Commemorating the tenth anniversary of the Community Foundation of Southern Maryland, the theme of the 12th Annual Philanthropy Day Luncheon was “Looking Forward, Giving Back.” This year’s inductees are individuals, families, and organizations that have given back to their communities in extraordinary ways. We are honored to be able to recognize the following at our annual event: Sandy O. Washington of Lifestyles, Inc., Jimmy Hayden of O’Brien Realty, Gordon Croft, and Charlotte Wilkening.
Lifestyles is synonymous with giving back. From safe night shelter programs, to feeding the homeless. Providing clothes, food, emergency assistance to those in need. Leading the way in community forums addressing issues like race relations, law enforcement and civilian interactions, bullying, homelessness just to name a few. Lifestyles brings the community together to participate, celebrate and take action around issues of basic human need, justice and humanity creating a better quality of life for the citizens of Southern Maryland.
Lifestyles sees approximately 14,000 people annually. In the last year, Lifestyles has distributed 119,134 tons of food and has fed over 6,000 families and individuals. They have also provided over 5,000 bed nights to those in need during the harsh winter months, and helped over 200 people find permanent housing.
O’Brien Realty, Jimmy Hayden – Business
O’Brien Realty has kept pace, adapting to rapid growth and a changing economy while maintaining exacting standards and integrity.
Jimmy Hayden has been a realtor with O’Brien Realty since 2007 serving the residents of St. Mary’s County. Mr. Hayden attributes his success to hard work, dedication, and treating people the way he would want to be treated through quality customer service.
Mr. Hayden’s contributions extend to the community through his volunteer efforts for St. John’s School, the Hollywood Volunteer Fire Department and the Promise Resource Center. Over the years Mr. Hayden has helped hundreds of families find dream homes across Southern MD, contributing of his time and resources to support Initiatives that have a positive impact on the community.
Gordon Croft – Volunteer
Mr. Croft is a native of Southern Maryland and has established five scholarships at the University of Maryland in honor of his late father, Russell Gordon Croft. Mr. Croft graduated from Charles County Public Schools and received a scholarship that enabled him to attend Johns Hopkins University. He has never forgotten his humble beginnings growing up on a farm in Charles County nor the importance of the education he received.
A strong advocate for education, he has paid it back over and over again through donations and providing opportunities for children. He has donated more than 300 computers to students, sports equipment, smartboards and has endowed nine college tuition scholarships for Charles County students. These are just a few examples of his contributions to the Southern Maryland community. Mr. Croft believes there are many bright, capable, hard-working high school students in Maryland who believe that higher education is out of reach due to their limited means. Mr. Croft’s goal, through the establishment of these scholarships, is to encourage these students to pursue a college education where they otherwise might not.
Charlotte Wilkening – Volunteer
Ms. Wilkening began “giving of herself” in Calvert County by joining the Dunkirk Fire Department Women’s Auxiliary in the 1980’s, first as a volunteer who helped in fundraising and then aiding on many Friday nights by manning the kitchen.
For several years she volunteered at Abused Persons of Prince Frederick and was assigned as a court advocate. Ms. Wilkening has volunteered numerous hours as a tutor for the Literacy Council, a member of the Kiwanis of Calvert County and for Project Echo providing food, household items and clothes for residents of the county.
The list of charitable organizations that have benefited from her selflessness goes on and on. The gift of helping others has been a life changing experience for her and she is committed to continue that legacy of giving throughout her lifetime.