May 11, 2021

Art & Lifestyle:

Nonprofits Band Together to Boost Community

VCC public hearing
Posted for Patuxent River Naval Air MuseumHistoric Sotterley Inc.Greenwell FoundationSouthern Maryland Higher Education CenterThree Oaks CenterWalden Behavioral Health
By Mallory Lengel

On Thursday night, over 200 community members and individuals involved with nonprofit organizations gathered at the Southern Maryland Higher Education Center to discuss the role of nonprofits in the community.

With all of the county’s nonprofit organizations in risk of losing their funding, it is more important than ever to ensure that the community understands the need for these organizations and is vocal in their support. Before and after the meeting, volunteers and community members had the opportunity to meet with leaders of, and be informed about, local nonprofit members of the Vital Community Connectors (VCC).


According to Nancy Easterling, Executive Director of Sotterley Plantation, this meeting was an opportunity to let the public know how vital it is that nonprofit organizations work together, instead of working under the premise that they are in competition with each other.

The VCC is made up of 26 local nonprofit organizations which provide various services to the community. These services range from youth and family programs, education programs and counseling services to housing, community and economic development programs, all of which are vital to the health of the community.

Programs run by organizations such as Three Oaks Center provide housing and community cleanup services for those in need, and Walden helps hundreds of people struggling with all ranges of behavioral health troubles to take back control and improve their lives each year. Programs like these are vital to the community health.

By engaging the community in open conversation about what each nonprofit does individually and what it means for the community as a whole, VCC hopes to gain support in their fight for funding.

Providing services such as Greenwell Foundation’s integrated camp programs, which allow special needs campers to interact with other children, fosters a sense of togetherness and community across a spectrum of individuals. Additionally, these nonprofits work together to maximize their impact and reach even more people and offer as many services as they can to those who need them. For example, Greenwell works in conjunction with Vacations for Vets, a small local nonprofit organization, to enable them to provide weekend retreats for injured veterans.

At Thursday’s meeting, one attendee spoke out about how budget cuts would affect the many individuals involved in programs all over the county, citing that, after living in three different counties, St. Mary’s is by far the most handicap-friendly and enjoyable place to live. In order to maintain this quality of life, and inclusiveness that makes our area so desirable to the residents, tourists, defense contractors and military commands, non-profits are vital to the economic success of the county.

One Response to “Nonprofits Band Together to Boost Community”
  1. Julie King says:

    What is the music overriding the voices?

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