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Founder of Community Foundation of Anne Arundel County, Carol Thompson, Passes Away

It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of our beloved founder, Carol Thompson. Carol was a fearless, innovative, and thoughtful philanthropist who led the transformation of the Community Foundation from a fledgling start-up to an established community institution. 

In 1998, with a desire to make a substantial and long-term difference in our community, Carol gathered a group of committed citizens to promote the idea of establishing a community foundation for Anne Arundel County. Carol’s vision was to create a permanent charitable foundation that would contribute funds needed to provide a better quality of life for all in Anne Arundel County. As a result, the Community Foundation of Anne Arundel County (CFAAC) was born.

Carol began speaking to local groups and clubs as well as meeting privately with key community members to ask for their support and help. The idea of a community foundation in Anne Arundel County gained momentum. Several individuals whom Carol met with clearly understood the benefits of a community foundation, including Greg and Trish Strott, the foundation’s first Donor Advised Fundholders.

“Carol was a visionary, without her perseverance and foresight, we would not have a Community Foundation in Anne Arundel County. She was the driving force in our early days. She made a difference in our community and impacted many lives – she will be missed,” said Greg Strott, who was also one of the foundation’s original board members.

Since receiving its first gift of $600.00, CFAAC has grown its assets to over $23M. The foundation manages more than 150 funds and is the county’s largest institutional grantmaker, distributing nearly $5M in grants in 2020.

“It is an honor for us to carry on the important work Carol started more than 23 years ago. We remain committed to her legacy, to elevate philanthropy in the county by partnering with donors to maximize the impact of their philanthropic investments to address persistent community needs today and for the future. We know Carol was proud,” says Mary Spencer, CFAAC’s President and CEO.

In 2020, CFAAC honored Carol by presenting the first Carol Thompson Lifetime Achievement Award at its signature event, Celebration of Philanthropy. The award recognizes an individual, who like Carol, has made outstanding contributions to advancing philanthropy by demonstrating long-standing leadership, creativity in responding to societal problems, and significant positive impact on philanthropy in Anne Arundel County.

Carol spent her last days at home with her devoted and loving husband Bill and her children, grandchildren, and nephews.

Due to ongoing gathering restrictions, a Celebration of Carol’s Life will be held at a later date. “We will have something to remember Carol once we can all gather together and celebrate her the way she deserves,” said Bill Thompson.

The need to ensure long-term sustainability for the Community Foundation of Anne Arundel County was essential to Carol. In 2012, she established the Carol Thompson Fund, a permanently endowed fund to support the organization’s programs and operations. Investments from the fund will make a real difference as CFAAC works to sustain our community today, tomorrow, and into the future. 

Donations in memory of Carol, can be made to the Carol Thompson Fund at the Community Foundation of Anne Arundel County, 900 Bestgate Road, Annapolis, MD 21401. Or donate online by using the button below. 


Read Carol's full obituary here. 


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