The life of William Eugene “Gene” Barnhart will have a profound impact on others with three funds created with The Community Foundation of Frederick County through his estate provisions. With Mr. Barnhart’s generosity and vision for the future, countless students will benefit from educational scholarships, people battling cancer will receive vital support services, and Broadfording Church of the Brethren will receive support for its operations.
Mr. Barnhart was originally from Laytonsville and then later became a Middletown resident. He was a farmer for most of his life, followed by a second career as an auto mechanic. Some of Mr. Barnhart’s earliest memories were of his parents, Evelyn and Ernest, farming their land during the difficult times of the Great Depression. From a young age, he helped his parents sustain their livelihood.
Mr. Barnhart’s lifelong love of farming, coupled with his desire to see farming continue to thrive in Frederick County, prompted him to turn to the Community Foundation in 2008 to establish The Gene, Evelyn and Ernest Barnhart Family Scholarship Fund. The fund provided post-secondary scholarships to students studying agriculture at the University of Maryland for a number of years, according to Mr. Barnhart’s direction. The fund was then closed when the last scholarship was awarded.
Mr. Barnhart passed away in 2013. Through his estate provisions, he created three new funds with the Community Foundation. Honoring the legacy of his parents, The Gene, Evelyn and Ernest Family Scholarship Fund II provides post-secondary scholarships to Frederick County high school graduates pursuing a career in agriculture. With Mr. Barnhart’s first scholarship fund and the new one created through his estate provisions, more than $135,000 in total scholarships have been awarded to students to pursue their agricultural educational goals through his generosity.
The William E. Barnhart Memorial Fund provides grants to Frederick County residents with cancer and/or organizations in Frederick County that provide direct services for people battling cancer. The fund has supported organizations such as Habitat for Humanity of Frederick County for home repairs for a cancer patient through its A Brush With Kindness Program and the Patty Pollatos Fund to provide financial assistance to adults with cancer. To date, the fund has provided more than $93,000 in grants.
The third fund Mr. Barnhart created through his estate provisions was The William E. Barnhart Memorial Fund for Broadfording Church of the Brethren to support the church’s operations. To date, more than $121,000 in grants have been distributed from the fund.
The three funds in Mr. Barnhart’s name have provided broad impact in the community. He will be remembered and appreciated by countless people who will benefit from his generosity.