments, operating funds, scholarships, programs, and funds managed for non-profit organizations. Established in 1994 and now celebrating 30 years, CFCC provides the legal underpinnings so that more than 320 projects, which are referred to as “Funds,” can focus on running their programs. The community foundation manages every incoming and outgoing donation, payment, scholarship, and grant. CFCC provides the structure, so the Funds can do the work they dream of. If it has a nonprofit purpose, CFCC can be involved. Learn more at

Media Contact:

Sharon Tillman

Communications Director

Phone: 410-876-5505

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