The Martin County Community Foundation narrowed its nonprofit list for funding from the Frances Langford Fund for Martin County.

“Martin County is blessed to have so many strong charitable organizations working to enrich the community,” said Elizabeth Barbella, the president of the Martin County Community Foundation.

The Martin County Community Foundation is one step closer to distributing grants through funds from the recently established Frances Langford Fund for Martin County.

“It is an honor to join the Martin County Community Foundation, which is known for its track record and respected leadership,” – Brian Foss

The Martin County Community Foundation welcomed a noted nonprofit expert and author, Brian Foss, to its seven-member board of directors, its executive director announced December 1, 2016.

Martin County Community Foundation would like to welcome its newest committee members, Bonney Johnson and Kate Freihofer.

Bonney brings 29 years of experience to the Grants Committee. Kate’s 20-year career as a Financial Analyst will lend itself to her role on the Investment Committee. We are excited to have them both on board and look forward to their impact.

After nearly three decades of cultivating the growth of charitable causes, the Martin County Community Foundation is ready to “make it rain” for a select few non-profits.

You’re wealthy. Fabulously wealthy. With more money than you can possibly spend. But, you don’t want to spend it all. You want to give some of it away. A lot of it, in fact.

Not to just anyone, however. To an organization whose mission you admire, whose efforts remain relevant and bold, yet attainable, and whose history demonstrates solvency and reliability. Whether quietly or to carry forward your legacy, you want to give big. But responsibly and with purpose. It’s what you truly believe is right. And you’re in the blessed position to do so.

It has been 11 years since beloved entertainer and philanthropist Frances Langford passed away. Her memory and legacy remain strong as our community continues to benefit from her vision and generosity through the Langford Fund for Martin County, the newest named fund under the direction of the Martin County Community Foundation. Elizabeth Barbella, MCCF Executive Director,  will welcome all Martin County non-profit CEO’s, Executive and Development Directors to a coffee reception at 10 a.m. on October 14 at the Dolphin Bar in Jensen Beach to introduce The  Langford Fund and to present guidelines for the 2017 grant applications. The Martin County Community Foundation was recently honored to receive $7.7 million from the Langford Trust to provide funding in perpetuity to organizations and causes most dear to Ms. Langford, who gave $26 million, directly to Martin County charities in the decade after her passing.

Adding their in-depth knowledge of the impact of community service to the premier private funding agency for non-profits in Martin County, Gytha Von Aldenbruck and Ellyn Stevenson have joined the board of directors for the Martin County Community Foundation. Von Aldenbruck and Stevenson join the Community Foundation’s 28-year history of inspiring and facilitating informed philanthropy to transform lives through thoughtful, innovative and effective giving.

“These two leaders have given back through their smart fiscal and programmatic efforts and dedicated volunteerism,” said Elizabeth Barbella, the executive director of the Martin County Community Foundation. “We are honored to have them join us on the board.” Von Aldenbruck, a resident of the Treasure Coast for 40 years, was a former First Vice President of Morgan Stanley, where she was recognized as a member of the prestigious Director’s Club. She is widely known for her fundraising efforts in Martin County, most notably on behalf of Treasure Coast Hospice and Alzheimer’s Community Care. She is a devoted volunteer who facilitates grief support groups and is an advocate for Memory Bridge, which brings hope and human connection to those afflicted with dementia.

Stevenson moved to Stuart in 1992, after a career in medical social work in South Carolina, where she established a groundbreaking statewide program for victims of sexual assault. As the Director of Stevenson Asset Management, she is managing partner of limited liability companies in Florida, Georgia and Colorado. She is a former board chair of Planned Parenthood of South Florida and the Treasure Coast.

Von Aldenbruck and Stevenson join Chair Kenneth A. Norman, Vice Chair Nancy B. Crowder-McCoy, Treasurer Joe Paskoski, and Bridget Baratta, Michael A. Kelly and W. Scott Wade as board members. Similar to the 750 community foundations throughout the nation, the Martin County Community Foundation is a tax-exempt, public charity that works closely with individuals, families and businesses helping them reach their philanthropic goals though funds aimed at long-term change and benefits to society.

Trustees overseeing the remaining funds of the Frances Langford Foundation today announced plans to continue the local celebrity philanthropist’s legacy through the Martin County Community Foundation.

More than $7 million remains from the funds once established by Frances Langford, the famous singer and movie star who once made Jensen Beach her home. John Turner, the board president of the Frances Langford Foundation, said the Martin County Community Foundation was chosen for its fiscal responsibility and long-standing dedication to the betterment of Martin County residents.

“Frances Langford would be proud to be partnering with the stewards of the Martin County Community Foundation,” Turner said. “They can be trusted to carry on her good work.” Since Ms. Langford passed away in 2005, her foundation has awarded more than $26 million to112 organizations and programs throughout Martin County. As of Thursday, the new Frances Langford Fund for Martin County will be one of more than 35 charitable funds managed by the Martin County Community Foundation.

Established in 1988, the Martin County Community Foundation facilitates a wide range of philanthropic gifts, based on the interests of the individual donors and the needs of the community. “We’ve helped many people leave a legacy in Martin County, whatever their philanthropic goals are” said Elizabeth Barbella, executive director of the foundation.

“While Ms. Langford’s legacy is already quite vast, it is our ambition to expand herreach even further.” Ms. Langford, whose fame came from staring in more than 30 films, four radio shows and three television shows before moving to Jensen Beach, donated land for parks and preservation, as well as supported charities such as the Boys and Girls Club, Florida Oceanographic Society and Martin Health Systems. It was her donation that founded the United Way of Martin County’s Alexis de Tocqueville Society for those who give $10,000 or more.

Funding guidelines for the new Frances Langford Fund for Martin County will be announced Oct. 6.

A gift of $2.6 million will soon be making a big difference in the Martin County community and beyond thanks to the generosity of the late Beatrice M. Rais Merkle of Fort Pierce, FL. Beatrice Merkle’s legacy will forever honor her commitment to philanthropy and her community. With the help of her wealth advisor, Bud Jordan of Merrill Lynch, Merkle donated a portion of her estate as an unrestricted gift to the Martin County Community Foundation.

“Beatrice Merkle wanted to help others and make a difference in her community,” said Jordan.“ She was a dear client who wanted to be sure her gift would continue to make a difference long after she was gone. The Martin County Community Foundation provided a perfect vehicle to support her philanthropy and honor her legacy.”

MCCF’s Board Chairman, Kenneth Norman, Esq. said, “Our board thought carefully about how best to use these resources to honor Ms. Merkle while also responding to community needs. Her generosity in providing these resources without restriction will provide resources for continued impact in our communities.

By creating several endowments in her name, we look forward to seeing the outcome of her compassion in the community.” As the endowment earnings of the Merkle gift increase, MCCF, the community, and designated organizations will continue to benefit from Ms. Merkle’s generosity. A portion of the gift was used to create a designated endowment fund which will provide annual grants to support organizations that Merkle was passionate about, including the American Cancer Society, Florida Division; American Heart Association; Shriners Hospital for Crippled Children; Salvation Army of Fort Pierce; and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

“We are grateful for the generous support of Beatrice Merkle. It will help us further our mission of saving lives from cancer, which will be diagnosed in more than 114,000 Floridians this year,” said Arleen Uria – Speed, American Cancer Society senior director, community engagement. The Beatrice M. Rais Merkle Community Fund will allow MCCF to award grants in response to the community’s changing needs and allows the foundation to address issues as they emerge, while a portion of the resources will also help MCCF expand its own services. By creating unrestricted funds, donors create a legacy that will grow and change as their community does. MCCF grants are awarded from endowed funds, such as the Merkle Fund, with priorities established by individual donors.

Organizations wishing to apply for funding should contact Jillian Vukusich, MCCF executive director, at MCCF is accepting
Letters of Inquiry until May 8th through an online application process. Thanks to her gift to the Martin County Community Foundation, Beatrice Merkle’s
legacy and giving spirit lives on, continuing to make a positive impact in our community for years to come.

To learn how the Martin County Community Foundation can assist with your personalized philanthropy plan or for grant opportunities, call 772-288-3795 or visit About the Martin County Community Foundation The mission of the Martin County Community Foundation is to facilitate philanthropy. Established in 1988, it is a nonprofit, charitable foundation consisting of named funds established by many separate donors to support the common good. The Martin County Community Foundation serves as a vehicle for donors to make positive, long – term change by supporting causes and organizations they are passionate about. For more information, call 772-288-3795 or visit