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Anne Arundel Women Giving Together is deeply committed to understanding, and working to help ameliorate, racial inequities in our community.
  • Our Racial Equity Study Group (RESG), now in its third year and composed of 50+ members, meets monthly to discuss a range of social justice, diversity and racial equity issues.
  • In early 2021, the RESG supported our Grants Committee in establishing a new $20,000 grants category to address the causes, not just the effects, of racial discrimination. That award will be made in May.
  • A consultant on unconscious bias was engaged to work with grant reviewers and AAWGT leadership in January and a second program will be offered to our general membership in May.
  • A Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion committee is being created to conduct an audit of AAWGT’s policies and procedures with the goal of implementing an action plan to address these issues as AAWGT invests, informs, and inspires.
We will continue to update members and the general public on these and other initiatives on a regular basis.

AAWGT is a women’s giving circle with 200+ members. Our mission is to improve the quality of life for women and families in Anne Arundel County, Maryland.

Since our founding in 2006, AAWGT has raised and invested over $1.4 million in local nonprofit organizations!

What is a Giving Circle?

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Our Impact: Invest, Inform, Inspire

We INVEST— pooling our annual contributions for “collective philanthropy,” thus multiplying the power of one by many. Grants focus on health and welfare, education and the prevention and treatment for violence and abuse.

We INFORM — holding in-depth education sessions highlighting issues in our county that require active attention and support.

We INSPIRE — encouraging our members to engage as leaders and philanthropists in our local community.



On June 9, AAWGT presented an engrossing panel discussion moderated by member Ardath Cade, a long-time affordable housing champion. Speakers included executives of three key agencies that work together to improve affordable housing in Annapolis and the County. Each shared detailed information about their programs and the strategies their organizations are pursuing to address housing needs. Selected highlights follow. The full event recording is available here and additional resources can be found here.

Affordable Housing = Public Housing?

In her introduction, Cade made clear that public housing is only one piece of affordable housing. The latter is defined as housing that serves persons whose income is 60% or less of the median income in the region. This means that a person with a median income under $44,000, including the fully or partially employed, elderly, and disabled, may be eligible for affordable housing in the County.

Theresa Wellman, Chief of the Community Development Division for the City of Annapolis, underscored the fact that many people don’t understand the breadth of individuals who need affordable housing which often includes your children, your parents, and a large percentage of the nation’s workforce. A common misconception, she said, is that affordable housing doesn’t look like market-rate housing. In fact, she noted that the 25 affordable housing sites in the County (13 of which are in Annapolis), blend into their communities and come in many forms, including rehabbed homes and apartment complexes.

To ensure affordable rentals and ownership, the Community Development Division’s practices include rehabilitation of existing units, acquisition, new construction, lease/purchase arrangements, and payment in lieu of taxes. The Division also administers the federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) for Annapolis that provides help to low-income homeowners to make repairs to their homes.

Do Financial Incentives Work?

Kathy Koch, Executive Director of Arundel Community Development Services (ACDS) described how funding for affordable housing typically is made available through financing mechanisms such as tax credits or reduced debt costs for private and non-profit developers ,which enable lower-than-market-rate rents to persons with limited incomes.

ACDS runs programs focused on increasing/maintaining homeownership and rental housing, providing housing to individuals with special needs, fair housing, eviction protection, and ending homelessness. Additionally, ACDS, alongside its many partners, acts as a developer, funding administrator, and project manager for a variety of affordable housing and community development initiatives.

What about Attainable/Sustainable Housing?

Melissa Maddox-Evans, Executive Director/CEO of the Housing Authority of the City of Annapolis (HACA) noted that HACA serves approximately 1,100 families, with 700 receiving public housing in sites around the City and 400 receiving housing choice vouchers and tax credits. Rent increases or decreases depend on household income and the wait for housing is 1-3 years.

With a FY 2021 budget of $13.5 million, HACA is not able to meet 100% of need. Because housing authorities are not allowed to leverage their owned properties—only to manage them - there is now a $70 billion backlog in capital improvement needs for housing authority properties in the U.S. But, through the Rental Assistance Demonstration Project, HUD now allows authorities to partner with private investors that are dedicated to affordable housing.

Attendees were encouraged to learn more and get involved in efforts to expand affordable housing in Anne Arundel County.


Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

These events are free and open to the public. Registration and information about accessing these programs will be posted when available.


Has awarded $1,412,649 in grants since 2007: Read about our impact
Meets 8 times a year: View our events calendar
Has committees that need your help: See where you can get involved
Has an Endowment Fund: Learn how to donate to AAWGT
Sends out a bimonthly Newsletter: Read the latest issue


Grants In Action

 Read About All Our Grantees here.

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Anne Arundel Women Giving Together  |  giving@givingtogether.org

AAWGT is a fund of the Community Foundation of Anne Arundel County

AAWGT is a member of Philanos: Accelerating Philanthropy through Women’s Collective Giving

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