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Leadership Letter

Happy New Year - and Happy 15th Anniversary to AAWGT!

We all can agree that 2020 was one of the most unusual and challenging years we have ever had to face. The new year brings us renewed hope as we celebrate our 15th year anniversary as a giving circle. Check out the special logo we will be using throughout the year to capture this milestone.

Incredible thanks go out to the entire 2020 Steering Committee under the leadership of Sheila Onuska. This dynamic group of women put in numerous volunteer hours to help us pivot to the new virtual landscape that we found ourselves navigating. The dedicated and thoughtful group of women leading our circle is truly remarkable and special thanks to all of them.

Our year-end appeal in 2020 raised over $17,000 to respond to the overwhelming need to support nonprofits assisting women and children in Anne Arundel County. Thank you to all who contributed. While we were operating virtually most of last year, that did not stop women from joining us.  We were able to welcome over 30 women last year to AAWGT! 

We must continue our intention and focus on collective philanthropy. The basic needs for women and families continue to grow at startling rates in our county. We are committed to looking at areas where disparity presents itself and inform and invest where we can all make a difference collectively.

The 15th Anniversary Committee has been hard at work. We hope you enjoyed our virtual kick-off celebration and are looking forward to seeing you throughout the year with more to come.


Elaine Shanley, President
Maryann Gosnell, Vice President

Moving Forward to Address Racial Inequity

Following AAWGT’s sponsorship of a half-day meeting in 2018, presented by the Racial Equity Institute and attended by over 300 community members, we formed the Racial Equity Study Group (RESG). It is a safe space for members to continue to grapple with issues of racial inequity and to learn and explore what AAWGT might do in our community.

RESG worked with the Grants Committee to create a new 2021 grant category that addresses the causes, not just the effects, of racial inequity. We have brought in a consultant on unconscious bias to help prepare reviewers for upcoming grant reviews.

We’ve created a Resource Guide that captures a range of materials suggested by our members. And, we are reaching out to other giving circles and philanthropic organizations across the country to learn and to share.

The Racial Equity Study Group is a place to pursue AAWGT’s commitment to address racial inequity as we Invest, Inform, and Inspire. Meeting dates are on the Members Only section of our websitePlease join us!

Grantee Spotlight: Chrysalis House

Chrysalis House Inc. (CHI) provides treatment for women with substance use and mental health disorders, while providing a safe and nurturing home for their children during their mother’s program of recovery. CHI is one of only three programs in the state that allows women to have their children live with them during residential treatment. 

Many of our clients’ children come from traumatic situations, or have witnessed and/or been victims of abuse and neglect. They frequently suffer from developmental delays, behavioral issues, ADHD, and other challenges due to maternal drug use. It is our goal to give the children in our care the best possible start in life and break the generational cycle of addiction, crime, and poverty.

The AAWGT grant is providing a number of training opportunities for our Child Development Center staff. This includes a 90-hour early childhood certification, as well as specific training in trauma-informed care. Most of the children residing at Chrysalis House are between birth and three years old. This is a time of rapid cognitive, linguistic, social, emotional, and motor development. The training is helping our staff provide a safe and loving environment, something that many of the children have been lacking in their young lives.

One of the training modules made possible through the AAWGT grant is a parenting training curriculum. Our Early Childhood Development Director, Denise Spencer, M.S., facilitates a weekly parenting skills group for our clients. Many of these women are first-time mothers and a significant number have not had positive parenting in their own families. It is vital that we provide them with the tools they need to become the most effective and loving parents they can be.

Chrysalis House is very grateful to AAWGT for this grant which allows us to offer vital training during these challenging COVID times.

Not a Member Yet?

Please email us at if you’d like to be added to the invite list for our next prospective member event, which we will continue to host by Zoom until it’s safe to meet in person again.

2021 Grant Application Extended to January 31

We are in difficult times, and we appreciate the demand that the present challenges have made on nonprofits. In order to give applicants additional time to apply, or to complete their application, we are extending the deadline for grant applications to Sunday, January 31, 2021 (11:59 pm). More info is available on this website here.


Founders Award

During the 15th Anniversary celebration on January 13, long-time member, Founder and current Education Chair Barbara Hoffstein received the 2020 Founders Award, given for exemplary commitment to the organization over a number of years. Barbara has generously contributed time, treasure, and talent to AAWGT and is very much appreciated by us all.  

The Performing Arts During Covid

Education Event February 10

The Education Committee is excited to present The Performing Arts During Covid on Wednesday, February 10th from 5:00 - 6:30 PM.  Our speakers for this Zoom Webinar are Netanel Draiblate, Founding Director of the Annapolis Symphony Academy, Sally Boyett, Founding Artistic Director of the Annapolis Shakespeare Company and Laura Brino, Outreach Coordinator of Maryland Hall. They will each describe the creative ways they have impacted kids at risk with the power of the arts and the positive effects these programs have had on their students. Audience questions will be addressed through the Q & A feature and the program will be recorded for future viewing. More information can be found on our homepage.

Please join us and invite your friends




There is a rumor going around that AAWGT members have to live in AA County and be invited to join. NOT TRUE! All are welcome.

Grantee Spotlight: HOPE For All

More than 20,000 families living in poverty in Anne Arundel County are headed by single mothers, and HOPE For All encounters these resilient women as our clients. Whether they need beds for their children to sleep on, desks to do schoolwork, or plates to eat their meals, HOPE For All helps families turn their houses into homes.

Anne Arundel Women Giving Together has been an encouraging and faithful supporter of our Turning Houses Into Homes program, where we help to stabilize the lives of people in our community who struggle to meet their daily needs. By supporting HOPE’s overhead costs, we can focus on serving women like Angela and Sheila as they raise their children and navigate their future while struggling financially.

Angela’s husband recently died, leaving her with four children ages 1-13. Three of her children are being home-schooled. They moved to a basement apartment and HOPE For All delivered beds, dressers, and other furnishings to Angela as she starts over on her own. We were also able to fulfill a special request for school supplies and books for the children.

Sheila is a grandmother who has been raising her 14-year-old granddaughter for the past 12 years. Sadly, Sheila’s husband died unexpectedly this year. HOPE supplied a bed, linens, and clothing for the grateful family.

AAWGT understands that nonprofits like HOPE For All need more than donated goods to continue to serve the community. We need to be able to pay for the roof over our heads, the salaries of our program staff, the gas for our delivery truck, and much more. The grant we received this year is helping us serve hundreds of people in Anne Arundel County who need our help and we are able to give them hope for a brighter future. We are indeed grateful for AAWGT and its work to improve the lives of women and families in our community.

Upcoming events our members are engaged in. We invite others to join AAWGT to participate with us.

  • 03/25/2024 6:00 PM
    Anne Arundel Medical Center, Belcher Pavilion, Doordan Institute, 2000 Medical Parkway, Annapolis, MD 21401
  • 04/10/2024 5:30 PM
    Blue Heron Center, Quiet Waters Park, Annapolis
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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