SMECO employees raise $58,000 for Cornerstone Southern Maryland

SMECO employees recently held a fund-raising event and donated $58,000 to Cornerstone Southern Maryland.

“We chose Cornerstone as this year’s fund-raising recipient because they help people with behavioral health disorders enhance their quality of life and realize their potential as citizens of the community,” said Natalie Cotton, SMECO’s government affairs and community relations director.

“Our vendors and employees work together to make SMECO’s annual charity golf outing a successful event. The vendors provide very generous contributions that enable us to make a substantial donation that will help people in our community who need it most,” said Sonja M. Cox, SMECO’s president and CEO. “Like many other rural areas, Southern Maryland has a shortage of mental health services. Helping residents who are struggling with mental health issues or substance abuse addiction is vital to the well-being of our community.”

“This donation will allow us to keep providing services to our clients—to the people that we serve in Southern Maryland,” said Cari Guthrie, president and CEO of Cornerstone Southern Maryland. “COVID definitely had an impact on some of our programs in terms of staffing, clients, and case-load capacity. This money is going to help us reinforce that so we can get more staff in, reopen to admissions and bring more clients in, and get back to where we were before COVID.”

“Mental health and substance use—behavioral health disorders—don’t discriminate. All of us probably know somebody who is touched by either a mental health or substance use disorder,” Guthrie continued. “While COVID has helped bring that to light, in a lot of ways, there are still people that forget about that or don’t think it’s as important as other things. I believe that mental health is equally as important as physical health. They are so linked that they really need to be looked at together. And that’s what we are trying to improve.”

SMECO employees raised the money through the Annual Charity Golf Outing in September. The event draws support from SMECO vendors, the cooperative’s board and executive team, and employees who volunteer. The cooperative selects different organizations each year to benefit from its fundraising events. Contributions, which may be tax deductible, can be made to the SMECO Charitable Foundation.

According to Cotton, “SMECO employee fund-raisers have contributed more than $542,000 to local organizations over the last 11 years. We are especially grateful to our business partners who generously contribute by providing donations and participating in the event. Diamond Sponsors include AUI Power, Penn Line, SMCIS, and ULCS. Platinum Sponsors include Altec, AV3, Booth & Associates, CDW, CMI General Contractors, ConvergeOne, ICF International, Maryland Broadband Cooperative, Milwaukee Tools, New River Electrical Corp, OCCLS, The Okonite Company, PowerTech, Sargent & Lundy, Scheibel Construction, Schneider Electric, Sumter Utilities, Super Salvage, TRC Companies, United Utilities, and WESCO. Gold Sponsors include ABB, Bank of America, Eaton, G&S Technologies, Invoke Consulting, ITsavvy, Meridian, Rodgers Consulting, RSI Sales, Standard Petroleum, and The Wills Group/Southern Maryland Oil. We rely on Golf Outing sponsors for their donations and we appreciate their assistance.”

About Cornerstone Southern Maryland

Cornerstone Southern Maryland (formerly Southern Maryland Community Network) empowers people living with mental health and substance use disorders to thrive in their community. The organization benefits more than 3,500 clients each year in Calvert, Charles, St. Mary’s, and Montgomery counties. Services include residential rehabilitation, supported living, supported employment, targeted case management, assertive community treatment, residential crisis, and three outpatient clinics.

SMECO donation to Cornerstone Southern Maryland
From left: Cindy Rauner, SMECO’s senior vice president for human resources; Cari Guthrie, president and CEO of Cornerstone Southern Maryland; Sonja Cox, SMECO’s president and CEO; Chris Brandt, Cornerstone Southern Maryland’s director of development and communications; and Natalie Cotton, SMECO’s government affairs and community relations director.