ABOUT US

Creating places that enrich lives are the words the Carl M. Freeman Companies live by. Of equal note was our founder’s belief that to whom much is given, much is expected. Thus, in 1960, he established the Carl M. Freeman Foundation, which, via grants and guidance, assists nonprofit organizations throughout the Maryland and Delaware area.

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About the Carl M. Freeman Foundation

The Carl M. Freeman Foundation, a private family foundation established in 1960, has a long history of supporting nonprofit organizations - both large and small. The Foundation commits its time, talent and treasure to facilitate, support and promote innovative community-based leadership and giving. We seek to honor our founders’ legacies and passions by endorsing excellence and leveraging resources. Generally, we limit donations to communities where the customers, employees, and vendors of Carl M. Freeman Companies work, live, and play.

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About Carl Freeman

Carl M. Freeman began his real estate career in California in 1937, concentrating on sales and land planning activities. After six years in the business, he left California to join the Army. He served during World War II in the Army Engineers in the China-Burma-India Theater of operations. At the end of the war, he relocated to the Washington, D.C. area and resumed his career in real estate.

Founded in 1947, the Carl M. Freeman Associates, Inc built its first housing community in Carole Highlands, Maryland. The award-winning development featured Mr. Freeman’s California Cottage home, creating a community of truly livable spaces.

In the early 1950’s the Company expanded into apartment building development. Together with an emphasis on balconies, patios, and contemporary design, the fabulously successful Americana garden apartment became the company trademark through the 1950s and 1960s. The design, featuring the window-wall concept to let the outside in, was quickly copied throughout the United States. Since the 1950s, the Carl M. Freeman Companies built planned communities in Washington, D.C., Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Iowa. During Mr. Freeman’s lifetime, the Company participated in the development of more than 20,000 apartment units, townhouses and single-family homes in over 50 residential communities.

In 1957, Mr. Freeman was a founder and the first president of the Suburban Maryland Building Industry Association, an organization of builders and related trade professionals - established with the intent of creating and maintaining relationships with federal, state, county, and civic agencies. In addition to a number of these civic activities, Mr. Freeman also led major philanthropic efforts throughout the Greater Washington area – a contribution to the community that the Companies and The Carl M. Freeman Foundation continue today.

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About Josh Freeman

Joshua M. Freeman was the only son of real estate developer and philanthropist Carl Freeman and his wife Virginia. Josh grew up on Tusculum Farm, the family’s home near Olney, Maryland and attended Landon School in Bethesda, Maryland. After graduating from Landon, Josh joined the army and served his country as a Green Beret. In 1986 he joined the family business and began his career as a leasing agent with the Carl M. Freeman Companies. He diligently worked his way through the various companies and became President and Chief Executive Officer in 1992.

Josh was a passionate philanthropist who knew the importance of giving back. In addition to the Freeman Companies, Josh served as Chairman of the Board of Trustees for the Carl M. Freeman Foundation, continuing his father’s legacy of giving back to the areas where the Carl M. Freeman Companies do business. He also served on the Boards of Venture Philanthropy Partners, the Washington National Opera, the United Jewish Endowment Fund and Landon School.

Joshua Freeman tragically died in a helicopter accident in December 2006. His legacy is being carried on through the work of the Carl M. Freeman Foundation, and the nonprofit fundraising Joshua M. Freeman Foundation, created in his honor by his widow, Michelle Freeman.

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Leading a Legacy: Today's Freeman Family

Today, Carl M. Freeman’s daughter-in-law, Michelle Freeman, carries the torch of the Carl M. Freeman Foundation as the Chairman and CEO with her children — Nicholas, Benjamin, and Juliana — at her side. The Freeman family will continue a legacy of supporting programs of excellence, innovation, and high impact within the communities that they love. Carl Freeman practiced table-top giving — gathering his family around the dinner table to discuss and determine what organizations the foundation would support. That grassroots type of philanthropy will still be a significant part of how the Freeman family will determine its support of nonprofit organizations going forward.

Our Trustees

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Michelle DiFebo Freeman is the owner and CEO of the Carl M. Freeman Companies, a Real Estate company established in 1947, that specializes in land acquisition, land planning, development and redevelopment, and the management of award-winning, amenity-rich residential communities, neighborhood shopping centers and commercial properties. Freeman Companies also owns and operates three golf courses including, Bayside, an 18-hole, award-winning...

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Christine Shreve is President of Realty Investment Company, Inc., a family office serving four generations of an entrepreneurial family in the Washington, D.C. area. From 1992 through 2006 she was a principal of Shreve Bowersox, P.C. a Rockville, MD financial services firm which she co-founded to serve high wealth individuals and growing/emerging businesses. She received a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting from Virginia Tech in 1979, and is a...

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Nicholas Freeman is project manager at Carl M. Freeman Companies, a family owned real estate firm based in Rockville, MD. Most recently “Nick” has spearheaded the development of the Freeman Family farm, Tusculum Farm, into a bed and breakfast and a wedding/events venue.

Previously, Nick served as an acquisitions analyst at a publicly traded REIT in New York City. He received his Bachelors of...

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Our Team

  • Michelle D. Freeman
  • Chairman & President
  • Patti Grimes
  • Executive Director
  • Doug Phillips
  • Creative & Digital Media Manager
  • Bernadette Dowling
  • Controller
  • Jane Hines
  • Accountant
  • Erica Rubelman
  • Financial Analyst
  • Melissa Rizer
  • Grants Administrator

Our History

1960's

  • The Carl M. Freeman Foundation was established by Carl and Virginia Freeman.

  • Carl and Virginia Freeman become members of the Society of Patrons at the Hebrew Academy of Washington.

  • Carl M. Freeman served as President of the Board of Directors for Montgomery General Hospital.

  • Carl M. Freeman gives one of the leading gifts required to build The Kennedy Center in Washington, DC.

1970's

  • Carl M. Freeman headed the Montgomery County Red Cross membership drive for two consecutive years.
  • Carl M. Freeman is named Chair of the Rockville Arts Foundation.
  • Carl M. Freeman served as Chairman of the Trustees of the United Jewish Endowment Fund of the United Jewish Appeal of Greater Washington.
  • Carl M. Freeman and the Foundation are honored for support of the Corcoran Gallery of Art.

1980's

  • Carl M. Freeman leads effort to bring Placido Domingo to the Washington National Opera, a favorite charity of the Freeman Family.
  • Carl M. Freeman serves as the Membership Campaign Chairman for The Treatment Center.
  • The Kennedy Center names Carl M. Freeman a Distinguished Benefactor of the Performing Arts, recognizing a gift of $1 million.
  • Carl M. Freeman receives the Cultural Alliance of Greater Washington 1988 Founders Award for enriching the quality of life in the Washington Metro area through leadership and support of the cultural committee.
  • The first Sea Colony Make-A-Wish Triathlon was hosted in Bethany Beach, Delaware in 1983.

1990's

  • Through the I Have A Dream Foundation, Carl M. Freeman pledges to send a group of seventh graders to college upon their high school graduation.
  • The Foundation founders expand the Foundation Board to include family members. Joshua M. Freeman later becomes Chairman of the Board of Trustees.
  • The Foundation becomes the beneficiary of the Charitable Lead Annuity Trust whereby the Foundation receives funding from ground lease rentals at Sea Colony in Bethany Beach, Delaware.
  • The Foundation Board expands to include community leaders in addition to Freeman family members.

2000's

  • The FACES (Freeman Foundation Assists Communities with Extra Support) Grant program was launched in Sussex County, Delaware to support organizations often overlooked by larger funders.
  • Olney Boys and Girls Community Sports Association opens Freeman Fields as a result of Carl M. Freeman Foundation funding.
  • The Foundation joins a prominent group of Washington executives in the formation of Venture Philanthropy Partners with a $1 million commitment.
  • The Foundation achieves cumulative contributions to UJA since inception of over $2 million.
  • The Foundation holds the first annual Freeman Foundation Golf Tournament at Bear Trap Dunes Golf Club in Ocean View, Delaware.
  • The FACES Grant Program is expanded to Montgomery and Anne Arundel Counties, Maryland.
  • The Foundation begins hosting the annual Free Theatre at the Beach Festival at The Village at Bear Trap Dunes in Ocean View, Delaware.
  • The Foundation expands to include professional team members.
  • The Foundation awards a $100,000 Opportunity Grant to Hospice Caring to construct an additional wing onto The Cottage.
  • Michelle DiFebo Freeman becomes Chairman of the Board of Trustees following the tragic loss of Joshua M. Freeman in December of 2006.
  • The Foundation gives $2 million to the Landon School to help construct the Joshua M. Freeman Center for Athletic Achievement.
  • The Foundation expands its grant making efforts into Talbot and Worcester Counties in Maryland and the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia.
  • $250,000 awarded to the South Coastal Library to help construct its new building and create the Joshua M. Freeman Cultural Center.
  • The Foundation moves into its first independent office space.
  • The Foundation gives $260,000 Joshua M. Freeman Tribute Grant to PROJECT CHANGE in honor and memory of Josh Freeman.
  • The Foundation awards $250,000 to Beebe Medical Center for its new Sussex County campus and to construct the Joshua M. Freeman Center for Physical Therapy.
  • The Foundation becomes an angel investor for the Joshua M. Freeman Foundation, a fundraising nonprofit arts organization, which operates The Freeman Stage at Bayside. The Freeman Stage, located in Selbyville, Delaware, presents diverse programming in the genres of dance, live music, theatre and children’s programming. Typically, performances are offered Memorial Day through Labor Day.

2010's

  • The Foundation gives $250,000 to Headstrong Project to provide veterans bureaucracy-free PTSD treatment in the Washington D.C. area