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Full Circle News


February 2024

Message from Leadership

Celebrate with us! It’s February!

“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together. When we unite, we change the world.” – African Proverb

Let’s rejoice with heart. Let’s get our red on! Let’s celebrate Black History and the African Diaspora (thank you Carter Woodson and Mary Church Terrell!).

Philanthropy is LOVE. Love of person-kind. AAWGT extends our love to ALL women and families in the County, and we welcome ALL women to join us – as members, as grant makers, as community members.

During Black History Month, let’s mark and celebrate our fellow African-American residents and leaders – especially women. Anne Arundel County (AAC) is a great place to live, and AAWGT is impactful as a collective giving circle, as a result of contributions from its African-American women. Let’s celebrate that all year long – not just in February! So, in this month of Rosa Parks’ birth, Abraham Lincoln’s birth, and Annapolis-Highland Beach resident Frederick Douglass’ birth (on Valentine’s Day!), we shine the light on African-American history – especially events impacting AAC women and families.

Don’t forget to check out the list of events below, mark your calendars, and join us!

In service,

Margaret Davis, President
Michelle Hellstern, Vice President

Grantee Spotlight:

Maryland Latinos Unidos

Maryland Latinos Unidos (MLU) brings together organizations, businesses, and individuals who are dedicated to supporting our Latino and immigrant communities. The organization’s overarching goal is to tackle disparities and inequities through teamwork and practical solutions.

MLU is using AAWGT’s grant to spread the word and educate our Latino community about registering for Maryland’s Healthy Babies Equity Act. Effective last July, this law is intended to address rising rates of maternal complications by providing pre- and post-partum health care to any woman needing assistance, irrespective of their immigration status. To help spread the word, MLU provided technical assistance in translating the Maryland Department of Health documents for dissemination to the Latina/o community.

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In addition to educating Latina women about the Healthy Babies Equity Act, MLU is using AAWGT’s grant to improve the overall maternal health of Latina women (especially those that are Spanish-language dominant). MLU has developed a culturally-sensitive training curriculum for community health workers (CHWs). It reflects the skills required to increase maternal health outcomes and advocacy among the Latino community. A training session for CHWs was held in Annapolis in mid-December. Trainees now have the know-how to help individuals apply for Medicaid and find an appropriate healthcare provider after approval.

MLU is also coordinating with local nonprofits and organizations providing maternal and infant health services in Anne Arundel to plan a community baby shower in Annapolis later this year.

A Warm Welcome to Our Newest Member:

Diana Love

Grants Update

Thank you to all AAWGT grant applicants seeking our “trust-based philanthropy” grants. The review process is underway, and we already know that the needs and requests of our Anne Arundel County community exceed our resources. We are learning from you and doing our best to be good partners as we all work together to support women and families. In 2024, we’ll be investing a record $185,000 in AAC through AAWGT grant awards. Stay tuned in May for award announcements!

Save the Date!

Wednesday, February 21, 7:00-7:45 pm via Zoom.“Jumping in at AAWGT: Attend. Learn. Lead.” Celebrate 2023 accomplishments, learn what’s new for 2024 and personalize your experience. For members only.

Women in Leadership Event:

Monday, March 25, 6:00-7:00 pm in person (Doordan Institute, Luminis Health Anne Arundel Medical Center ) and via Zoom. “Civil Rights and Women and Families in Anne Arundel County.” A not-to-be-missed event with award-winning historian, college professor, author, and director of the Institute of Common Power, Dr. Terry Anne Scott; Maryland State archivist and commissioner, Maryland Arts Council, Elaine Rice Bachman; facilitated by Chanel Johnson, AAWGT member and executive director, Banneker-Douglass Museum and the Maryland Commission for African American History and Culture. Free and open to the public. Registration opening soon.

Wednesday, April 10, 5:30pm. “Membership Open House.” Blue Heron Room at Quiet Waters Park. Prospective members encouraged to attend. Free and open to the public. Registration opening soon.

Thanks to our Generous Members!

There’s no end to what a group of determined women can do. As the year comes to an end, the President always looks to see how the grant pool is doing. We strive to increase it each year so that we can give more and larger grants in the next grant cycle. At the end of 2023, we reached out again to our members as part of our “One More Grant” campaign and our members did not disappoint. They donated a total of $22,850 to the 2024 grant pool. Thanks so much to all who contributed!!!

Member Highlight:
Meet Cathleen Sparrow

Cathleen Sparrow, the executive director of the AAC Public Library Foundation (AACPLF), joined AAWGT in 2020. “Shortly after moving from Salt Lake City, where I was part of a giving circle, I got interested in AAWGT because I thought it would be a great way to meet like-minded women in my new community.” I was also impressed with the grants that AAWGT gave to the library.

2020-2021 were not the years for in-person gatherings, but Cathleen did participate in as many virtual events as she could. Once the “Getting Togethers” and other events resumed, Cathleen jumped right in. In 2022, she joined the Membership Committee, joining Chair Sue Pitchford as assistant chair of renewals. In 2024, she will serve as the assistant chair of the Mentorship Program, which helps new members become well acquainted with all aspects of AAWGT.”

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‟I enjoy contributing to the membership committee, working to foster a stronger sense of belonging among our members. Having attended the Philanos Conference in Baltimore, my commitment has deepened even further and I hope that our members, especially new members, recognize the collective impact we, as women, are making together to make a difference in our community.”

Cathleen was born and raised in California and graduated from San Jose State University with a degree in parks and recreation administration. “One of my career highlights was to move to Salt Lake City to work on the 2002 Winter Olympic Games. I really thought I’d move back to California, but I met my husband Randy there and stayed.”

After being a director in government recreation positions for 25+ years, she switched gears to be an executive director at a hospital foundation, and chief development officer for Volunteers of America, along with working with several other nonprofits. "I’m deeply passionate about contributing to the nonprofit sector, and my role at the library holds a special place in my heart, bringing immense fulfillment to my work. Retirement is a notion that remains distant on my horizon, as I continue to find purpose and joy in what I do.”

Cathleen is an avid reader who loves to knit. She rides a Harley and has been across the U.S. on it several times. Regarding the beauty of the Bay and its rivers, she says “I hope people realize how gorgeous it is here. Randy and I feel like we’re on vacation every day.” They enjoy kayaking, boating, their two dogs, and being the favorite “cool aunt and uncle” to a “bevy of nieces and nephews.” Cathleen and Randy live in Edgewater.

Find us on Facebook:
Anne Arundel Women Giving Together |
AAWGT is a component fund of the Community Foundation of Anne Arundel County
AAWGT is a member of Philanos: Accelerating Philanthropy through Women’s Collective Giving

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