Why We Really Like May
It’s not just the May flowers we enjoy. AAWGT members always look forward to May when we vote on which nonprofits receive a grant on July 1. Our lengthy process begins in January when the Grants Committee seeks and then evaluates grant applications to determine which ones best meet our mission to improve the quality of life for women and families in AAC. Truly, May is the highlight of our year!
Grantee Spotlight: Start the Adventure in Reading (STAIR ) - Annapolis
Serving 2nd Graders with One-on-One Tutoring
With the support of AAWGT, Start The Adventure In Reading (STAIR) - Annapolis, Inc. has continued to serve second grade children reading below grade level through one-on-one reading tutoring. STAIR is back at 12 program sites in Anne Arundel County Public Schools – the first full year since the pandemic. AAWGT’s financial support allowed STAIR to purchase the materials necessary to reopen and add two new sites – Van Bokkelen Elementary and Hillsmere Elementary.
This school year (2022-2023), STAIR welcomed close to 100 new students to the program and enlisted the help of nearly 200 volunteers working as tutors and site coordinators. Close to 50% of these volunteers were brand new to STAIR! Throughout the year, students have been eager and energetic, and tutors have enjoyed trying creative strategies to keep them engaged and having fun.
Barbara Goyette, STAIR tutor at Germantown, said of her experience “I love seeing the children at work, watching them try with a tutor what they are reluctant to try in their classrooms. My favorite STAIR moment when my student was reading on his own to me and knew the word ‘especially’ without any prompting. He just beamed when I complimented him.”
In May, STAIR will commemorate the completion of a successful school year with their traditional graduations. Their newly confident second grade readers will have the opportunity to share their reading skills, celebrate the progress they’ve made, and share their accomplishments with their tutors, teachers, families, and special guests. STAIR thanks AAWGT members for playing such an impactful role in these children's lives!
AAWGT Member Highlight:
Meet Lynne Davidson
Lynne Davidson, one of AAWGT’s founding members, says “It was exhilarating for me to be part of the initial group, launched by Sharon Stewart in 2005, that created our first bylaws, committees, membership structure, programs, and grant priorities.” Lynne has a 30+ year career in nonprofit fundraising, marketing communications and project management, which all were very useful in AAWGT’s early years. She went on to serve as AAWGT President in 2009 and helped launch AAWGT’s Endowment Fund.
“The best part of AAWGT is the open exchange of ideas and the passion, talent, and collaboration that define the organization. This may be because so many members, regardless of age, have — or have had — interesting careers and/or deep volunteer experience, leading to what I consider a very professional planning and problem-solving approach. AAWGT is a great forum for learning about issues and participating in creating positive change in our community. I hope we keep doing what we do best (i.e., addressing current issues affecting our County’s most vulnerable populations, staying open-minded to new ideas, and making sure to spread the good word about this organization.”
While there were years when she was unable to be actively involved in AAWGT due to family, professional, and other personal priorities, she’s currently on the Membership Committee, has served as a Team Leader for the Grants Committee this year, and is coordinating the AAWGT Business Sponsorship program.
Lynne grew up in the Detroit area but considers Annapolis her home. She and Brad, her husband of 40 years, have two adult children living in New York City. Lynne is a daily exerciser — walking, doing yoga, and light weights — and loves music, reading, and traveling (most recently to Iraq, Jordan, and Lebanon with her husband’s family foundation), and she’s learning to play bridge.
A Warm Welcome to Our Newest Members: Samantha Bartgis, Susan Bloomfield, Lori Catania, Rebecca Clapp, Beryle Downs, Nancy Graham, Joanne Hamilton, Brigid Haragan, Lynn Langer, Chris Messina-Boyer, Betsey Monseu, Kelly Purnell, Stacey Russell, Andrea Savvides, Darcy Scott, Donna Sullivan, and Lynne Watson
► Save the Date: AAWGT Education Event: From Homelessness to a Home: Understanding What it Takes
Thursday, June 21, 2023, 6-7 pm, via Zoom. Registration will open in mid-May.
This event is free and open to the public.
This is a very exciting time of year for AAWGT as we conclude our grants review cycle and move to selecting and presenting the annual grantee awards! This week all AAWGT members received an online ballot from which they will select our 2023 grantees. Then on Thursday, May 11, members will gather via Zoom to learn which of the many worthy nonprofits who applied will receive this year’s grants.
It’s always an exciting evening and it marks the culmination of several months of intensive work by 40 actively engaged AAWGT members whose thoughtful review brought us to this point. Following that evening, we will announce the 2023 awards to the general public as we continue to build on our commitment to improving the quality of life for women and families in our community.
Record Attendance at April Open House
AAWGT held the most well-attended Open House in our history on April 19,with 40 guests and 85 members enjoying the beautiful weather and great food. Sue Pitchford, Membership Chair, described how AAWGT fulfills its mission to improve the quality of life for women and families in the County. AAWGT is a component fund of the Community Foundation of Anne Arundel County and its President and CEO, Mary Spencer, spoke to the group and introduced John Rodenhausen, the new Director of Gift Planning.
Two members, Liz Gillette and Michelle Hellstern, shared the reasons they decided to join AAWGT. Many guests talked about the fact that having the new Tiered Membership levels (ranging from $175 to $1,075, with each member having full benefits and voting privileges) makes it easier to join and participate collectively in bettering our local community. View the slide show presented at the event here.