From Hospice Caring to CaringMatters
Penny Gladhill participated in a volunteer hospice training in Frederick County and immediately recognized the need for such an organization in Montgomery County, where she lived. In 1989, she joined with a seven other compassionate and concerned individuals to create a volunteer hospice to serve Montgomery County residents. These pioneers formed Hospice Caring's first Board of Directors, launching a dynamic, community-based nonprofit organization. Over nearly thirty years, the organization has evolved and expanded to serve the increasingly diverse population of Montgomery County with a wide array of programs.
Throughout the years, Hospice Caring's mission of compassionate support has inspired volunteers from every corner of the county to participate in training and get involved. Their willingness to share anyone’s end of life journey or comfort those who are grieving has always been the organization's greatest asset and strength. Specialized bereavement programs, such as the Bereaved Caregivers Retreat, Family Nights, the Good Grief Clubs for grieving children, and Camp Caring (now Camp Erin), as well as Community Education workshops, were all brought to life by these committed and creative volunteers.
In the life of any nonprofit organization, there comes a time for self-reflection. In 2017, Hospice Caring's staff and board decided to take a collective look in the mirror and ask critical questions about the identity, mission and work of the organization. From that effort came the decision to rebrand Hospice Caring with a new name and visual identity. After conducting surveys and focus groups and consulting numerous resources, a new name emerged: CaringMatters. Even though the mission is still clear and unwavering, the new name will clarify the organization's identity, accurately reflect the scope of work and secure a position for future growth.
CaringMatters strives every day to meet the needs of our community, working to encourage end-of-life planning, normalize conversations about death, dying and grief, and cultivate a society where no one dies alone and no one grieves alone.
The CaringMatters Cottage
The Cottage is located in Bohrer Park in Gaithersburg, Maryland. How the Cottage came to be is documented in this Gazette article. It has attractively landscaped gardens surrounding a red brick building that overlooks the park and pond. The Cottage is comfortably furnished like a home, with an atmosphere that is welcoming and conducive to quiet reflection as well as group activities. All CaringMatters staff and their offices are located at the Cottage. In addition, the Cottage serves as a meeting place for many CaringMatters bereavement groups, book discussion groups, retreats, and staff and board meetings.