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Full Circle Blog

  • 08/20/2022 12:13 PM | Maryann Gosnell (Administrator)

    Starting today and until our annual Grants Showcase on September 13, this blog will feature the 8 nonprofits that received grants from AAWGT in 2021. Learn more about all our grantees here, and register for the Showcase here. At the Showcase, all 8 grantees will give short presentations about their vital work in our community.

    Our first featured grantee is Co-Op Arundel. They received $20,000 for My Sistah’s Keeper, which is an 8-week program that pairs 15 women with low incomes with mentors. The women meet on Saturdays and hear from facilitators who teach financial literacy, emotional health, conflict resolution, introspection and other topics. My Sistah’s Keeper was founded by community activist Toni Strong-Pratt. Learn more about My Sistah’s Keeper here and about Co-Op Arundel here.

  • 08/13/2022 11:14 AM | Maryann Gosnell (Administrator)

    How do you make bylaws interesting? You put forward a change that will revolutionize your giving circle’s contribution levels.

    AAWGT held a membership meeting on August 1 where we proposed that our Steering Committee be allowed to set our giving circle’s contribution levels. Our membership unanimously approved the change, and now the Steering Committee will institute these new levels starting on October 1:

    Lifetime: $12,000
    Sustainer: $1,075/year
    Ally: $575/year
    Catalyst: $375/year
    Friend: $175/year

    Why are the levels revolutionary? Women will be able to join or renew at any of the five levels. All member levels will be equal, with each member continuing to get one vote when choosing which nonprofits will be funded each year.

    We would like the demographics of our membership to match more closely those of our community. We hope that changing the contribution levels will move us toward that goal by making membership possible for a broader range of women. At our meeting, the discussion about this change sparked many ideas and comments. Most reiterated the need for us to diversity, and that we want to be sure to meet or exceed the amount of money given out in grants each year.

    I know that the adage “walk the walk” can be overused at times. In our case, however, this is really important because we aren’t going to just sit back and wait for women to come to us. We plan to do a lot of outreach to let our community know the value of collective giving and the impact that our giving circle has via our grants to local, small nonprofits that help under-served women and families.

    We’ll be keeping an eye on our Grants Fund and membership numbers over the next two years to see if we are achieving our goals. We anticipate that members will not reduce their contributions under this new system, and will perhaps even increase them. We look forward to welcoming many new women into our giving circle.

  • 06/27/2022 10:29 AM | Maryann Gosnell (Administrator)

    We encourage Maryland residents to vote in the primary election on Tuesday, July 19, 2022. To get complete, non-partisan information on voting, go to  This site has links to register to vote, verify your voter registration, and find out what's on your ballot. All you have to do is enter your address. The site is brought to you by the League of Women Voters Education Fund.

  • 06/23/2022 2:24 PM | Maryann Gosnell (Administrator)

    5 Ways You Know You are an AAWGT Member:

    1. You've read "Poverty Amidst Plenty"
    2. You have used "team leader 2" in a sentence
    3. You know what RESG and PGEC are
    4. You are familiar with the tagline "Invest, Inform, Inspire"
    5. You are a philanthropist

    Of the five, considering yourself a philanthropist is, of course, the most important. People often think of a philanthropist as someone who gives away a lot of money. That's certainly one definition. But an important part of being a philanthropist is seeking to promote the welfare of others. So there you go: we are all philanthropists.

    But the other ways that you know you are an AAWGT member point to the work that we do. You'll understand "Poverty Amidst Plenty," especially if you have worked on the Grants Committee. We use that publication from the Community Foundation to provide important data on the needs in our community.

    "Team leader 2" also applies to the Grants Committee. Our Grants Committee reviewers are divided into teams that evaluate each grant application. Our valuable team leaders guide groups of reviewers and then present their team's findings to the other team leaders, plus our committee chair and assistant chairs.

    You'll also know that RESG stands for our Racial Equity Study Group and that PGEC stands for Post Grants Evaluation Committee. Through our study group, members take a deep dive into an examination of racial equity and its effects on our most vulnerable citizens. And Post Grants members are the liaisons with our grantees, keeping us up to date on their work and the progress of the program funded by the AAWGT grant.

    And finally, AAWGT members embrace the tagline, "Invest, Inform, Inspire." We invest in the community via our grants, we inform via our education sessions, and we inspire others through our generosity of time, talent and treasure — all exemplified by our unique vocabulary and the ways you know you are an AAWGT member.

  • 06/09/2022 2:38 PM | Maryann Gosnell (Administrator)

    "That was one of the most powerful and emotional programs offered through AAWGT. I will never forget the impact of the Innocence Project and I am glad to know what I can do."

    "Thanks for making this event happen. We are grateful for their courage and the work they do to protect the innocent. Very moving and eye-opening."

    AAWGT held its third education event of the year, "The Innocence Project: Causes of and Solutions to Wrongful Incarceration." Our panelists were Robyn Trent Jefferson, the Innocence Project; Michelle Murphy, who was exonerated due to the work of the Innocence Project; and Lisa Woodward Lunt, a former public defender who now teaches hundreds of federal public defenders and court-appointed panel lawyers. Moderating was Carl Snowden, convener of the Caucus of African American Leaders in Anne Arundel County.

    Ms. Murphy's testimony was especially moving as she described the effects of being wrongfully convicted of the murder of her son, and her long-awaited reunion with her daughter.

    Since its inception, the Innocence Project has used DNA and other scientific advances to prove that a conviction was wrongful. To date, they have helped to free or exonerate more than 200 people, who, collectively, spent more than 3,600 years behind bars.

    If you are interested in learning more, click here to go the Events Summary page of this website. Under the June 8 drop-down, you will see links to relevant organizations.
  • 05/12/2022 7:19 PM | Maryann Gosnell (Administrator)

    $1.5 million is a really big number! That's how much in grants AAWGT has given to local nonprofits as of last night's meeting, where this 2022's recipients were announced. $1.5 million represents 121 grants to 47 nonprofits. This year, our grants fund totaled $159,265. Our members were thoughtful in their voting and had 16 well-vetted nonprofits from which to choose.

    Our members voted for proposals in three focus areas: children, food insecurity, and education/support for women and/or families. In the end, 11 nonprofits will receive grants from AAWGT. They include:

    • Asbury Church Assistance Network, $4,998, for mobile food pantry expansion
    • Assistance League of the Chesapeake, $4,998, for school uniforms for students at Tyler Heights Elementary School
    • Center of Help, $15,080, for programs assisting bilingual families
    • Charting Careers, $20,000, for their mentoring, college and career readiness and family partnership program
    • Co-op Arundel, $20,000, for the My Sistah's Keeper program, which is designed to give women the tools and skills to identify and reach their goals
    • Community Alliance of South County, $6,125, for summer overnight camp scholarships for ten low-income children, plus follow-up
    • Marshall Hope Corporation, $20,000, to purchase diapers, formula and feminine pads for the food pantry, plus supplies for the Marshall Hope Learning Center
    • Providence Center, $8,064, for consent, healthy relationship and abuse prevention training for women with intellectual and developmental disabilities
    • STAIR-Annapolis, $20,000 for the Start the Adventure in Reading program, including purchase of books, lesson plans and take-home books for students
    • Tahirih Justice Center, $20,000, to provide trauma-informed legal and social services support to immigrant survivors of gender-based violence
    • We Care and Friends, $20,000, for the women-empowerment program that trains and counsels women to become self-reliant entrepreneurs and business leaders

    I can't thank our Grants Committee enough for all their hard work, plus the support help from our Grants Systems and Web/IT experts. And a hearty congratulations to all of our new grantees.

  • 04/26/2022 11:30 AM | Maryann Gosnell (Administrator)

    April is National Volunteer Month, which applies especially to AAWGT. We are an all-volunteer organization, so this month is meaningful as it acknowledges the hard work of all our members.

    Our impact will be evident early next month when we ask our members to vote on which nonprofits will received grants from us this this year. Our Grants Committee has done an awe-inspiring amount of work reviewing grant applications and putting together the ballot. Our members' vote will put into action important work that will have life-changing impacts on people in our community.

    We could not function without our volunteers. It's that simple. Our leadership deeply appreciates our members and all the work they do toward our mission of improving the quality of life for women and families in Anne Arundel County.

  • 04/18/2022 12:17 PM | Maryann Gosnell (Administrator)

    The intersection of the environment and social issues was evident at our annual Women in Leadership event held last month. Led by our amazing Leadership Development and Nominating Committee, the event featured these women leaders in climate action: Carmera Thomas-Wilhite, director, Urban Conservation Initiative; Lynn Heller, founder and CEO, Climate Access Fund; and our moderator, Kate Fritz, an AAWGT member who is the CEO of the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay.

    The impacts of climate change are becoming a regular occurrence in our county. Increased flooding, destructive storms and rising temperatures have a long-term impact on our most vulnerable citizens. Our panelists are experts in the local and regional environmental issues affecting the health and welfare of women and children in our community.

    Kate opened the discussion with an explanation of the ecology of our county and the negative impact of climate change, including harmful pollutants in our creeks, rivers and the Chesapeake Bay, plus the destruction of tree canopy.

    One goal of the presentation was to give participants some tools to move forward. She encouraged us to stay curious and to share what was learned at the event. In fact, the event operated under “Anti-Vegas rules.” Kate explained that, “Unlike Vegas, we don’t what whatever happens here this evening to stay here. I encourage you to take what you learn and share your thoughts with others–that’s how great change will continue to spread.”

    A summary of the event can be found here.

  • 03/26/2022 11:05 AM | Maryann Gosnell (Administrator)

    Our Racial Equity Study Group had the distinct honor of viewing a video created by the Seeking Insights for Solutions (SIS) group. SIS is an interest group within the University Women of Flagler, which was established to promote equity for women and girls, lifelong education and positive societal change. They are located in Flagler Beach, Florida.

    SIS was formed to study and understand the issue of race and equality in the United States. They held cross-racial interviews to better understand how our differing “races” have impacted and continue to impact our lives. The video we watched was created from these interviews. They used a clever technique where four SIS members serve as “actors” to verbalize what was reported in the cross-racial conversations.

    After our RESG members viewed the video, we went into Zoom breakout rooms each led by two SIS members and one AAWGT member. Then, after those discussions, we regrouped as a whole and shared what each learned.

    The SIS members were generous in giving their time to us, and RESG members were eager to hear the SIS members' experiences and to learn from them. We are indebted to this amazing group of women and we plan to keep the conversation going.

  • 03/16/2022 4:28 PM | Maryann Gosnell (Administrator)

    The new year for AAWGT means it’s proposal evaluation season. Throughout the late winter and early spring, over 50 of our members are involved in the process of reviewing all the applications for grants that we receive. It’s an exciting job, and one of our most important.

    Seasoned reviewers and new committee members are put into teams to look over each application to determine which will end up on our ballot. All members vote in May to determine which applicants will get grants.

    Our process this year is new in that applications are being scored to determine how closely they align with our mission and our diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) emphasis. While we invited applications from a wide variety of organizations, we were particularly interested in receiving ones from proposals that prioritized DEI when addressing the underlying causes of hardship, such as childhood hunger, higher mortality rates, educational disparities, homelessness and mental health. We are also prioritizing proposals from organizations with annual gross receipts under $100,000.

    The instructions sent to each reviewer might seem daunting. But we want to hear all voices, and be as fair as possible when assessing each application. Thus, there are many meetings and long discussions where we question and learn.

    This process is collective giving at its finest! Each member’s dues payment goes into a pool allowing us to award grants ranging from $5,000 to $20,000. Thus, each member’s dues are multiplied many times over to make a significant impact in the nonprofit’s work.

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AAWGT is a fund of the Community Foundation of Anne Arundel County
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