Top 50 Under 40 Leigh Adams

This year OED is recognizing and celebrating Frederick County’s young professionals who are leaders in their industry, give back to the community and add significant value to their company and its culture.  Join us as we get to know our Top 50 Under 40.

Leigh Adams, 36
Executive Director
Ausherman Family Foundation
7420 Hayward Road, Frederick

Leigh Adams is the Executive Director for the Ausherman Family Foundation. She oversees all aspects of the Foundation's grantmaking, community benefit projects, and network facilitation. You can often find her behind the scenes helping to create meaningful change and stimulating community discussions. She loves her work with the nonprofit and philanthropic community and is passionate about connecting people together for the greater good.

What is your greatest professional accomplishment?

During COVID, I worked alongside funders and nonprofit leaders to streamline funding, identify immediate pressing needs, secured and distributed essential items and helped to organize food distribution efforts across the county.

Name one award you are most proud to have received.

In August of 2020, I was named by Frederick News Post as an Influential Leader in Frederick County.

What is your experience with civic engagement?

I have served on numerous committees, including Frederick Speaker Series, Nonprofit Alliance, Hood College’s Board of Associates, Leadership Frederick, The Community Needs Assessment Task Force, Women’s Giving Circle, Nonprofit Summit.

Tell us about a time you volunteered.

My family worked with Friends of Child Advocacy & The Housing Authority to make Christmas morning magical for 52 children. Caseworkers helped us to determine the children’s immediate needs, interests & wish lists. We then matched them with “Santa’s Elves.”

What was your first job?

Jimmie Cone, serving up ice cream

What do you like to do for fun in Frederick County?

I love to enjoy the amazing food, spirts, culture and energy our downtown has to offer.

Who has influenced you most when it comes to how you approach your work and why?

Honestly, being surrounded by the amazing people who run our nonprofits has been the most influential. Some of the stories and situations these dedicated individuals experience day in, and day out is simply heart wrenching, but they do it without hesitation.  It takes a very special person to run towards problems like those and being able to support them and their work, is important to me. Coming from working in a nonprofit into the world of philanthropy was an adjustment for me. I had always been on the side of grant seeker and being a grant maker was a new ball game.

Over the years, I have developed an amazing relationship with Betsy Day from the Community Foundation. I have the utmost respect for her and the work she has done in the community. She has been a constant source of support for me over the years and someone that I look up to deeply.

What behavior or personality trait do you most attribute to your success and why?

I am a connector. Nothing makes me happier than to connect two people or groups together and see magic happen. One of the reasons I love my job so much is that I have the privilege to learn of our nonprofits needs, goals and vision. Being able to take that information and help bring additional resources to the picture is what I strive to do. When I can help facilitate a connection between a group or individual that will enhance the shared outcome for both, its energizing.