2016 Grants Showcase aND OPEN HOUSE
Focusing on Impact
On September 21, about 100 members and friends of AAWGT gathered at Saints Constantine & Helen Greek Orthodox Church for the annual Fall Open House and Grants Showcase. Guests and members introduced themselves with the gusto of old friends reuniting immediately upon entering the building.
To open the program, Linda Eggbeer and Karen Smith presented a slide show to celebrate all that AAWGT has accomplished in the past 10 years. Founded in 2006 by a group of visionary women, AAWGT’s mission has been to pool financial resources to engage in collective philanthropy to improve the lives of women and families in Anne Arundel County. Reflecting back on our first decade, there has been significant growth in both membership and grants, significant investments have been made in the community, our county has been educated and is better informed, and philanthropy has been inspired. You can view the slides and talking points presented at the meeting that capture the impact AAWGT has had on the community in its first decade.
AAWGT believes the most effective way to impact our community is targeting specific areas: education, homelessness, domestic abuse, food insecurity, and mental health. The robust process AAWGT applies to award grants asks community organizations to consider our mission and to address our goals in their application. Recipients of AAWGT grants are using these awards to fund specific programs, as well as to leverage larger grants. An AAWGT grant award is a testament to the impact many of our local nonprofits have on our community. AAWGT empowers its members to be engaged in our community, commit to excellence, embrace new opportunities, strengthen our voices, and have FUN while doing it!
Before the start of the program AAWGT’s 2015 and 2016 grant awardees displayed information about their programs. During the program 2016’s new grantees were introduced and then each of the 2015 grantees offered highlights of the impact their organization has had on our community as a result of receiving AAWGT’s grant.
Green Summer Works partners with eight high schools and twelve employers to teach participating students job and leadership skills. Watch these videos to learn more about the program and what the kids say they’ve learned.
Youth Suicide Action Team started eight years ago. At that time, our county was reticent to talk about youth suicide. Now, schools, families, businesses, churches, and youth groups are asking team leaders to talk and provide insight throughout the county.
Food Bank’s Backpack Buddy program more than doubled the number of children served from 2014 to 2015. Through the Backpack Buddy program, schools are able to provide healthier snacks and fresh produce for their students.
Anne Arundel County Public Library’s Discovery Dock is a Family Literacy Play and Read space designed to provide a welcoming, engaging area where families can learn to build literacy skills.
Center of Help / Centro de Ayuda’s Leadership in Learning graduated 15 students in the program last spring. These students now have the skills needed to continue expanding their English and reading proficiency both in school and with other community resources. The center also provides monthly English language classes for parents, encouraging better family communications and assimilation into the community.
Food Link’s Emergency Baby Pantry provides diapers and formula, neither of which is covered by WIC. Babies who aren’t properly diapered have impact even beyond the infant. Mothers feel like failures when they are unable to provide such basic needs for their infants, babies are miserable from being in dirty diapers, posing real health risks to the babies and stress to all members of the family.
HOPE For All received referrals from 20 county agencies last year for their Turning Houses Into Homes program. 290 families received supplies, including beds and linens, furniture and other household supplies to support a new start in a home.
Rebuilding Together successfully leveraged the $15,000 grant to renovate 7 homes, which included replacing three roofs with an actual value of $145,000. All of the renovation work is done by crews of volunteers and professionals donating their time and skill, wielding paint brushes and mops.
Lighthouse Shelter Family Assistance Program has resulted in reducing the average stay at the shelter from ten to six months. Their goal is to move client families toward independent living in as short a time as can be accomplished. This is a prevention imperative, as current statistics show that 80% of kids who are homeless under the age of ten will be homeless as adults.
Submitted by Barb Cooke, New Member 2016