Annual Women and Leadership Forum—The Cost of Silence: Census 2020
March 4, 2020
“Women’s voice is vital in achieving a fully functioning society,” stated Karen Smith, chair of the AAWGT Leadership Development and Nominating Committee, in introducing AAWGT’s annual Women and Leadership Forum. She emphasized that we as women leaders need to use our voices in Census 2020 because the cost of silence is high. To drive home her point, she told attendees that during the last decade, Anne Arundel County did not receive more than $43 million in federal dollars it could have received….simply because one in five residents did not respond to Census 2010. For our community to receive the resources it needs, everyone must be counted in Census 2020.
Karen further explained that AAWGT’s annual Women and Leadership Forum is scheduled each year to coincide with International Women’s Day and designed to inspire and empower each of us as women leaders. This is especially pertinent this year as we celebrate the 100th anniversary of the 19th amendment giving women the right to vote in the United States.
AAWGT Grants $139,381 to Local Nonprofits
May 13, 2020
The Grant Applications that will be funded by our 2020 Annual Grant Fund were decided by the AAWGT Membership on May 13. This year, because of the Coronavirus Pandemic social restrictions, all voting was online only. Though an unfamiliar process for some of our members, over one-half voted, more than ever before.
This was a year of big accomplishments for AAWGT and the Grant Fund. A record amount of money was raised for grant distribution, thanks to our generous members and the special Grant Fund Challenge. We also had 48 grant applications which was more than ever before, partly because of how widely the Call for Applications was distributed. And, it goes without saying, the amount of time every member of the Grants Committee put in to review and evaluate all the submitted grant applications was extensive. All this hard work culminated in 17 applications approved for the ballot.
New this year is the Fundamental Needs Grant. This grant has a maximum of $10,000, and the organization making the grant proposal must be headquartered in Anne Arundel County and have revenue of no more than $100,000. The program/project being proposed must address the areas of food insecurity, parenting support and/or the needs of children from birth to five years. This being the first year for this grant, the Grants Committee was pleased with the quality of grants that made the ballot.
The Community Foundation of Anne Arundel County will be distributing the $139,381 Grant Fund to eight Regular Grants plus the Fundamental Needs Grant. Each is described below. This year, because of the pandemic crisis, the decision was made to allocate all the Grant Fund dollars rather than returning the remainder after full grant amounts were awarded to the 2021 Grants Fund. Therefore, Center of Help, the first choice of the voters that could not be funded in full, will receive the remaining $3,073.
FUNDAMENTAL NEEDS GRANT
Newtowne Community Development Corporation — From Surviving to Thriving: $10,000
Provides case management and mentoring services to at least 10 single mothers in Woodside Gardens Apartments, a low-income housing complex in Annapolis helping them change behaviors so they can become effective persons and parents and move away from poverty. www.newtownecdc.weebly.com
Annapolis Immigration Justice Network — Legal Fund/Family Preservation Project: $20,000
Provides legal services, guidance, accompaniment, translation services and referrals to non-legal assistance to immigrants as they navigate the complex immigration process. www.aijnetwork.org
Anne Arundel County (AAC) Food Bank, Inc. — Baby Pantries: $10,000
Improve and expand AAC Food Bank baby pantries which provide baby food, formula, diapers, wipes and other essential items to low-income parents/guardians in Anne Arundel County. www.aafoodbank.org
Chrysalis House, Inc. — Training for Child Development Staff: $6,330
Gives the children in their care the best possible start in life, through a structured, nurturing environment, which will help break the generational cycle of addiction, crime and poverty. www.chrysalishouses.org
HOPE For All, Inc. — Turning Houses into Homes: $19,978
Provides basic goods to AAC women and families in need so they can establish healthy homes and lives after homelessness and crises. www.hopeforall.us
The Light House, Inc. — Family Assistance Program: $20,000
Supports a comprehensive program for homeless families, families at risk of homelessness and homeless individuals working to reconnect with their children to promote long-term self-sufficiency. www.annapolislighthouse.org
Seeds 4 Success — Student Health and Wellness Initiative: $20,000
Increase S4S students’ use of their health insurance and access to primary care providers as a preventative measure and move them away from using only the ER. www.s4sannapolis.org
Services from the Heart — Backpack Buddies Program/Food Backpacks: $10,000
Provides weekly food backpacks to 100 economically disadvantaged children in the FARM (Free and Reduced Meals) programs in Anne Arundel County at three Title I schools. www.communityservicesfromtheheart.com
Touchstones Discussion Project — Expanding Women’s Life and Leadership Skills for Post-Incarceration Success: $20,000
Delivers 42 weeks of discussion-based educational programming for 200 women at the Maryland Correctional Institution for Women (MCI-W) in Anne Arundel County. Develops improved life and work skills, promotes healthy decision-making and parenting skills and reduces recidivism. www.touchstones.org
Education Meeting: Craving a Solution to Hunger—A Path to Food Security by 2030
June 12, 2019
AAWGT’s second educational program in June drew one of the largest audiences ever, with 130 members and guests registered. In this land of plenty attendees were given a chilling overview of the number of people in the US who are not sure when and how they will get their next meal.
While causes vary, food insecurity universally creates a vicious long-term cycle of decline among affected populations. Inadequate nutrition from conception to 24 months negatively affects a child’s ability to succeed throughout life. This pattern continues through youth and adulthood, as an ongoing diet of non-nutritious, calorie-dense foods causes obesity and associated chronic diseases, ultimately leading to increased healthcare costs and decreasing the financial resources needed to purchase nutritious food.
In looking towards solutions, it was heartening to learn of recently formed county/school partnerships to combat food insecurity locally, as presented by Ann Heiser Buzzelli, RD, LDN, Community Education, Anne Arundel County Department of Health and Jodi Risse, RD., Supervisor, Food & Nutrition Services, Anne Arundel County Public Schools. After surveying the Brooklyn Park Community, Ann & Jodi encouraged a local farmer and other partners to set up the Brooklyn Park Farmers Market featuring foods with a rainbow of colors, enticing attendees to taste new foods. Jodi also applies the rainbow of colors approach to nutritious eating in school cafeterias, where students may serve themselves an unlimited number of fruits and vegetables.
The final speaker of the program was Michael Wierzbicki, a North County teacher who has pioneered a STEM education program for underserved students to combat food insecurity. Mike provides hands-on classes in growing nutritious food in urban gardens, farming tilapia, and tending honey-producing bee hives. Through these activities he teaches lessons in environmental science, nutrition, and general science, as well as principles of business. His students have started packaging their foods under the Cohort Brand, and several samples were displayed. At the completion of the program, Mike and his student assistants shared product tastings with the audience.
Education Meeting: Transportation—A route to Education, Jobs, Health Care and Food
October 3, 2019
Transportation: A Route to Education, Jobs, Health Care, and Food, AAWGT’s third educational program in October, focused on an issue that is seemingly intractable in our large, spread-out county of Anne Arundel.
Dr. Celeste Chavis, Associate Professor in Transportation and Urban Infrastructure Studies at Morgan State University, used maps to illustrate the inherent inequity in current public transportation systems in Baltimore City. One example is the long commute to school facing many lower income children who must use public transportation. Dr. Chavis also defined several types of equity that can impact public planning, including procedural equity, which asks whether residents who have been historically excluded from planning are authentically included when a proposed policy change or new project is considered.
The final speaker of the program was Steuart Pittman, County Executive for Anne Arundel County. Pittman recognized his Transportation Officer, Ramond Robinson, who has worked tirelessly to make incremental changes that make a real difference, as highlighted by Pam Brown's presentation. Pittman thanked Anne Arundel Women Giving Together for convening the discussion, and thanked the group for its commitment to the issues of lower-income residents of Anne Arundel County.
2019 Grants Showcase
September 11, 2019
The annual Grants Showcase highlights the impact of AAWGT’s philanthropy as grantees inform and inspire community members with stories illustrating how our grant funds are making a difference in Anne Arundel County. On Wednesday, September 11, 2019, 77 AAWGT members and 69 guests gathered at the Blue Heron Room in Quiet Waters Park to hear how six non-profits utilized the funds provided them during the 2018 grant year. President Sue Pitchford opened the evening while Assistant Membership Chair Margo Cook thanked corporate sponsors One North Wealth Services and Holden & Campbell, Attorneys at Law for their support in underwriting some of AAWGT’s operating costs. Opening remarks also were made by Ann Francis, Development Director for the Community Foundation of Anne Arundel County (CFAAC), the umbrella organization under which AAWGT operates.
Also introduced during the program were the seven grantee organizations chosen to receive a total of $112,778 in grants for the 2019 grant year, beginning July 1. They are: Creating Communities, Light House, Inc., Organization of Hispanic/Latin Americans of Anne Arundel County, Inc., Rebuilding Together Anne Arundel County, Inc., STAIR-Annapolis, Inc., Tahirih Justice Center, and Touchstones Discussion Project. Attendees were able to visit the organization’s information tables to learn more about their mission and programs, and it will be exciting to hear their stories next year.
Sue Pitchford closed the evening by announcing an exciting initiative to raise $20,000 in donations to AAWGT’s grant fund by the end of 2019 to fund an extra grant in 2020. Details on how to donate to this fund can be found on this site.