The vision for AAWGT began with Sharon Stewart in 2005 when she moved to Annapolis and contacted the Community Foundation of Anne Arundel County (CFAAC) about starting a giving circle. Fifteen women came together in September 2005 and held monthly meetings to determine governing structure, focus for grants, annual contribution amount and other infrastructure issues. Along with assistance from CFAAC and its board, Jessica Bearman of the Forum of Regional Association of Grantmakers also provided her expertise. AAWGT held its first public meeting in March 2006 and elected an interim slate of officers. Activities throughout the remainder of 2006 included:
An educational program series, focusing on conditions for women and children living in poverty in AAC.
Our first annual meeting, featuring speaker Buffy Beaudoin-Schwartz of The Association of Baltimore Area Grantmakers.
Creation of the website and marketing materials.
Development of the grants criteria and review/selection process.
First drafts of the organizational by-laws and policies & procedures.
Establishment of committees, including Marketing, Education and Program, Grants and Membership.
A member outreach event.
A program featuring the current co-chairs of the Baltimore Women’s Giving Circle.
AAWGT ended 2006 with 71 members, an expanded structure and a grant fund that provided $39,881 in grants to 4 nonprofits supporting women and families in July 2007.
Major accomplishments over the next four years included:
Establishing 7 committees and a Steering Committee to govern the group.
Providing numerous volunteer opportunities, such as making monthly lunches for the Light House.
Adding an Associate Member category for women aged 35 & under.
Establishing a Founder’s Award to honor exemplary member service.
Adapting all communications online, including grants review process, newsletter and member announcements.
Conducting 23 educational venues that included site visits, annual service days and a book group.
Celebrating Many Milestones:
AAWGT celebrated its 5th anniversary in April 2011, when the group announced the establishment of an endowment fund, to ensure that AAWGT will operate and continue to award grants into perpetuity. In July 2013, AAWGT reached the $500,000 mark in total grants awarded during its first seven years.
AAWGT celebrated its 10th anniversary by hosting a signature Women & Leadership Forum in March, 2016, with over 200 attendees at St. John's College. Many other special opportunities for members were offered.
As of May 27, 2018, AAWGT has awarded over $1,000,000 in grants to date. As of October, 2017, our Endowment Fund and Lifetime Member Endowed Fund balances now exceed $190,000.
Abbie von Schlegell
AAWGT Founders at 5 Year Celebration Open House at Annapolis Maritime Museum, April 13, 2011
From left: Becki Kurdle, Barbara Hoffstein, Anna Greenberg, Pat Barland, Shauna Chabot, Kathy Brooks, Sharon Stewart (foreground), Debbie Daugherty, Helene Tenner and Susan Swayze
AAWGT Founding Members
(made their first annual membership contributions by June 30, 2006)
Colleen Baldwin, Joy N. Beer, Bronwyn Belling, Helaine Betnun, Linnell R. Bowen, Patricia Barland Brasse, Kathleen Perry Brooks, Susan Cartney, Shauna A. S. Chabot, Virginia P. Clagett, Prudence I. Clendenning, Tara Balfe Clifford, Robin C. Cohen, Carol A. Cronin, Debbie Daugherty, Lynne Davidson, Karen L. Davis, Diane R. Evans, Dorothy K. Fitzgerald, Therese M. Gardner, Anna E. Greenberg, Barbara Hoffstein, Barbara M. Holch, Caroline Von Kessler Hughes, Betsy A. Kimrey, Anne P. “Patti” Konrad, Florence Beck Kurdle, Gloria Martin-Pressman, Carol Ann McClees, Lynn McReynolds, Jane M. Morrell, Elizabeth Ann Nicholson, Beverly J. Reed, Peggy K. Rightnour, Lynda B. Salamon, Laurie E. Salladin, Raleigh Schein, Sharon L. Stewart, Trish Strott, Susan A. Swayze, Helene S. Tenner, Abbie J. von Schlegell