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AAWGT: Over 10 years of making a difference in our community!

2018 founders’ Awards

At the fall membership meeting, AAWGT members Caroline Purdy and Karen Smith were presented with the Founders’ Award for their outstanding service to the organization. The award acknowledges exemplary participation in the organization, length of service, specific initiatives and achievements and their impact, history of raising awareness and broadening the image of AAWGT, and ability to inspire members to work for the collective good.

Caroline Purdy

Caroline Purdy exemplifies the “Giving” in Anne Arundel Women Giving Together. Since she joined in 2010, Caroline has freely given her time and talents to AAWGT. She started as a grant reviewer, graduated to team leader, assistant chair, and then chair of the Grants Committee in 2016. She continues to be active on the Grants Committee, serving as a team leader. She also served for two years as a liaison on Post Grants, and currently is assistant chair of the Leadership Development and Nominating Committee. She will chair that committee next year. In addition, she has participated in the Book Club since 2013, as well as sandwich making for the Lighthouse Shelter.

Few members have made as much impact as Caroline on grantmaking. While she was a team leader, AAWGT converted its database to Foundant, an online grantmaking tool. Caroline spearheaded the transition from manual to online and dramatically increased the efficiency of the process. Caroline continues to be involved with the continual improvement of both the process and tool customization. Caroline was intimately involved with the subcommittee that recommended our new Momentum Grant, which was awarded for the first time in 2018. She coordinated the process to help determine the requirements and details of the new initiative. She thinks through the many facets of each change and is always coming up with new ideas on how to improve the grantmaking process.

Caroline’s enthusiasm for AAWGT and grantmaking is contagious. She works tirelessly to recruit grant application reviewers and team leaders, working with each to adjust the application updates, expectations of the teams, and detail of reviewer input, always keeping the highest level of integrity in the review discussions and decisions.

Caroline has presented multiple times in the January applicant training session. She worked throughout the year on editing and improving the application and the training presentations to clarify the basics and the updates to both educate applicants to submit better applications and to improve the thoroughness and quality of member reviews.

Karen Smith

Karen joined AAWGT in 2011 and, since that time, has been an indefatigable force in moving the organization forward in many areas. Initially active on both the Education and Grants committees, she also served on an ad hoc committee to explore the creation/implementation of AAWGT’s Endowment Fund, which has grown steadily over the years and is an important source of additional dollars for the annual Grants Fund. She was also instrumental in developing the Lifetime Membership Fund, which launched in 2015 and has served as a second important vehicle for ensuring AAWGT’s sustainability. Both of these initiatives required creativity and persistence and she has both in spades.

In 2014 she became president of the organization and brought her positive and professional approach to reviewing and improving functioning of all committees and systems. She made a special effort to reach out to new members and to mentor and encourage them to engage in AAWGT's work, thereby broadening the ideas and perspectives coming in.

In 2016, she was asked to chair the 10th Anniversary Committee, charged with creating celebratory materials and events marking our tenth year. She pulled together a group of longtime and new members to produce, among other things, an especially successful leadership event at St. John’s College in March of that year, and a retrospective of AAWGT’s history and impact that was presented at the September Grants Showcase.

Karen served on the Governance Committee in 2017 as it worked on conflict of interest issues and committee charters. This year she has been an active member of the Membership and Outreach Committee and LDN. She has been recruited as assistant chair of LDN for 2018.

To work with Karen is to join in her delight in the possibilities of this organization and in attracting talented and passionate women to join us; to be exposed to a fountain of new ideas offered in a thoughtful way but cheerfully withdrawn if other ideas prevail; to learn how to embrace process but not let it derail effective and timely decision-making. We could not have a better ambassador for AAWGT and our mission than Karen.

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