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2024 Grants Awards

AAWGT is excited to share the results of the vote by our members to determine which nonprofits should receive 2024 grant awards. This year’s 50-member Grants Committee was challenged with the task of thoughtfully considering a record number of worthy proposals from local nonprofits. Thanks to contributions from our members (340+ currently), we were able to award grants totaling $190,931.22, the largest annual amount in our history. Since our founding in 2006, we have provided over $1.9M to nonprofits to help improve the quality of life for underserved women and families in Anne Arundel County.

Our CONGRATULATIONS to this year’s grantees:

  • Annapolis Immigration Justice Network - Legal Assistance for Vulnerable Immigrants in Anne Arundel County, $25,000

Anne Arundel County Literacy Council, Inc. - Operations Funding for the Continuation and Growth of Free Tutoring Programs for Low-Income Adults in Anne Arundel County, $10,000
  • Asbury Church Assistance Network - ACAN Food Pantry, $25,000 

  • Evolve KidsCare - Childcare for Parents Recovering from Substance Abuse, $25,000)

Harvest Resources in Anne Arundel County - Supporting SNAP Recipients, $25,000 
  • OIC Of Anne Arundel County, Inc. – Career Pathways, $25,000
  • Path to Hope (A Division of Downtown Hope) – Path to Hope, $5,931.22
  • Rebuilding Together Anne Arundel County, Inc. - Safe and Healthy Housing, $25,000 

  • The Complete Player Charity – Beautiful, Brilliant & Bold Leaders, $25,000


Grantee Spotlight

Start The Adventure in Reading

Start The Adventure In Reading (STAIR) partners second graders reading below grade level with volunteers who work with them one-on-one to build their self-confidence and improve their reading skills. Originally a mission project for First Presbyterian Church in Annapolis, STAIR began tutoring children at the Stanton Center in 2006. They have since grown to an independent 501(c)3 and currently run their program in 12 schools, engaging 200 volunteers and serving 100 children with an effective, AACPS-approved curriculum where students improve an average of 4-7 reading levels each year.
STAIR volunteers work one-on-one with each child for two and a half hours every week — reading to and with them; strengthening and building their literacy skills through an engaging curriculum; playing instructional games; and mentoring them as they grow in confidence and self-esteem. They help students build home libraries throughout the year and keep them engaged with reading over the summer with backpacks full of their favorite books. Each STAIR child will leave the program with at least 25 books of their own, improved reading skills and — hopefully — a lifelong love of reading. Last year, volunteers spent more than 10,000 hours with students, a reading gift valued at more than $360,000 to the AACPS system.
The generous grant received from AAWGT enabled STAIR to strengthen their program by purchasing a new curriculum, hiring a new full-time staff member, and updating their teaching resources. Their new phonics-based curriculum provides explicit instruction in decoding, encoding, fluency, and comprehension skills. Mid-year assessments showed a 44% increase in student reading skills and a 41% increase in spelling since the start of the year. They are excited to see how much more progress their children are able to make in the final semester of the program! The new site manager is a seasoned and dynamic reading specialist who supports tutors and tailors STAIR instruction to meet students’ individual needs. The grant also helped purchase attractive, organized reading carts for each site that contain leveled books, student totes with curriculum and all teaching materials, student binders, and group games.
With gratitude for the support of Anne Arundel Women Giving Together, they are shaping a brighter future for our children and our county!


Why Giving Circles are the Fastest-Growing Form of Philanthropy Right Now

By Felix Salmon, author of Axios Markets

The fastest-growing form of philanthropy in America is collective giving — where individuals, usually women, pool their funds and their decision-making.
Why it matters: This kind of structured giving provides a glimpse of what a democratic, egalitarian philanthropy looks like.
The big picture: A detailed new report from Philanthropy Together, based on extensive interviews, focus groups, and surveys, finds that the philanthropy practiced by giving circles is very different from the top-down practices of foundations funded by billionaires.
  • The leaders and members of the groups are overwhelmingly women, and often women of color. 60% of groups are entirely women.
  • The charities they support tend to be small community organizations. The giving is overwhelmingly local.
  • Rather than concentrate on metrics like “bang for the buck,” the groups tend to be more concerned with racial equity and inclusion.
  • Donations are broadly unrestricted. In the jargon, it’s “trust-based philanthropy” that isn’t tied to outcomes or specific projects.
Zoom out: One thing the giving groups tend to have in common with old-school philanthropists is a stated commitment to "change not charity." That means they see themselves at the philanthropic end of the charity-philanthropy spectrum — not giving to the needy directly, so much as building up the institutions that will create a stronger community. The giving groups themselves become part of the civic infrastructure: These are formal institutions, often with paid staff, rather than informal ad-hoc groups of friends. Members of the groups generally start to self-identify as philanthropists only after joining a giving circle, even though they regularly donated to charity beforehand. By the numbers: The number of giving circles, and the number of people who are part of one, tripled between 2007 and giving-groups-in-the-u-s/"> 2016 — and then tripled again between 2016 and 2023. Today, there are roughly 4,000 such groups, with 370,000 members. They gave away more than $3 billion over a five-year period ending in 2023. “The movement is now on a trajectory to double again in the next five years,” finds the 2024 report. Most members donate less than $1,000 per year. Between the lines: Members of the groups reported significant improvement to their physical, mental, and spiritual health as a result of joining. In an increasingly atomizing world, these groups create real community. Members also became more likely to become actively engaged in local civic institutions. “Collective giving is inherently a social, long-term, and community-based experience,” write the authors. The bottom line: “Collective giving is democratizing and diversifying philanthropy,” concludes the report.

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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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