AAWGT: Making a difference in our community!
Seeds 4 Success used its AAWGT grant to expand its Academic and Career Exploration Club (ACEC). The program provided monthly programming focused on college researching, SAT prep, internship applications, life skills, financial management and budgeting, career testing, job interviews, résumé writing, stress management, and most exciting of all a college visit in New York City. Prior to the trip students learned about dressing appropriately for job interviews and went shopping for professional business attire for their mock interviews.
The New York City trip was used as an incentive for students to improve their academic performance, and this strategy was successful! Within just a couple of months of announcing the academic goals, 10 students improved their grades, meeting the academic criteria, and were eligible to go on the trip. The students visited New York University for its diverse programs, and The New School for its small classroom sizes, liberal arts and social justice programs. For many of the students, this was their first trip outside of Maryland. At the end of the trip some of the students could see themselves living and attending college in New York; others learned that they would prefer a smaller, quieter location.
It’s the best time of year - when AAWGT’s 200+ members vote, and we award our 2019 grants! Our Grants Chair, Martha Schwieters, has an article in this newsletter telling you all about them.
Many of you may not be familiar with the process so we thought it would be a good time to tell you about it.
The application process for AAWGT grants is only online. An email goes out about December 1 from the Community Foundation of Anne Arundel County to all county non-profits notifying them that the application is available and due at the end of January.
After submission, the applications are reviewed by member teams over several months. This year, we received 28 applications requesting a total of $442,350. Twenty-nine members were involved in the review process. They carefully reviewed each application and received answers from the organizations to many questions.
During the year, our members are informed about community issues from sources such as the County Needs Assessment - Poverty Amidst Plenty, our own education committee, the Community Foundation’s programs and other community leaders. We use this information to understand the county’s most pressing needs as well as best practices in solving the problems. This helps with evaluation of the applications.
As our grants fund can cover only about 20% of the dollars requested, we narrowed the selection down to 12 finalists that went on the ballot. These are very difficult decisions as every organization’s program is worthwhile and we would love to be able to fund each and every one. But these 12 are deemed to fit our mission the best, have a compelling program, and have the strongest chance of success.
Then our members vote for the programs that they want to see funded and we award as many as we can until the money runs out.
It doesn’t stop there. The Grants Committee immediately evaluates our procedures and puts together a course of action for process improvement for the next year. The Post Grants Committee monitors and assists with the grantees’ programs throughout the year.
Thanks go to our hard-working Grants Committee and to every committee that supports their efforts. All in all, we have over 65 members who are currently involved in working with AAWGT in some way. Many, many more have done work in the past to get us where we are today. The professionalism and dedication of these women is a testament to how much they care about our collective goal of improving the lives of women and families in Anne Arundel County.
All of the committees, including Grants, are happy for extra hands and welcome new and returning members. If you are interested in helping in any capacity, send an email to email@example.com.
With deep appreciation,
Sue Pitchford, President
Sheila Onuska, Vice-President and President-Elect
The 2019 Annual Grants Voting Meeting, held May 8 at the Annapolis Maritime Museum, has always attracted a sizeable group of engaged and inspired members, and this year was no exception. The tradition of gathering members to choose the next group of grantee organizations is an exciting demonstration of collective giving in action. As an increasing number of members take advantage of early online voting, we continue to see record voter turnout, and to celebrate the importance of each individual’s role in choosing how to disburse our combined contributions.
As volunteers helped calculate the final tally for 12 organizations, members also learned more about the ongoing research that guides AAWGT in identifying the most critical needs in the community. Guest speaker Mary Spencer, recently appointed President and CEO of the Community Foundation of Anne Arundel County, provided an overview of the foundation and its bi-annual publication of “Poverty Amidst Plenty” which surveys major social needs among area families. She pointed out that philanthropy can do much to help low-income women and their families overcome inequalities in health care, education and opportunity-disadvantages that can trap them in poverty.
The total amount of grants to be awarded though the Community Foundation of Anne Arundel County is $112,778. The Grantees included the second year for our two-year Momentum Grant to STAIR-Annapolis for $20,000 following their demonstration of successful progress toward program/project objectives, plus six additional grantees whose efforts are described below.
Momentum Grant—Two-year grant for $20,000 each year
STAIR–Annapolis: Start The Adventure In Reading - $20,000/$20,000
Providing cost-free tutoring for second graders in low-income areas so that 75% of them are reading at or above grade level by school-year’s end. A summer Reader’s Theater program for 6-to-12-year-old children that is designed to maintain skills operates at two community centers. In 2019, STAIR plans to increase the number served from 78 children to 90 to 100 at 12 sites. This is the second year of this grant.
Creating Communities: Youth Programs - $20,000
Offering arts experiences for 850 low-income children after school and in the summer and supporting teachers to add more art approaches for their students. Four programs will be partially funded — (1) Arts Mentorship Academy; (2) Arts Ambassadors for students from Georgetown East Elementary School; (3) Tuesday Afternoon Learning Experience (TALE) and Wednesday After-School Arts Club; and (4) In-School Residencies to allow artists to collaborate with teachers in public schools county-wide.
Providing emergency shelter, transitional housing and education for 18-26 adults as they rebuild their lives with compassion as they move toward employment and self-sufficiency. Assistance is focused on effective parenting, financial literacy, employment readiness and counseling is also offered as necessary.
Organization of Hispanic/Latin Americans of Anne Arundel County (no website): Bridge the Gap - $5,000
Partially funding an Office Manager position to supervise volunteers. This office provides pro-bono services to help Hispanic immigrants as they apply for various programs (such as food stamps and medical care) and with various legal issues (such as landlord-tenant issues). Translation services are also offered.
Providing free home repairs for single low-income elderly women so that they can remain safely in their homes and communities. Our last $20,00 grant to Rebuilding Together made it possible to complete $143,000 worth of repairs.
Offering social and legal services for immigrant Anne Arundel County survivors who have fled or been a victim of domestic violence. The Center is headquartered in Baltimore; transportation may also be provided when necessary.
Delivering 42 weeks of discussion-based educational programming for 200 women incarcerated in the Maryland Correctional Institute for Women in Anne Arundel County. Program develops life and work skills and promotes healthy decision-making and parenting that reduce recidivism.
Upcoming events our members are engaged in. We invite others to join AAWGT to participate with us.