Full Circle Blog

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  • 05/12/2022 7:19 PM | Maryann Gosnell (Administrator)

    $1.5 million is a really big number! That's how much in grants AAWGT has given to local nonprofits as of last night's meeting, where this 2022's recipients were announced. $1.5 million represents 121 grants to 47 nonprofits. This year, our grants fund totaled $159,265. Our members were thoughtful in their voting and had 16 well-vetted nonprofits from which to choose.

    Our members voted for proposals in three focus areas: children, food insecurity, and education/support for women and/or families. In the end, 11 nonprofits will receive grants from AAWGT. They include:

    • Asbury Church Assistance Network, $4,998, for mobile food pantry expansion
    • Assistance League of the Chesapeake, $4,998, for school uniforms for students at Tyler Heights Elementary School
    • Center of Help, $15,080, for programs assisting bilingual families
    • Charting Careers, $20,000, for their mentoring, college and career readiness and family partnership program
    • Co-op Arundel, $20,000, for the My Sistah's Keeper program, which is designed to give women the tools and skills to identify and reach their goals
    • Community Alliance of South County, $6,125, for summer overnight camp scholarships for ten low-income children, plus follow-up
    • Marshall Hope Corporation, $20,000, to purchase diapers, formula and feminine pads for the food pantry, plus supplies for the Marshall Hope Learning Center
    • Providence Center, $8,064, for consent, healthy relationship and abuse prevention training for women with intellectual and developmental disabilities
    • STAIR-Annapolis, $20,000 for the Start the Adventure in Reading program, including purchase of books, lesson plans and take-home books for students
    • Tahirih Justice Center, $20,000, to provide trauma-informed legal and social services support to immigrant survivors of gender-based violence
    • We Care and Friends, $20,000, for the women-empowerment program that trains and counsels women to become self-reliant entrepreneurs and business leaders

    I can't thank our Grants Committee enough for all their hard work, plus the support help from our Grants Systems and Web/IT experts. And a hearty congratulations to all of our new grantees.

  • 04/26/2022 11:30 AM | Maryann Gosnell (Administrator)

    April is National Volunteer Month, which applies especially to AAWGT. We are an all-volunteer organization, so this month is meaningful as it acknowledges the hard work of all our members.

    Our impact will be evident early next month when we ask our members to vote on which nonprofits will received grants from us this this year. Our Grants Committee has done an awe-inspiring amount of work reviewing grant applications and putting together the ballot. Our members' vote will put into action important work that will have life-changing impacts on people in our community.

    We could not function without our volunteers. It's that simple. Our leadership deeply appreciates our members and all the work they do toward our mission of improving the quality of life for women and families in Anne Arundel County.

  • 04/18/2022 12:17 PM | Maryann Gosnell (Administrator)

    The intersection of the environment and social issues was evident at our annual Women in Leadership event held last month. Led by our amazing Leadership Development and Nominating Committee, the event featured these women leaders in climate action: Carmera Thomas-Wilhite, director, Urban Conservation Initiative; Lynn Heller, founder and CEO, Climate Access Fund; and our moderator, Kate Fritz, an AAWGT member who is the CEO of the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay.

    The impacts of climate change are becoming a regular occurrence in our county. Increased flooding, destructive storms and rising temperatures have a long-term impact on our most vulnerable citizens. Our panelists are experts in the local and regional environmental issues affecting the health and welfare of women and children in our community.

    Kate opened the discussion with an explanation of the ecology of our county and the negative impact of climate change, including harmful pollutants in our creeks, rivers and the Chesapeake Bay, plus the destruction of tree canopy.

    One goal of the presentation was to give participants some tools to move forward. She encouraged us to stay curious and to share what was learned at the event. In fact, the event operated under “Anti-Vegas rules.” Kate explained that, “Unlike Vegas, we don’t what whatever happens here this evening to stay here. I encourage you to take what you learn and share your thoughts with others–that’s how great change will continue to spread.”

    A summary of the event can be found here.

  • 03/26/2022 11:05 AM | Maryann Gosnell (Administrator)

    Our Racial Equity Study Group had the distinct honor of viewing a video created by the Seeking Insights for Solutions (SIS) group. SIS is an interest group within the University Women of Flagler, which was established to promote equity for women and girls, lifelong education and positive societal change. They are located in Flagler Beach, Florida.

    SIS was formed to study and understand the issue of race and equality in the United States. They held cross-racial interviews to better understand how our differing “races” have impacted and continue to impact our lives. The video we watched was created from these interviews. They used a clever technique where four SIS members serve as “actors” to verbalize what was reported in the cross-racial conversations.

    After our RESG members viewed the video, we went into Zoom breakout rooms each led by two SIS members and one AAWGT member. Then, after those discussions, we regrouped as a whole and shared what each learned.

    The SIS members were generous in giving their time to us, and RESG members were eager to hear the SIS members' experiences and to learn from them. We are indebted to this amazing group of women and we plan to keep the conversation going.

  • 03/16/2022 4:28 PM | Maryann Gosnell (Administrator)

    The new year for AAWGT means it’s proposal evaluation season. Throughout the late winter and early spring, over 50 of our members are involved in the process of reviewing all the applications for grants that we receive. It’s an exciting job, and one of our most important.

    Seasoned reviewers and new committee members are put into teams to look over each application to determine which will end up on our ballot. All members vote in May to determine which applicants will get grants.

    Our process this year is new in that applications are being scored to determine how closely they align with our mission and our diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) emphasis. While we invited applications from a wide variety of organizations, we were particularly interested in receiving ones from proposals that prioritized DEI when addressing the underlying causes of hardship, such as childhood hunger, higher mortality rates, educational disparities, homelessness and mental health. We are also prioritizing proposals from organizations with annual gross receipts under $100,000.

    The instructions sent to each reviewer might seem daunting. But we want to hear all voices, and be as fair as possible when assessing each application. Thus, there are many meetings and long discussions where we question and learn.

    This process is collective giving at its finest! Each member’s dues payment goes into a pool allowing us to award grants ranging from $5,000 to $20,000. Thus, each member’s dues are multiplied many times over to make a significant impact in the nonprofit’s work.

  • 02/24/2022 3:17 PM | Maryann Gosnell (Administrator)

    At February 9’s education session, “The Geography and Color of Anne Arundel County Poverty,” this question was posted to the Q&A: What is AAWGT Doing About All of This?

    That question really caught my attention. And so, what are we doing?

    First off, we give grants to 7 or 8 local nonprofits each year. In total, over 15 years, we have awarded over $1.4 million in grants. If you look at who has gotten grants over the years, you will see the depth and variety of societal issues addressed. Grantees’ programs have included elementary-school reading tutoring, homeless shelters, immigration, housing and homelessness, post-incarceration, foster care, technology accessibility, job training, academic and career training, empowerment for teenage girls, after-school arts, crisis intervention, and health screening, to name just a few. A complete list of our grantees can be found here.  

    A second important part of AAWGT’s mission is our education sessions. We hold three sessions each year on topics that are relevant to our community. Over the years, we’ve held sessions about issues facing women veterans, food security, transportation in our county, early childhood, health inequity, gaps in education, affordable housing, maternal and infant mortality. Our ultimate goal of these sessions is to explain an issue and present an action plan for our attendees to address the issue.

    The homepage of our website shows how we Invest, Inform and Inspire. Those three words guide us when we answer the question, “What are we doing about all of this?”

  • 02/11/2022 4:25 PM | Maryann Gosnell (Administrator)

    “We want to chip away at the issues and work together to make our children’s lives better,” said Dr. Pamela Brown at the AAWGT education session, “The Geography and Color of Anne Arundel County Poverty.”

    Our first education session of the year drew over 200 participants. Dr. Brown’s presentation included, among many topics, social determinants of health, food deserts, the opportunity gap, kindergarten readiness, homelessness, youth unemployment and Covid racial and ethnic disparities. 

    Dr. Brown, who is an AAWGT member, has an amazing resume. She is the executive director of the Anne Arundel County Partnership for Children, Youth and Families. Her dissertation focused on the importance of community partnerships in diverse neighborhoods to improve outcomes for children and families. She is the principal author of the publication “Poverty Amidst Plenty,” which is put out by the Community Foundation of Anne Arundel County. Dr. Brown and her co-writers interview hundreds of people and gather data from around the county from hundreds of sources. The latest issue of the publication will be coming out soon. Read more here.

    The education session had the right mix of charts and text, which along with Dr. Brown’s narrative, gave us a clear picture of the issues affecting our citizens. This picture will help us work toward solutions that help diverse populations in our community.

    We appreciate Dr. Brown’s generosity in sharing her knowledge of this issue with our members and with the community.

  • 02/02/2022 3:26 PM | Maryann Gosnell (Administrator)

    By Caroline Purdy, Book Group Chair

    Our AAWGT Book Group reads non-fiction books related to national social issues, such as devastating effects of lack of mental health programs or higher imprisonment rates of Black vs. white men, and local social issues such as homelessness and opioid addiction. Books are recommended annually and picked by Book Group members via ranked voting, and then are posted and scheduled at the beginning of the year. Several of our meetings have included the authors via Zoom or in person. During the summer, we also meet up to watch a documentary film or two for relaxation and engaging conversation.

    This month the book “Susan, Linda, Nina, and Cokie: The Extraordinary Story of the Founding Mothers of NPR” by Lisa Napoli was discussed via Zoom by Book Group members who decided to choose a book this month that was “uplifting” and provided a success story about the barriers women encounter in gaining recognition for their professional work.

    Most of our members noted that their professional lives intersected with the same time period as the “NPR Mothers” and experienced similar barriers in their own personal professions. As Susan Christensen stated “During my corporate professional career, my opinions were often  undervalued, until a male colleague suggested the same idea!

    Some of our members experienced direct association with Cokie Roberts’ family, descendants of Hale Boggs who was a Congressional Representative from Louisiana from 1946 to 1972 and very influential in national politics. Melanie Teems was invited by Cokie’s brother, Tommy Boggs, to an event at their Eastern Shore home. As Melanie says “They were always warm and welcoming, and showed genuine concern for each of their guests — a real hallmark of the Boggs family.” But much of the discussion revolved around Nina Tottenberg’s forthright style as a very outspoken and successful journalist even today.

    Our next book, “Five Days: The Fiery Reckoning of an American City” by Wes Moore, describes Baltimore’s turmoil after the death of Freddy Gray, and its more global societal implications. The book will be discussed on March 1 via Zoom at 7 PM.  All AAWGT members are welcome and encouraged to register here. A list of some of our past favorite reads is also posted online here.

  • 01/27/2022 3:49 PM | Maryann Gosnell (Administrator)

    Our latest issue of "Full Circle News" has lots of information about our work. This issue's Grantee Spotlight is about the Annapolis Immigration Justice Network. There is also information on our Racial Equity Study Group, an explanation of our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee, and my very first "Leadership Letter." We've also included information about the "Call for 2022 Grant Applications" which has our focus statement for this year. I hope you will take a few minutes to read the newsletter here.

  • 01/22/2022 3:06 PM | Maryann Gosnell (Administrator)

    I attended two interesting AAWGT committee meetings last week. First up was the Membership Committee, held via Zoom. They are hard at work spreading the word about our giving circle and also encouraging current members to renew. They are also planning our annual Open House to be held on April 13 at Historic London Town in Edgewater. Registration will open in mid-March. This event is a great time to learn about all of our work and how you can get involved.

    Then on Thursday I attended a Leadership Development and Nominating Committee meeting (also via Zoom). This committee is planning our annual Women in Leadership event, to be held on March 16. The title is Women Leaders in Climate Action: Making a Positive Difference for Anne Arundel County Women and Children. It will feature four incredible women leaders (including our own Kate Fritz), who will talk about how the impacts of climate change have a long-term impact on our most vulnerable citizens. Registration for that event will open in mid-February.

    These committees and their members are really contributing to the success of AAWGT. Thank you!

    Maryann Gosnell

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