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Full Circle News


June 2023

Message from Leadership

June - The Start of Summer and our 2023 Grants Year!

Ask AAWGT members what they like about June and they’ll tell you it’s the timing. June is the month when we’re working with our new grantees (see list below) to help get their new 2023 grants in place. We want to recognize our many members who are directly involved with this process through, for example, the Post Grants Committee which is carefully planning how to best support these nonprofits over the next year. Also the Grants Systems Committee that is working to ensure that we’re collecting useful data about the needs of women and families in our county and the creative ways local organizations are responding to those needs. Thanks to all!


Susan Cook, President
Margaret Davis, Vice President

Grantee Spotlight: Tahirih Justice Center

Providing Free Legal and Social Services to Immigrants Fleeing Gender-Based Violence

The Tahirih Justice Center is a nonprofit organization that provides free legal and social services to immigrant survivors fleeing gender-based violence including domestic violence, sexual assault, trafficking, and stalking. With a community-based office serving Anne Arundel County residents, Tahirih has cultivated expertise in the intersections of gender and immigration justice for the last 26 years.

As Tahirih advocates for and with immigrant survivors, it builds the capacity of the entire community to respond to needs in accessible, trauma-informed, culturally competent ways. It offers training to healthcare professionals, law enforcement and prosecutors, teachers and school staff, and to our peers in the legal and social services field.

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Tahirih is committed to local work in Anne Arundel County by supporting and helping our neighbors. Tahirih’s lawyers have specialized expertise in complicated, ever-changing areas of the law, and social workers provide culturally relevant case management services to ensure an immigrant survivor’s path to justice is not derailed by her social services needs.

The impact of Tahirih building a welcoming and supportive community in Anne Arundel shows up in the resilience and advocacy of Cate*, an immigrant survivor of trafficking. Tahirih helped Cate secure rent and food and benefits for trafficking survivors as well and reported the trafficking to federal authorities. With time and support from Tahirih Justice Center, Cate is learning to advocate for herself through the submission of a T Visa application. Her ability to see a fresh start is now a reality and finding welcoming allies in her Anne Arundel community has affirmed her autonomy and quality of life.

To learn more about Tahirih Justice Center and the life-changing support they offer, visit

*Client name has been changed

AAWGT Member Highlight:

Meet Jessica Beckerman

Jessica moved to Annapolis with her young family in 2021 after living in downtown Washington, DC, and splitting their time at their home in West River, MD. She had a 10+ year career in counter terrorism as a consultant supporting a variety of government agencies. As she settled into her new environment here, Jessica began searching for a way to get involved in the nonprofit community. With information gleaned from the Internet and the encouragement of a neighbor, Jessica joined AAWGT in 2021. The focus on women, children and families was critical. The giving circle concept was especially appealing – to be part of a group effort with the flexibility for members to participate according to their various time commitments and skill sets. Understandably important with two toddlers at home!

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Jessica’s willingness to share her skills, passions and interests is evident as she describes her desire for further involvement in AAWGT activities. She has enjoyed the education programs about community need and looks forward to being involved with the grant process next year. Jessica mentioned her support for more in-person meetings and feels those connections create a lot of energy. She is enthusiastic about ways to encourage diversity and suggests a “champion” for each zip code in the county to recruit and expand membership.

Jessica grew up in Laurel, MD, where her family had an art gallery and frame shop. She was part of the operation from an early age and gained the skills to manage interactions with customers. An early college English course included a visit to a rehabilitation center in Baltimore that made quite an impact. It gave her an increased understanding and compassion for others that she has built upon with a degree in international studies and throughout her career and in her community service.

Jessica and her husband, Michael, live in Arundel on the Bay with their daughters, Sadie (3-1/2) and Isla (1-1/2) and two dogs. They love being on the water and spending time with family close by in Washington and in Charleston, SC.

A Warm Welcome to Our Newest Members:

Patty Baumiller, Susan Jacobs, Nancy McGowan, Jean Weaver, Lisa Wells

AAWGT Education Event: The Many Faces of Homelessness

Thursday, June 21, 2023, 6-7 pm, via Zoom. Registration will open in mid-May. Register here.

This event is free and open to the public.

2023 Grantees:

Anne Arundel County Literacy Council, Inc: Operations Funding for the Continuation and Growth of Free Tutoring Programs for Low-Income Adults in Anne Arundel County — $6,000

Evolve KidsCare: Childcare for Parents Recovering from Substance Abuse — $15,000

Harvest Resources in Anne Arundel County: Necessities Not Covered By SNAP — $25,000

STAIR-Annapolis, Inc: Start the Adventure in Reading — $25,000

Maryland Latinos Unidos: Stages of Womanhood — Maternal Health — $25,000

Community Alliance of South County: Camp, A Week of Possibilities — $13,300

Rebuilding Together Anne Arundel County, Inc: Safe and Healthy Housing — $25,000

Child Resource Connect (formerly Prince George’s Child Resource Center): Anne Arundel Child Care Support Services — $25,000

In addition, AAWGT contributed the remaining $5,005 to:

The Complete Player Charity (TCP): TCP and Sisters in Sync Collaborative Leadership Program for Girls

Waves of History and Hope: Tour of Highland Beach, MD

In mid-May, 23 members of AAWGT’s Racial Equity Study Group (RESG) toured the local community of Highland Beach, founded in 1893 and one of America’s many historic resort communities founded by, and for, African Americans. In 1922, Highland Beach was incorporated as a municipality, becoming the first African American township in the State of Maryland. Such communities were often built because America’s segregated society prevented vacation opportunities for Blacks at most resorts frequented by whites. Challenges of equity remain today as water communities throughout Anne Arundel County continue to gentrify by class and/or race, often displacing original inhabitants.

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Over the past four-plus years, the RESG has engaged in a number of different activities to help members learn about the history and impact of racial inequities at the local and national levels. This tour of Highland Beach provided a rewarding educational experience focusing on how the Town of Highland Beach was founded and the tremendous efforts being made to continue to preserve its rich environmental and cultural heritage.

The group visited Twin Oaks, the former summer home of the Frederick Douglass family, now the Frederick Douglass Museum and Cultural Center. In words both spoken and unspoken, the group reflected on what this great man accomplished in American history. The group also explored the LEED Platinum Certified Town Hall of Highland Beach, meeting with Mayor William Sanders and his wife, Zora Lathan, to learn more about the town itself and how it earned that sustainability distinction.

The roster of those who settled in Highland Beach was a “who’s who” of 19th and early 20th century Black history, from poet Langston Hughes to Washington, D.C.’s Council member, Charlene Drew Jarvis. Sanders and Lathan shared some of their life stories as educated African Americans working to build a marriage, community, and institution against formidable odds and partnering with NGOs to preserve important history and create a “more equitable Anne Arundel County.”

As rich discussions continued among members during and after the tour, one noted “the continued stability of this community established in the 1800’s to be a haven for African Americans to enjoy the beauty of the Chesapeake Bay now being a community in the forefront of the environmental movement to preserve and protect the beauty and importance of our resources. A small community, when led by incredibly dedicated people, can accomplish amazing results.”

PowerUP! Baltimore

All AAWGT members — and others inspired by collective philanthropy — are encouraged to attend this year’s Philanos conference, November 5-7 in downtown Baltimore. Philanos is the national association of giving circles and we are a member and a co-host of this year’s conference.

Two AAWGT members will serve as presenters: Sue Pitchford, who will participate on a panel about membership tiers and Bronwyn Belling, who will present on AAWGT’s legacy memberships. The conference will feature dynamic keynote speakers from across the country and sessions are focused on collective power + leadership, communications + technology, governance + finance, and membership + grantmaking.

More conference information can be found here. Early bird registration is now open. After June 15, the price increases, so now is the time to sign up!

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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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