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Full Circle News


April 2024

Message from Leadership

“You must never be fearful about what you are doing when it’s right.”  – Rosa Parks

Happy Spring! Happy Passover, Ramadan, and Easter Seasons!!

April is also the month of the Military Child (please reach out to military families you know), Arab-American Heritage month, the month of Earth Day (April 22), and the month of our Spring Open House (April 10). 

Spring is the month of new beginnings. Our dedicated grants team is working to vet the 2024 grant applicants for member voting – we eagerly anticipate making a new round of grants in early May. Please be sure to attend the (members only) zoom meeting on May 8 to hear the announcement of our new grant awards  the result of YOUR grant voting May 1-6.

In terms of members … All are welcome into AAWGT! We have many options for joining and making a difference.  Come to the Spring Open House on April 10 to learn more! 

As April showers bring May flowers, may YOU bloom where you are planted and join us to have collective impact as we improve the lives of women and families in Anne Arundel County! Thank you for your partnership!

In service,

Margaret Davis, President
Michelle Hellstern, Vice President

Women's History Month Event

Women in Leadership: Civil Rights, Then and Now

In observance of Women’s History Month, AAWGT hosted a deeply inspiringWomen in Leadership event entitled “Civil Rights, Then and Now:  Empowering Women and Families in Anne Arundel County.”  It took place on March 25 at the Doordan Institute, Luminis Health AAMC. Panelists included award winning historian, author, and director of the Institute for Common Power Dr. Terry Anne Scott and Maryland State Archivist and Secretary of the State House Trust Elaine Rice Bachmann. Chanel Compton Johnson, executive director of the Banneker-Douglass Museum and the Maryland Commission for African American History and Culture served as moderator for a fascinating discussion of their roles in documenting and preserving the role of African Americans in our national and state history.
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When asked what led to their respective choices to pursue careers in history, Dr. Scott briefly described the racism she experienced during her childhood in Chicago and how she came to understand the potential power of teaching African American history to examine and combat it. Ms. Bachmann spoke about her career in art history and the significance of the work she does now in preserving historical documents with both governmental and private collections.

Ms. Johnson then asked about the support and mentorship each had as they were growing up and in their early careers. Both spoke of the importance of their families and colleagues as their careers evolved.

Dr. Scott described the impact of writing Lynching and Leisure: Race and the Transformation of Mob Violence in Texas and trying to come to grips with the brutality described in the book. She went on to say that “lynching” continues in many forms today and we need to see these incidents (for example, George Floyd’s murder) for what they are — a call to action.

Ms. Bachmann explored the process for selecting and retaining collections for the State Archives and how important it is for all Marylanders to be able to see themselves in the state’s history. She described the Maryland 250 Commission that commemorates Marylanders' many contributions to American history through events, programs, and opportunities to serve.

When asked what resources are available for us to learn more about, and promote, Black history, Dr. Scott and Ms. Bachmann referred to the many private collections in the State Archives, special programs offered during Black History and Women’s History Month, and books such as Madness: Race and Insanity in a Jim Crow Asylum by Antonia Hylton that recounts the history of Crownsville State Hospital in Annapolis. They both emphasized the importance of being vigilant in working to safeguard African American history in the face of those working to erase it. Dr. Scott identified voting as of paramount importance — p articularly for school board positions — as well as educating ourselves and engaging with young people to understand where we’ve been so that we can all forge a new and better future.

AAWGT Founders

Colleen Baldwin
Patricia Barland Brasse
Joy Beer
Kathleen Brooks
Shauna Chabot
Anna Greenberg
Barbara Hoffstein
Betsy Kimrey
Becki Kurdle
Debbie Richardson Daugherty
Lynda Salamon
Sharon Stewart
Susan Swayze
Helene Tenner
Abbie von Schlegel

Coming Soon!

AAWGT Spring Open House

Wednesday, April 10, 2024, 5:30-7:30 pm, The Blue Heron Center, Quiet Waters Park

Free and open to the public. Click HERE to register.

Grants Voting (Members Only), May 1-6

Membership Meeting, 2024 Grants Announcements, May 8, 7 pm, via Zoom. Members register here.

April is Arab-American Heritage Month

  • See more here about Arab-American women leaders
  • Learn more here about Maryland's Commission on Middle Eastern Affairs
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The Grants Team (Jean Mitchell, Stealey Ashley, Stacey FitzSimmons) and the Grants Systems Team (Cindy Whittle, Barbara Haight, Judy Coughlin, Ann Whitcomb) begin their planning in August. Over the last several years, the grants teams and all reviewers have worked hard to imbed trust-based philanthropy and DEIAB principles into the entire grants process. We have learned a great deal from our community partners about the best ways to work together to meet the needs of women and families.

Member Highlight:
Meet Kelly Purnell

Kelly Purnell and her husband, Ted, moved to Edgewater 14 years ago to raise their four sons, now ages 21, 20, 17, and 16. “Our kids attend(ed) public or private high schools so I’ve been active on school boards and church. With two sons away in college and two here in high school, we’re almost empty nesters, so I’m looking to get more involved in the community. My background was social work (received a master’s degree from UMB), so families and children have always been my passion and AAWGT seemed a good fit.”

Kelly knew about AAWGT, having applied for a grant for Joy Reigns Lutheran Church Recovery Rental Assistance in 2020, but the program was shut down due to COVID. She also serves on the board of Journey to Joy, a grant applicant in 2023 and 2024.

    Grantee Spotlight

The Community Alliance of South County

The Community Alliance of South County is a small nonprofit that works to bring needed resources to southern Anne Arundel County. Working with community partners, we have helped bring public transportation to the area and focused on food insecurity through education about growing edible plants and about access to local food pantries. We have provided information to individuals and community groups about resources available in the area and we have worked with local Title I schools to help bring needed resources to them.

Also working with Title I schools, we have provided necessary supplies and sent low-income children to week-long overnight summer camps in South County. This is the second year of an AAWGT grant which has supported this program. In year two, we were able to double the number of children, bringing 22 kids together to make new friends, try out new activities, be valued members of a group, and experience a sense of pride for their achievements. Our follow-up with the parents and students indicated that the week at camp was a highlight of the summer and a treasured experience. A counselor from one of the camps contacted us to share her impression: the children we sent really loved camp. She also related that one of the girls was afraid to get in a kayak because she couldn’t swim but was convinced to try and, when the session was finished, “confidently stepped out of the kayak and walked away to join her new friends looking stronger and braver.” 

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In December, the children attended an overnight Christmas camp where they ate, sang, did arts and crafts, and connected with friends they had made. This spring, the campers will have exposure to cultural events like plays, music performances, and sporting events. Through these types of activities, children have a chance to experience a wider world of options open to them and enhance their belief that they can achieve.

KThank you AAWGT for making these opportunities available to these children!

Karen Babich, Community Alliance of South County

A Warm Welcome to Our Newest Members:

Barbara Hatchl, Marot Williamson, Sarah Meehan, Sally Curtin, Chelsea Koski, SueAnn Morabito, Alexandra Fotos, and Colleen Shanley Kyle

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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