Community Trust Foundation ~ News & Events

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Community Trust Foundation Names New Director

The CTF Board is proud to announce Leah Shaffer as its Foundation Director.  Leah’s background uniquely positions her to advance CTF’s strategic mission in helping to build a more vibrant region.  Her strong leadership skills, combined with her successful experience in small business ownership, non-profit work, and grant management has prepared Leah to advance the foundation’s effectiveness.  As a lifelong resident of the region and working with organizations within the tri- county area, she shares CTF’s mission of impacting the community in positive ways through collective efforts with the focus of long term sustainable change and development.

Leah states “I’m eager to join CTF in this capacity as it provides vital human services and cultural enrichment to our region.  The foundation plays an important role in bridging the gap between generous donors and deserving nonprofits by supporting their contributions to this area’s quality of life.  I’m excited to expand our presence and increase awareness of our organization’s services and our donors’ valuable contributions.”

Community Foundations have been operating throughout the U.S. for over 100 years and are important contributors to the economic vitality and quality of life in the communities they serve. The Community Trust Foundation uses local resources, talent and ideas to improve the quality of life in Allegany, Garrett and Mineral Counties. For more information about CTF visit

The board looks forward to working with Leah, our community organizations and our generous donors who care for our region’s future in building strong vibrant communities.  FOR GOOD – FOREVER.



The “Endow Maryland” tax credit rewards donors who help build permanent charitable funds for local communities across the state – and right here in Allegany and Garrett counties. Authorized by the State Legislature for the 2018 tax year, Endow Maryland offers a 25% state tax credit for gifts of at least $500.

The Community Trust Foundation is offering the tax credits to donors who support any of the Community Trust Foundation’s Endowed Funds, including The Health Care Endowed Fund and the Leonard Culture of Wellness Endowed Fund. Last year, CTF received over $63,000 in contributions through the Endow Maryland program. Contributions must be made by June 15, 2018.

For more information contact Leah Shaffer, Foundation Director at or by phone at 301-876-9172.



The “Endow Maryland” tax credit rewards donors who help build permanent charitable funds for local communities across the state – and right here in Allegany and Garrett counties. Authorized by the State Legislature for the 2016 tax year, Endow Maryland offers a 25% state tax credit for gifts of at least $500.

The Community Trust Foundation is offering the tax credits to donors who support any of the Community Trust Foundation’s Endowed Funds, including The Health Care Endowed Fund and the Leonard Culture of Wellness Endowed Fund.

For more information contact Sandi Rowland, Foundation Director at or by phone at 301-876-9172.


The Pension Protection Act of 2006 permitted individuals to roll over up to $100,000 per taxable year from an IRA directly to a qualifying charity (such as the Community Trust Foundation, or one of CTF’s funds) without being taxed. In December 2015, Congress passed the PATH Act, making this charitable giving opportunity permanent. Single and married individuals 70½ and older are eligible to give in this way from their individual retirement accounts.

Because the distribution goes directly to a qualified charity, the amount will not be counted as income and will not be subject to income tax. Please consult your professional advisor or call the CTF office at 301-876-9172 for more information.

Note: Donations cannot be made to one’s own donor advised fund.


CTF Foundation Director and CTF Board Member and Grants Committee Chair, Vic Rezendes  present a $25,000 grant to Music at Penn Alps to Jean Miller and Sean Beachy from Penn Alps. The Community Trust Foundation awarded the grant, from the Naylor Family Trust Fund, for the Private Lessons Scholarship program. Music at Penn Alps has provided Western Maryland with outstanding music programs for the past twenty-two years. The Music at Penn Alps Private Lesson Scholarship program aims to help those who normally could not afford private music lessons. The goal of the lessons is to help students develop musical proficiency and experience, increase their interest in the arts, and help the students establish a basis for all types of music. The Penn Alps music program has grown from 22 to 47 participants in the last two and a half years.


CTF Board Member and Grants Committee Chair, Vic Rezendes  presents a $20,000 grant to Garrett Mentors Inc. Executive Director Laura Fike.

The Community Trust Foundation recently awarded Garrett Mentors Inc. with a $20,000 grant. The grant was funded by the Naylor Fund established with CTF.  Garrett Mentors Inc. helps children in kindergarten through 5th grade by matching a child in need with a caring adult who meets with him or her weekly. Mentors acts as friends, a good listeners, and a providers of stability to those children in need.

CTF Honors Jane and Carl “Buck” Belt, Jr.

The Community Trust Foundation (CTF) Board of Trustees honored Jane and Carl “Buck” Belt, Jr. as recipients of the 2015 Humanitarian Leadership Award. The dynamic wife and husband team of Jane & “Buck” were recognized for their professional and philanthropic leadership on September 10, 2015 at the Wisp Resort.

CTF Vice President, Marion Leonard noted prior to the event, “We look forward to celebrating Buck and Jane’s accomplishments and showing our appreciation to them for making a positive difference in people’s lives and our community. They have demonstrated active compassion and understand the true art of giving without seeking personal gain.”

Buck and Jane met while they were both students at Virginia Tech. After they married, Buck brought Jane back to his home town, where they settled and raised their family while building their businesses and integrating into the community.

Carl “Buck” Belt has served the community in a number of ways including: President of the Cumberland Rotary, Allegany County Chamber of Commerce, Potomac Council BSA, Frostburg State University Foundation, Sacred Heart Hospital Foundation and three consecutive years as Allegany County United Way Campaign Chair. An Elder at the First Presbyterian Church in Cumberland, Buck led the annual Stewardship Campaign for thirty years.

Jane Belt has also served the community as Vice-Chair of the Board of Trustees of Allegany College of Maryland, as a Member of the Local Advisory Council for Career & Technology Education of the Allegany Board of Education, and as a member of the Board of Trustees at Frostburg State University from 1976 thru 1986. She is an Elder at the First Presbyterian Church of Cumberland.

In 1994, Buck suggested buying an asphalt plant and trucking company for Jane to operate assuring her that “you will only have to open the mail and sign checks”. However, for those who know Jane, that isn’t her style. Seizing the opportunity, Jane took the reins of her company, Quarry Ridge Asphalt, learning everything about the business while creating a company that cares for and invests in its employees.

Buck and Jane reside in Cumberland near their beloved children and grandchildren; Eleanor, Dave, Quinn and Griffin Madden, and Meredith, Jeremy, Bryson and Brennan Irons.

The Community Trust Foundation was established in 2006 by the late Robert Ebert and a small group of business and civic leaders who believed that philanthropic leadership and resources could help meet community needs and build a stronger more vital region. Their vision is now being realized. Since 2009, CFT has provided over $4 million to Allegany, Garrett and Mineral Counties and has supported education and youth leadership programs, honored our rich cultural heritage, helped build a stronger arts community, enhanced health and wellness programs and preserved our beautiful environment.

CTF Honors Olen Beitzel

The Community Trust Foundation honored Olen Beitzel at its annual Signature Event on Thursday, September 4, 2014 at the Wisp Resort. The evening also highlighted some of the philanthropic activities of CTF and its impact on the grant recipients from our region.

“We look forward to celebrating the contributions of Olen Beitzel to his community and the region,” said CTF Vice-President Marion Leonard, prior to the event. “His dedication to improving the quality of life through his volunteerism and entrepreneurism makes him the perfect recipient of this honor.”

Mr. Beitzel is a fourth generation Garrett Countian and represents the true pioneering spirit of Western Maryland. He and his father formed Beitzel Welding near Bittinger in 1974, which was incorporated in 1978 as Beitzel Welding and Construction and then as Beitzel Corporation in 1988. The company has expanded from a service company in the coal industry to engineering, design, fabrication, machining, construction and repair in coal processing and power plants, paper mills, waste water treatment facilities as well as site development projects in the gas industry.

Mr. Beitzel was recently honored by Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot with the black and gold medallion as a Marylander Making a Difference at a meeting of The Greater Cumberland Committee. Mr. Beitzel is a longtime corporate council and executive committee member of TGCC.

The Community Trust Foundation was established in 2006 by the late Robert Ebert and a small group of business and civic leaders who shared his interest in building local philanthropic resources. From 2009 through today CFT has provided over $4 million in private resources to address community needs in Allegany, Garrett, and Mineral Counties.

CTF is committed to building more vibrant communities by working in partnership with donors and organizations to address community issues. A range of options is available to meet the specific needs of donors. To learn more about CTF and how to establish or donate to a charitable fund, contact CTF at 301-876-9172 or

Former recipients of the Humanitarian Award include Dr. Peter Halmos, Dr. Harry Boggs, and Dr. Nick and Shirley Giarritta.


CTF Honors Dr. Nicholas and Shirley Giarritta

Described as “generous beyond words” and offering a “genuine love for this community,” Dr. Nicholas “Nick” Giarritta and his wife, Shirley, were honored as the Community Trust Foundation’s 2013 Humanitarian Award recipients on November 7, 2013.

When Dr. Nick Giarritta moved to Cumberland from Brooklyn, NY in 1962 and accepted a position as the head of Pathology with Sacred Heart Hospital on Decatur Street, he did so thinking it was a short arrangement.  During that time, he helped design the pathology lab for the soon to be new Sacred Heart Hospital and began to put down roots; that was 51 years ago.  Claiming to have been drawn to Cumberland’s cordial neighbors and the hospital’s need for a talented Pathologist, Dr. Nick found the backdrop of a river and Cumberland’s signature church steeples to be reminiscent of Zurich, Switzerland.  When asked why he stayed, he offers with a grin, “What can I say?! I love this town.”

Enter Shirley Walker – a Chicago native, interior designer, and lover of arts, they met in 1962 through a mutual friend and Nick still proclaims Shirley to be “the first woman I danced with when I came to Cumberland.”  Nick became a friend of the family from that point and after nearly two decades, they had their first official date and married in 1981.

“The smartest thing I ever did was to marry Nick Giarritta, who vehemently shared my passion for creating, encouraging and collecting art.  He is my Renaissance Man,” Shirley reflected.

Sharing a love for community and an enthusiasm for all cultural elements, Shirley has the distinct honor of being a founding member of the Cumberland Theatre and Nick, a founding member of the Allegany Arts Council.  The arts have always been important to them, as displayed by Nick’s generous donation to provide artwork to the patient rooms and offices at the former Sacred Heart Hospital.  Through the years, together, they have contributed countless hours and funding to supporting both venues and today, each is thriving and well-known throughout the region and the state.

Don Whisted of the Cumberland Theatre puts their commitment into perspective.  “Nick and Shirley Giarritta have been among the strongest advocates for the arts in all of its glorious forms, but especially through their kindness and generosity in establishing and supporting the Cumberland Theatre. It is safe to say that without the Giarrittas, the Cumberland Theatre would have faded away years ago.”

This sentiment is supported by Andy Vick of the Allegany Arts Council.

“Nick and Shirley Giarritta have been champions of the arts here in Western Maryland for many years. From Nick’s involvement as a founding member of the Allegany Arts Council, to Shirley’s past service as a Board member for the Maryland State Arts Council, to their ongoing involvement with the Cumberland Theatre and the Cumberland Cultural Foundation, they both have helped to make Allegany County ‘A Community Alive with the Arts!’”

But there’s more.  Shirley is active in One Tree Productions, the Rotary Club of Cumberland, and the Allegany Arts Council.  Nick meets her commitment at every level having served on the Downtown Development Commission, at a time when he and Shirley renovated and design upper story living before it was cool, and both received countless awards, honors and recognitions.

These include a few special honors by Cumberland’s Mayor and City Council – Nick was honored with an “Outstanding Citizen Award” and they named the green space across from City Hall at Frederick/Centre Streets “Nick Giarritta Park” because of his commitment to planting trees and shrubberies with only one goal in mind – to beautify the downtown area.  Similarly, the Cumberland Theatre Board of Trustees offered a self-proclaimed designation of “The Nick and Shirley Giarritta Playhouse”.

Upon learning that the Giarritta’s would be honored, the 2011 CTF Humanitarian, Dr. Peter Halmos, couldn’t contain his enthusiasm.  “I can’t think of two people who are more deserving of this honor.”


Dr. Harry Boggs Honored at Ceremony

On Thursday, November 1, 2012, the Community Trust Foundation, Inc., along with family and friends, honored the late Dr. Harry Boggs with the 2012 Humanitarian of the Year award.  The evening was enjoyed by all as guests feasted on a delicious meal, socialized with the Boggs’ and reflected on the life and work of a man who made a positive difference for our region.


Dr. Peter Halmos is inaugural Honoree

The Community Trust Foundation’s signature event, the CTF Humanitarian of the Year award dinner, was initiated in 2011 with Dr. Peter Halmos as our inaugural honoree.

Dr. Peter Halmos, the founding President of CTF, and a visionary philanthropic leader, received the award for his ethic of kindness, benevolence and active compassion and his personal and professional accomplishments, which are consistent with the goals of the Foundation.

This very special evening was held at Frostburg State University and brought the community together to celebrate the life, family and contributions to society of a generous humanitarian.



What is the Community Trust Foundation?

Established in 2006, the Community Trust Foundation, Inc. (CTF), is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization serving Allegany, Garrett and Mineral Counties.  The mission of CTF is to strengthen the region by working in partnership with donors and community groups.  We are not the cause; we are the causeway to growing better, stronger, more vital communities.  We provide administrative services and stewardship to help communities in our region maximize charitable giving and investing.

How does a community foundation differ from other non-profit organizations?

Most non-profit organizations serve a very specific mission.  Conversely, community foundations have a broad vision – to improve the quality of life in a given region.
As a philanthropic leader, the vision of CTF is to grow better, stronger and more vital communities for the region we serve.

We understand the needs of our community and make it easy for our local citizens to establish funds that will serve organizations and programs important to them.
The breadth of our mission provides many unique opportunities for donors to make a difference in the community in which they live –  for good, for ever.

How is the Community Trust Foundation funded?

We cover our administrative expenses by charging a small annual fee to each fund.  Our major source for funds comes from local citizens of varying means, who donate their assets to help improve the quality of life in their region.  Many contribute cash, securities, insurance and real property as outright gifts or they give through their personal will or by using planned giving, such as a charitable remainder trust.

How does CTF benefit the region it serves?

  • We make grants to qualifying organizations in support of the region’s historical heritage, art community, animal welfare, environmental education and preservation, wellness, culture, education and overall quality of life.
  • We assist local organizations with their funding needs to help them develop their services.
  • We help local organizations through our grants to leverage Federal and State funding.
  • We serve as an advocacy group for the community with federal, state and local policy makers.
  • We provide financial assistance to qualified local students through our Scholarship funds.

What are the benefits of establishing a fund through the Community Trust Foundation?

  • We provide an easy, efficient, and effective process to help you establish a professionally managed fund that serves your community interests.
  • We partner with you to create a fund to achieve your charitable vision.
  • We save you the time, administrative expense and legal costs of starting a private foundation.
  • We offer tax-saving and estate planning strategies.
  • We spare you federal and state record keeping and filing.
  • We invest your fund with professional financial managers.
  • We provide on-going guidance and help to achieve your charitable goals.
  • We keep you informed about current community needs.