Nonprofit Spotlight

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Nonprofit Institute
College of Southern Maryland
PO Box 910
La Plata, MD 20646-0910
Fax: 301-934-7704

Charles County
Cara Fogarty

Michelle Sullivan

St. Mary's County
Harriet Yaffe

St. Mary's County Nonprofit Spotlight:

The Promise Resource Center

Promise Resource Center logoWith over 30 years of service and experience, The Promise Resource Center (PRC) is the area’s leading provider of child care resources and family services to those residing in Calvert, Charles, and St. Mary’s Counties.

The mission of The Promise Resource Center is to help provide a better life for children by equipping those who care for them (parents, caregivers, and teachers) with the knowledge and tools to help them grow and thrive.

PRC provides several crucial services for the community, many of which are focused on strengthening families and teaching parents the necessary skills to properly care for their children. The Center offers both co-parenting classes and coaching sessions that teach separated parents how to work together to raise happy and healthy children. They also provide in-home  behavior management and supervised visitation services to parents who are currently separated from their children.

As a member of the Maryland Child Care Resource Network, PRC works closely with child care providers in Southern Maryland. PRC offers required trainings to both home-based and center-based child care facilities so that they can stay up-to-date in the field of early childhood education and become or remain licensed in Maryland. They also offer technical assistance, classroom assistance, and behavior management assistance to child care providers at no cost.

Other services offered by PRC include the Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation (ECMHC) program. This is a tiered program focused on supporting parents and caregivers of children exhibiting concerning behavior in child care settings.

PRC also offers recurring programs including Circle of Security Parenting, Strengthening Families Program, Parent Café, and Women’s Empowerment groups.  

The Promise Resource Center hosts an annual Drive-In Movie Event to raise both awareness of the organization and funds to support vital programs. In addition to the showing of a popular children’s movie on a 40’ movie screen and drive-in style parking, the Drive-In also features pre-movie activities such as music, concessions, arts and crafts, vendors, and more to create a truly memorable experience for local families. This year’s event will be held on August 25 at the St. Mary’s County Fairgrounds. More information about the Drive-In Movie Event >>

Charles County Nonprofit Spotlight:

Charles County Fair

Charles County FairThe Charles County Fair, Inc., is a small 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization located in Charles County Maryland. Most people do not realize the fairgrounds are not directly affiliated with the Charles County Government or any other government agency. Rather, it requires numerous volunteers, Board of Directors, judges, superintendents, and local groups to operate the fair.

The mission is to celebrate over 359 years of local agricultural history by providing an annual fair that showcases farming, livestock, crafting, and art exhibits; "old fashioned" fun and community building. The fair is held on a 35 acre site south of La Plata that is owned by the organization.

The Charles County Fair was organized and incorporated in 1924. The first fair was held at Chapel Point which, at that time, was a bathing beach and amusement park owned and operated by the Catholic Church. After the First World War, several of the interested farmers began to think in terms of a fair for Charles County which would eventually own its own grounds with buildings. The group organized a stock company which sold shares of stock, with a par value of $10 to any interested party, making no promises to pay any dividends but to consider the purchase a donation. The committee divided up a list of possible buyers and proceeded at once to canvas their list for purchase of shares. The committee was to report back in two weeks. The report showed sales of $1200, which was encouraging for the group. They decided to proceed with plans for holding a fair in the fall of 1924 and continued selling stock to provide money for operation. In 1925, the board purchased the present Spring Hill site. The only building on the property was, appropriately, a small tobacco barn near the present main entrance. It was used for several years to house poultry exhibits. All other departments were housed in rented tents. Electricity was unavailable in the area so the fair used a generator operated by a farm tractor. “It was somewhat better than nothing,” recalled one man.

In 1931, in search of entertainment, the fair decide to choose a lovely local girl as their fair queen, “Queen Nicotina.” This was the first recognition of tobacco as a prime contributor to the economy of Charles County. With the exception of one year during World War II, Queen Nicotina has been a trademark of the Charles County Fair. Each year Queen Nicotina is awarded a $1,000 scholarship donated by a local business.

During the depression years of the 1930s, the fair’s survival was somewhat in doubt, but the increasing prosperity of Charles County allowed the fair to continue and even prosper. The fair has grown over the years. Currently, there is a farm museum, a historic one-room school house, two commercial buildings (with heat and air conditioning), seven exhibit buildings, six livestock buildings, one poultry building and a storage building. In 2014, five new livestock buildings were built to replace those lost in an April 2013 fire. Profits have been used to purchase new equipment and construct of buildings, but upkeep costs are substantial.

The participation of other organizations, such as the 4-H, has been one of the strengths of the fair. The all-volunteer Fair Board couldn’t put on a fair without all the other volunteers in the exhibit buildings and other areas on the grounds.

Charles County Fair, Inc. welcomes more than 50,000 visitors each year. The main fundraising event is the annual Fair held in September. A spectacular 4th of July fireworks display for the community is provided with the proceeds from the Fair. In December, the annual Kris Kringle Christmas Market is held to benefit the Southern Maryland Food Bank. Last year there were over 140 vendors and crafters. More than 14 tons of foods were collected, allowing 1,100 families in Southern Maryland to be fed over the Christmas season.

Throughout the year, the grounds and buildings are rented out for family and community functions and enjoyed by all.