It’s fair to say that James D. “Jim” Summers is a “number guy”. As such, he has a unique understanding of the role the Frederick County Community Foundation plays in preserving the region’s quality of life – today, tomorrow and in perpetuity.
Summers’ career in public accounting spans five decades. He is a Chartered Public Accountant (CPA) and Chartered Valuation Analyst with accreditations in Business Valuation and Financial Forensics. Currently a partner with the accounting firm Summers & Summers CPAs, LLC, he specializes in working with individuals, businesses, estates and trusts. He is also an active community volunteer and has been a director of the Community Foundation since 2016 and treasurer since 2017.
“As an accountant, I know the value of endowments for long-term financial planning,” Summers said. “Having money saved that generates income over a long period of time is invaluable, and this same concept is the basis of a community foundation. The fact that we have had an organization that facilitates and pools together to meet the needs of the community and support local nonprofits with as much expertise as the Community Foundation has done over the past 34 years. years is of enormous importance and value.
Summers said he and his wife, Dr. Elly Williams, have known the Community Foundation for many years. “If you’re an accountant in Frederick County, the Community Foundation is at least on your radar,” he said. “The organization was not only co-founded by Donald C. Linton, CPA, one of the best known and esteemed members of our local accounting community, it is also one of the most respected resources for professional financial advisers.
Summers, who has served on the Community Foundation’s Council of Professional Advisors since 2016 and has served as its chair since October 2019, says the group facilitates relationships between accountants, advisors, lawyers and other like-minded professionals in order to that they can better serve those inclined to charity. His seminars and other resources, he said, are always accurate, well done, and helpful to professionals and clients.
Over the years, Summers said he has learned a lot about local nonprofits that have received grants from Community Foundation funds. As an administrator, he said, he had the opportunity to visit the campuses of these nonprofits to see those donated dollars in action.
“It is gratifying to see how creatively these organizations are leveraging the grants they receive from the Community Foundation and how many lives they can have a real and profound impact,” he said. “For me, this is one of the most rewarding and fulfilling things we do.”
Through these regular site visits, Summers said he has had the opportunity to see the power of Community Foundation grants when they are distributed based on areas where the community needs the most, an observation that has helped shape his philanthropy and that of his wife. In addition to their widespread support for various scholarship funds and the Widening Circles Society since 2000, they have also become enthusiastic supporters of the Forever Frederick County Fund.
Launched in 2019 with the fundraising campaign concluded in mid-2021, Forever Frederick County was a $ 20 million effort to create an unrestricted endowment fund to provide grants for the greater needs of our community, such as ‘identified by future Frederick County Human Needs Assessments. Summers was one of the Trustees of the Community Foundation who helped lead the effort, and he and Dr Williams donated to the campaign which, along with contributions and pledges from hundreds of others, helped to advance this revolutionary campaign.
“My family was among the early settlers of Frederick County and I was fortunate to grow up in Jefferson,” Summers said. “I saw how the county has changed. Some of these changes were predictable, while others were completely unexpected. This trend is set to continue, so having an unrestricted fund to address these issues made sense to Elly and me. “
“I am truly proud of the generosity with which this community responded to the Forever Frederick County campaign,” Summers said. “Much of this support came during the COVID-19 pandemic, when many people found life uncertain. And yet, we still exceeded our target, and that says a lot about this community and the people who live here.
Day is the President and CEO of the Community Foundation of Frederick County, a non-profit organization that connects people who care about the causes that matter. The organization works with individuals, families, businesses and groups to achieve their charitable intentions through scholarships and grants to non-profit organizations. To learn more about the Community Foundation, visit FrederickCountyGives.org.