Philanthropist Family of the Year: Fergusons honored for generosity

Looking at a list of the organizations and capital improvement campaigns that Tom and Sandy Ferguson have volunteered with over the years, it seems the Westminster couple has been involved in a little bit of everything.

Some of the organizations they have worked with or volunteered for include the Arc of Carroll County, Carroll Lutheran Village, Westminster Rotary Club, Red Cross, the Carroll County Arts Council, September Song, the GFWC Women's Club of Westminster, Rape Crisis Intervention Service of Carroll County, YMCA, Westminster Church Homes Foundation, St. Paul's United Church of Christ, Shepherd's Staff and the Boys & Girls Club of Westminster.

For their countless hours of volunteering and their generous donations, the Community Foundation of Carroll County has named Tom and Sandy Ferguson the Philanthropist Family of the Year. This year's awards event will be held at 7 a.m. Wednesday, Oct. 19, at The Portico of St. John Catholic Church in Westminster where the winners and nominees will be honored.

The Fergusons, who have two sons and six grandchildren, said they have always made it a priority to be involved with the community and volunteer.

Tom and Sandy Ferguson post for a portrait at their home in Westminster, Wednesday.
Tom and Sandy Ferguson pose for a portrait at their home in Westminster Wednesday.

"We both feel the community has blessed us in many ways, and we enjoy helping out wherever we can," said Tom, a former Westminster mayor and councilman. "We have a need, because we've been so blessed, to do whatever we can."

"We just enjoy staying involved in the community, meeting new people and doing whatever we can to help," Sandy added.

Don Rowe, the director of the Arc Carroll County, said he estimates the Fergusons have either donated or organized events that have brought in tens of thousands of dollars over the years. Rowe said he has been friends with the Fergusons for about 20 years and is still impressed by their kindness and generosity.

"It seems like they're constantly looking for ways to quietly improve this community," Rowe said. "They pull up their sleeves and jump in."

Tom, a retired bank president, has done so many great things that has helped the Arc develop, Rowe said. In the early 1980s, Tom chaired the capital campaign that led to the construction of Arc's Westminster facility. Tom also chaired the committee to develop a new fundraiser.

The fundraiser that was created was the Distinguished Speakers Series, which later became The Capital Steps, the Arc's premiere event. Capital Steps, Rowe said, has raised more than $150,000 over the past 10 years.

"He's constantly thinking far beyond any kind of personal gain [and focuses on] what's going to be best for the community," Rowe said. "People probably don't know half the things he's started."

"What I admire most is that he's always thinking of others."

Aside from the Arc, Tom has also led the capital campaigns for the Westminster volunteer fire company and the YMCA.

Hermine Saunders, spokeswoman for Carroll Lutheran, said she met Sandy in the late 1990s. In the time that she's known Sandy, Saunders said her friend has served on Carroll Lutheran's board of trustees and the fund development committee. Sandy currently is the chairwoman of the Ways and Means Committee for the Friends of the Village auxiliary.

The auction committee, which Sandy was a chairwoman of, raises between $10,000 and $35,000 a year for the organization.

"Sandy is very knowledgeable of the community and is very good at engaging and involving community members in events," Saunders said. "The Village has been most appreciative of the hours that Sandy has given."