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Full Circle News


Sept-Oct 2021

In This Issue: Leadership Letter |2021 Grants Showcase | Upcoming Events | Membership | Margo Cook |  Grantee Spotlight - Seeds 4 Success |  Affordable Housing in AAC 

Leadership Letter

It was certainly a breath of fresh air (literally) to see so many members at our annual Grants Showcase, held this week at the Annapolis Maritime Museum. It was a real treat to reconnect in person for the first time in almost two years, despite the rain! And what better time to get together than for our Showcase, where we heard from the grantees we’ve funded this past year about their vital work in the community. Their inspirational presentations reinforced the need for our grant-making. If you were not able to attend the Showcase, we encourage you to read through the grantee summaries on our website and scroll down to the heading “15th Anniversary Year.” Each grantee’s name is a link to their summary. We are sure you will learn a great deal.

Speaking of the website, be sure to check out our new Member Highlights page. It currently features four of our members: Margo Cook, Michelle Hellstern, Tara Balfe Clifford and Sharon Stewart. These remarkable women have made tremendous contributions of their time and talent to AAWGT. More member profiles will be added in the months to come. For now, we’ve included Margo’s Member Highlight in this issue of our newsletter.

All of our committees do important work over the summer in anticipation of a busy fall. In particular, our Grants Committee Chair Susan Cook and Assistant Chair Cindy Whittle have spent countless hours identifying ways to make the grants process easier to navigate, with special emphasis on how we evaluate all the grant applications. They have spoken to many members to get input and we will keep you informed as they put their final recommendations together.

Thanks to many of you for updating your profiles on the website this summer. If you have not done so, please visit the site, log in, click on the blue and white icon at the top right and then click on the View Profile link. You’ll then see an Edit Profile button at the top which will take you to the place where you can indicate your interests and ways you’d like to engage in AAWGT. Updating your profile will help us get to know you and how you’d like to get involved.

If you have any questions or concerns, please email us at Emails sent there are directed to the appropriate member of the Steering Committee – a great group of women who are always eager to help our members.

Stay tuned for another great educational program on October 21, “Who Will Save Our Mothers?” This Zoom event will feature Dr. Monica Jones of Luminis Health System. See upcoming events in this newsletter.

Stay safe and healthy,

Elaine Shanley, President
Maryann Gosnell, Vice President

Upcoming Event

Who Will Save Our Mothers?

Thursday, October 21, 5:30 - 7:00 PM
via Zoom

Dr. Monica Jones, Luminis Health System

The United States has among the worst outcomes for maternal mortality among developed countries. Dr. Monica Jones, Luminis Health System Chair for Women's and Children's Services, will be our keynote speaker. Dr. Jones, along with others affected, will describe the shocking state of maternal mortality in the U.S. among African American women, the reasons behind it, and the ways in which we can all help improve the situation.

This event is free and open to the public.


Grantee Spotlight:

Seeds 4 Success

Seeds 4 Success’ mission is working together as a community to provide children from low-income communities with the skills and support to achieve success in school and life. We do this by providing tutoring and mentoring to youth living in Annapolis’ public housing communities. The AAWGT-funded Student Health and Wellness Initiative has expedited healthy habits of youth and families in our program. A series of health videos created by staff and youth illustrate the benefits of healthy nutrition, positive hygiene practices, mental health awareness, and exercise.

Our volunteer committee of health professionals provides additional resources through programming sessions and volunteer trainings. Staff and mentors have successfully worked with families in navigating insurance access and use. Mentors working with youth have created a set of healthy goals and logged activity toward them, including healthier sleep patterns, physical activity, healthy snacks, and reading.

We are also implementing mindfulness initiatives that we know are so important in these hectic days as children return to school and local authorities track COVID-19 and its variant. We are planning three Student Health and Wellness Initiative activities, referred to as Mindfulness Moments with Mentors:

  • COVID Safety Kits for Families
  • Mindfulness Kits
  • Mentor/Mentee Group Activities

These activities will be led by our Team & Projects Success Manager, with ongoing implementation by mentors. We are thankful for the funding that has helped us promote health and wellness. Thank you, AAWGT!

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 Grants Showcase

This year’s 15th Anniversary Grantee Showcase was hosted at the Annapolis Maritime Museum in Eastport on September 22. Despite the rainy weather, we were so happy to be able to get together with friends and colleagues in person on this important occasion!

View a photo gallery of the event here.

Nine 2020 grantee organizations were highlighted as they described the work they’ve done and their successes during a most challenging year. The nine Grantees are:

Newtowne Community Development Corp: From Surviving to Thriving, a residence program supporting women toward personal development

The Annapolis Immigration Justice Network: Legal Fund/Family Preservation Project which enables female heads of households to obtain legal representation for their immigration court cases

AAC Food Bank: Baby Pantry which this year improved and expanded baby pantry services for low income families in spite of the pandemic

Chrysalis House Inc: Training for Childhood Development Staff which served 150 women and 59 children

HOPE for All: Turning Houses into Homes which supported 122 single women households, 83 of which were single moms with children

The Light House: Family Assistance Program which supported 240 households in finding permanent housing, of which 42 individuals were supported with the AAWGT grant

Seeds 4 Success: Student Health Wellness Initiative: which teaches youth how to improve their health habits and those of their families

Services from the Heart: Backpack Buddies/Food Backpack which distributes food to at-risk children, this year delivering 1,343 backpacks with 25 holiday meals to 106 children in three elementary schools

Touchstones Discussion Project: Expanding Women’s LifeLeadership Skills for Post-Incarceration Success a discussion-based program for women at the MD Correctional Institution. Due to COVID-19, the AAWGT grant this year was used to build internal staff capacity.

In 2021, AAWGT donated over $138,000 to eight nonprofits who shared their organization’s information and talked with AAWGT members during the evening. 2021 Grantee are: Co-op Arundel: My Sistah’s Keeper; Marshall Hope Corporation: W. Annapolis Pop Up Pantry; Annapolis Immigration Justice Network: Legal Assistance Project; AAC CASA Inc: Court Appointed Special Advocates; AAC Food Bank: Expanding Baby Pantries; Charting Careers: College & Career Readiness; HOPE for All: Turning Houses into Homes; and Rebuilding Together: Urgent Home Repairs. We look forward to working with all of these dedicated and creative organizations over the next year.

The AAWGT Grantee Showcase is an annual event and gives us the opportunity to highlight and thank the many dedicated organizations who work diligently to improve the lives of women and their families in Anne Arundel County.



A Warm Welcome to our Newest Members!

Donna AndersonBeth Hoyt
Heidi BuschMary Jermann
Linda CohenAshley Johnson
Jerri FalkKristina Kahn
Stacey FitzSimmonsJanet MacCallum
Alexandra FotosAnnie McCoy
Elizabeth FreedlanderCara Fleck Plewinski
Shari FriedmanMary Powell
Caroline HadleyPat Tate


In this 15th year of our collective philanthropy, we are highlighting a few AAWGT members. We feature Margo Cook in this edition.

By supporting and shining a light on organizations that have a positive impact in the community, AAWGT provides a unique opportunity for those who want to make a difference.
Margo Cook

“A lot of us who are philanthropically minded sometimes feel powerless. We see major societal issues and want to be part of the change, but don't know how or don't enough money to make a real impact,” says Margo. “Being a part of a collective giving circle like AAWGT allows your donated money to make a large impact. And, you can help identify the most important issues in the County and support organizations that are doing really great work.” Read the story.

In Case You Missed It!

If you were unable to participate in the June education program on Affordable Housing in Anne Arundel County, here is what Delegate Shaneka Henson had to say about it: “It was the best program on affordable housing I have seen. After I watched it, I had my staff sit down and watch it too.” Listen to a recording of the program here. Learn more about Affordable Housing in Anne Arundel County here.

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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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