History

“We have always envisaged bringing into being the coordinating leadership, on a continuing basis, to overlook the quality of life of the city; asset entrepreneurial initiative to bring into being new institutions as required; encourage existing institutions to spread their services to areas not covered or avoid unnecessary duplications.  .. . . There exists in Columbia a foundation which we, the developer, created known as the Columbia Foundation. . . it has current assets of only $12,500 but additional funds are available to it if it could provide an articulated program for working in the area described above.”
“We have always envisaged bringing into being the coordinating leadership, on a continuing basis, to overlook the quality of life of the city; asset entrepreneurial initiative to bring into being new institutions as required; encourage existing institutions to spread their services to areas not covered or avoid unnecessary duplications.  .. . . There exists in Columbia a foundation which we, the developer, created known as the Columbia Foundation. . . it has current assets of only $12,500 but additional funds are available to it if it could provide an articulated program for working in the area described above.”  James Rouse

In 1914, Frederick Goff created a new type of philanthropy in Cleveland, Ohio. It was called a “community foundation,” and it was as simple as it was elegant. It made philanthropy available to average citizens to help build the communities where they lived and worked.

Charitably inclined citizens, whether wealthy or of modest means, could create funds at a foundation which, in turn, would invest the money. Civic-minded volunteers knowledgeable about local needs would grant the income from those funds to nonprofit organizations.

In 1969, James Rouse created the Columbia Foundation, the first community foundation in the state of Maryland.  He and members of the founding board had the prescience to realize that the new town of Columbia would continue to grow and attract new residents and would have pressing needs for decades to come.

Although our name changed from the Columbia Foundation to the Community Foundation of Howard County in 2013 to be more inclusive and to more accurately reflect the geographic area served, our mission and Jim’s vision remains intact. Through the vision of Jim Rouse, and the generosity of donors over the past four decades, the Community Foundation of Howard County is here to meet the challenges of Howard County of the 21st century.

As a public charity, CFHoCo makes a point of operating in an open manner that welcomes scrutiny.  We take our obligation to donors, community groups and the public at large very seriously.  Serving all of Howard County, CFHoCo is a charitable organization dedicated to inspiring lifelong giving and connecting people, places and organizations to worthy causes across Howard County, now and into the future. Created by and for the people of Howard County, CFHoCo is here to help our donors make a positive impact on their community and to support nonprofit organizations that address important causes in our county.

With assets of more than $15 million and more than 300 charitable funds under management, we promote philanthropy by addressing emerging community issues, managing permanent endowments and working with individuals, families, corporations and private foundations. We support nonprofit organizations in achieving their charitable objectives and distribute grants and scholarships that touch and transform the lives of so many Howard County residents.

1969

James Rouse and four others started the Columbia Foundation, the first community foundation in Maryland.
Read more

1971

The Foundation awarded its first grant to the Association of Community Services of Howard County to "explore human services needs and possible approaches." The Foundation awarded its first "seed-funding" grant to the Howard County Workshop, now Humanim.
Read more

1986

The Columbia Foundation’s first major endowment was created with a $500,000 challenge grant from the Rouse Company. By the end of 1987, the Howard County community had pledged $1.2 million.
Read more

1989

Barbara Lawson becomes the Foundation’s first full-time executive director, guiding the organization with creativity, commitment and compassion for nearly 20 years.
Read more

1991

The Foundation expanded its mission beyond grant-making for the first time, partnering with the Columbia Housing Corp. to help eight low-income families purchase homes in Meadowfield.
Read more

1996

The Foundation awarded $150,000 for a three-year parenting initiative, providing more than $137,000 in grants to private agencies and parent teacher associations (PTA) to provide parenting classes, support groups and other programs for parents in Howard County.
Read more

2004

The Foundation embarks on a fresh communications strategy including a new logo
Read more

2005

After Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast in August of 2005, the Columbia Foundation, in collaboration with the Citizen Services and other nonprofits, helped resettle 15 families.
Read more

2008

The Foundation reached $10 million in grants. Beverley Francis-Gibson joined the Columbia Foundation as its second full-time president and chief executive officer.
Read more

2009

As the Foundation celebrated its 40th birthday, the board completed a new five-year strategic plan and drafted the Foundation’s new mission statement: "Inspiring lifelong giving and connecting people, places and organizations to worthy causes across Howard County."
Read more

2012

Beverly White-Seals assumed the leadership role of president and chief executive officer. The Columbia Foundation has more than $15 million in assets.
Read more

2013

The Columbia Foundation officially changes its name to the Community Foundation of Howard County while continuing its same mission.
Read more