Sometimes legacies are a surprise. The notice from The Office of the Register of Wills stating that the Community Foundation was named as an interested party in the estate of Calvin Murray was routine. As the story unfolded, we learned that Mr. Murray wished to establish a charitable fund supporting two nonprofits: The Howard Chapel Ridgeville United Methodist Church (UMC), and Frederick Memorial Hospital. The surprise? Mr. Murray wasn’t known to us, nor had he let us know in advance that he wished to create funds benefitting his church and the hospital. Even more surprising was the estimated size of the estate – more than $20 million.
We’re always sorry to hear of someone’s death, of course, and establishing a charitable fund with proceeds from the estate is not unusual. A well -respected resident of Mount Airy, Maryland, Mr. Murray was described as a quiet individual who was always in touch with local news. He lived and worked on the family farm his entire life. As a youth, he received numerous awards from 4-H for raising and showing farm animals. His prize cattle awards provided the opportunity to serve as a Maryland delegate to the National 4-H Conference in 1946. He also received top honors for his animal projects from Future Farmers of America. After graduating from high school, he continued working on his family’s farm, and other land acquired nearby.
Mr. Murray and his parents were life-long members of The Howard Chapel Ridgeville UMC, and he participated in the youth group and served the church in his younger years through various volunteer roles. Mr. Murray’s extended family said the bequest to the church was a direct reflection of his parent’s dedication to the church and their very active involvement.
He was kind and cared about others, even those he didn’t know. Mr. Murray decided to name Frederick Memorial Hospital as a grant recipient because he received excellent care when admitted with a health issue. He knew that others in the community might need hospital care but may not be able to afford it, and he wanted to use his resources to help.
Mr. Murray passed away in January 2012. The Calvin Murray Charitable Fund was established, and in August 2014, the first grants were presented to The Howard Chapel Ridgeville UMC and Frederick Memorial Hospital. The church used its initial grant towards an addition to the building and updating other parts of the building to be compliant with the American with Disabilities Act. Representatives from the church anticipated future grants to provide support of mission projects in the Mount Airy, Maryland area, as well as other places in the United States and the world.
Frederick Memorial Hospital used its first grant towards The James M. Stockman Cancer Institute, which was under construction at the time. This state of the art facility that opened in the summer of 2017, now provides diagnosis, treatment, cancer patient follow-up, and support services under one roof. The annual grant now supports other programs and projects at the hospital.
Calvin Murray left a legacy that will positively impact countless people in perpetuity as annually, each entity will receive a grant that will support their programs. Fortunately, he had specified his wishes via his attorney in advance, and we were able to create his fund to carry out his charitable wishes exactly as he wanted. But because we didn’t know of his charitable intentions in advance of his death, we weren’t able to say thank you, and that’s sad.
We realize that Mr. Murray’s estate, in its size, is the exception rather than the rule. It’s important to know that no matter the size of your estate, every gift creates impact in the community. If you decide you would like to create a charitable fund with the Community Foundation that becomes active after your passing, we encourage you to talk with your professional advisors and us in advance, rather than to make it a surprise. That way, we understand what you wish to do and the legacy you’d like to leave. And, we can thank you personally for your vision and plans to help Frederick County be its best.