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Leadership Letter

It’s amazing how time flies, even in the midst of a pandemic and all that has gone with it. And as our 15th year draws to a close, our leadership team can’t thank AAWGT members enough for their patience, support and encouragement over this year.

We’ve learned a great deal as we pivoted from in-person meetings to many held via Zoom. We learned that Zoom enabled more people – members and non-members alike – to attend our education sessions. This meant we reached many new members and had more engagement with stakeholders throughout our county. A special thank-you to Susan Schneider for guiding our panelists and ensuring that the behind-the-scenes technology went smoothly.

We were thrilled to see many of our members at the Grants Showcase, as well as at the popular “Women Getting Together” events, which we were able to hold outside after a hiatus of well over a year. Committee chairs, assistant chairs and members are putting together a 2022 calendar of events that promises to be engaging and insightful. We hope you will find a way to stay involved in all that our giving circle has to offer.

Thank you to our members who attended our annual meeting and who voted for our slate of officers for 2022. The meeting provided a lot of take-aways, including a terrific explanation of our new grants process, and a description of the many aspects of charitable giving.

Congratulations to our 2022 slate of AAWGT leadership. This group of women brings considerable experience, enthusiasm and creative thinking to our giving circle. Look in this issue for a list of next year’s leadership.

Thank you again for all you do for AAWGT. Please remember that you have until December 31st to give to our Grant Fund. As we have in the past, we would love to fund one more grant in 2022 thanks to our members’ generosity.

Wishing you peace and safety this holiday season,

Elaine Shanley, President
Maryann Gosnell, Vice President

Congratulations to Our New 2022 Leadership Team

Grantee Spotlight:

Marshall Hope Corporation

Marshall Hope Corporation originated at the onset of the coronavirus pandemic with the initial intent of offsetting food insecurity, primarily among the underserved Hispanic families of Annapolis who were suddenly jobless and without support networks or public benefits. In conjunction with the West Annapolis Pop-Up Pantry, we began, in March 2020, distributing donated food such as canned goods, eggs, and tortillas weekly to 75 families. At the height of Covid, 1500 people were served weekly. Eighteen months later we see 325 families, nearly 2000 individuals, a month. We have expanded our offerings to include baby supplies (i.e. diapers and formula) along with feminine products, which are all expensive necessities for low-income families.

While donated goods have been the foundation of our mission, we realized that our expanded scope required consistent funding and budgeting to sustain operations. The grant received from AAWGT has been an important component in our ability to serve the often forgotten Hispanic community in the City of Annapolis which compromises 23% of the city’s population. As an all-volunteer organization, we are dependent upon donations and grants which allow us to further our mission of “spreading hope in the Annapolis community by providing essential resources and services to vulnerable and underserved families.”

During our drive-through distribution, each family is greeted by a bilingual speaker. They are asked about family size, zip code and baby needs. As the line progresses, each car is given toiletries based on what donations we have received, along with a pre-sorted bag of counted diapers. From here, cars are directed to one of three stations where the same assortment of goods are placed in each car. These items include: eggs, milk, rice, beans and other staples. If a family needs baby equipment, clothes, or other products, they then proceed to the baby area to receive what is currently available.

Marshall Hope continues to listen to the community regarding its needs and has recently started ESL classes along with plans for a Learning Center in Allen Apartments.

    In Memoriam

As AAWGT celebrates its 15th anniversary in 2021, we wanted to acknowledge our sadness at the loss of our departed members who have contributed to our circle and touched our lives. May each of their families find peace in the memories of their kindness and generosity as part of our collective giving efforts.

See more information on these members and others who have passed in prior years HERE.

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.

New Grants Process for 2022

AAWGT awarded its first grants in 2007 when four grantees received a total of $39,881. We’ve grown since then, and in 2021 we awarded $139,381 to eight nonprofits after receiving a record 50 applications.

Realizing that our grant program had grown tremendously over the past 15 years, earlier this year President Elaine Shanley and Vice President Maryann Gosnell asked the Grants Committee to review our process with the goal of simplifying and improving it. Susan Cook, the grants chair, contacted a number of grants-experienced members for suggestions and additional outreach included focused sessions with the Community Foundation of Anne Arundel County (CFAAC) and meetings of the Grants Committee and other interested participants in August and September

Using the suggestions gained during this process, and applying the principles of Trust-Based Philanthropy, a new shorter application has been developed consistent with our need for information. The revised, streamlined review process includes numerical scoring. This will simplify the process for both reviewers and applicants while still focusing on those grant applications which best meet our mission to improve the quality of life for women and families in Anne Arundel County. And to meet the challenge of an increasingly diverse community, the principles of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) will be embedded in our entire process.

To further simplify the process for both applicants and reviewers, AAWGT will offer a single type of grant. Our effort to reach out to newer or smaller nonprofits continues as we encourage applications from Anne Arundel County-based nonprofits with annual Gross Receipts of $100,000 or less.

There are changes to the schedule as well. In November, we provided early notice of the particulars of our upcoming grant year both on our website and by email to assist nonprofits in their planning. Our January 3, 2022, Call for Applications will include a Word version of the application and training for applicants will be offered. The deadline for the receipt of applications will be mid-February.



A Warm Welcome to our Newest Members!

Andrea Grimes Barbara Thomas

Grantee Spotlight:

Co-Op Arundel

Co-Op Arundel received a $20,000 grant from AAWGT in the summer of 2021 to be used this FY 2021-2022. The grant was made to support numerous women living in the county through an initiative called My Sistah’s Keeper (“MSK”). MSK provides women living in low income and public housing communities with an eight-week program that focuses on issues such as mental health, conflict resolution, financial literacy, and goal setting.

Participants are paired with a mentor, receive a Chromebook upon graduating, and are provided with other resources to empower them to achieve their goals. The grant paid for program facilitators and numerous resources and activities for participants.

MSK, with the support of Co-Op Arundel and grant-providing organizations such as AAGWT, has resulted in tangible positive changes in the lives of women who have graduated from the program. Five graduates who began the program without jobs are now employed. One graduate was able to move her family out of public housing and is now pursuing a degree in social work. Other graduates have become debt free. Many have begun building foundations for success including learning how to drive, enrolling in GED classes, and exploring home ownership.


We thought our readers might enjoy the congratulatory video messages AAWGT has received over this past year from leaders in our community.

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AAWGT is a 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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