Welcome to Fall!
October has always been one of our favorite months – crisp fall mornings, the trees turning colors, ending with a bunch of smiling faces wanting Halloween treats! This fall AAWGT has a lot to celebrate as our membership moves above the 300 mark and we’ve just hosted our most well attended Grants Showcase to date. Nearly 200 women and men filled the Atreeum at Soaring Timbers on September 20th to celebrate the work of our 2022 grantees and to meet our 2023 awardees. It was an exciting event and we were honored to have County Executive Pittman with us.
County Executive Stuart Pittman addresses attendees at our annual Grants Showcase.
Evolve KidsCare was established in 2022 by professionals in behavioral health who saw the need for childcare if parents were to make progress recovering from substance abuse. Because most parents work, weeknights and weekends are the times when childcare is most needed but rarely available. Evolve KidsCare provides free childcare at hours parents attend to eliminate any barriers to parents on their path to recovery.
Evolve KidsCare, with funding and support from AAWGT, opened an onsite childcare service at Community United Methodist Church in Pasadena. Twice a week, children experience a relaxed and safe space with people who understand the stresses on children whose parent(s) are in recovery. Age-appropriate play and activities are planned around children’s emotional needs.
A mother recovering from substance abuse shared, ‟It’s extremely difficult to focus in 12-step meetings when I bring my children with me. And sometimes the topics discussed are inappropriate for young children to hear. To fully focus, I need to give my full attention to my recovery.”
The 2023 Community Foundation Needs Assessment for Anne Arundel County cites lack of childcare services and ongoing substance abuse as two primary challenges. This program meets both with a dynamic approach. A full end-of-year report from this project and another site in Baltimore County should give everyone new insights into alleviation of both county and statewide issues.
For the families entrusting their children to Evolve KidsCare while they recover from addiction, we can only hope that their documentation of the need will spur many more nonprofits and agencies to develop responsive childcare to strengthen families in the county and state.
A Warm Welcome to Our Newest Members:
Julie Davis, Jackie Lubniewski, Cat Marucci, Stephanie Orr, Julie Reisinger, Ann Whitcomb, Laura Wood, and Melissa Yanowitz
Don’t forget to register for the 2023 Philanos conference in Baltimore on November 5-7. It provides a wonderful opportunity to meet and share ideas with women philanthropists from across the country. AAWGT is a co-host of this year’s conference. For information and to register: https://philanos.org/PowerUP!-Conference
The Nonprofit Center
At last month’s AAWGT Grants Showcase, County Executive Pittman thanked our members for their commitment to supporting the vital work of local nonprofit organizations through collective philanthropy. He also introduced Dr. Jennifer Purcell, executive director of the county’s new Nonprofit Center @ 41 Community Place, who will be leading the effort to build a program that, like AAWGT, will help nonprofits make a greater impact in the community.
Funds made available to meet needs during the pandemic have run dry, but the needs in our communities remain. The Nonprofit Center aims to address this issue by providing capacity-building programs and services for nonprofits so they can expand and improve their work. Created in July 2023, they are just getting started.
AAWGT Member Highlight:
Meet Ellen Shiery
Ellen Shiery joined AAWGT in 2017 and has been actively involved in the organization since that time. She was attracted by the Giving Circle’s support through the years of Anne Arundel County CASA, where she was a volunteer and, later, a board member. “If CASA is not funded, AAC children who are under court protection in foster care due to abuse and neglect, simply do NOT have advocates.”
In 2022, Ellen became a Lifetime Member of AAWGT which creates a way for a member’s contribution to keep giving through endowed funds. AAWGT currently has 19 Lifetime Members. “I plan on being a member forever, so why wouldn’t I join in this category? It just makes sense.”
“Never have I had such an opportunity to be part of a group that is as passionate or actively engaged in productive local community nonprofit and philanthropic work. Membership has been for me a welcoming, warm, and important way to get to know the community and build meaningful friendships. And there are so many opportunities for mentorship, learning, and participating—without having to over-commit yourself.” Ellen has served as assistant treasurer and is now AAWGT’s treasurer. “I enjoy participating and having the opportunity to engage with the Steering Committee, getting a high-level picture of the organization. I am grateful to all the women who have dedicated, and continue to dedicate, so much time and energy to expanding the Giving Circle and helping find so many ways to positively impact the community.”
Ellen grew up in Greenwood, Delaware (pop. 500), went to Wesley College and holds a bachelor’s degree in communications. She made the transition to the finance field early in her career, and is currently a Certified Financial Planner (TM). She has a 15-year track record as a wealth management advisor for Merrill Lynch and is part of an advisory practice that serves nonprofits, foundations, endowments, and the philanthropic individuals and families who support them. “My personal, professional, and philanthropic work is entwined.”
Ellen lives in Edgewater Beach with her husband Andrew, with whom she enjoys boating. “We have two six-month-old rescue kittens known by us as the ‘chaos kitties.’ I am an aspiring embroiderer and an amateur genealogist, tracking my own family’s past since at least the early 1800s in Tennessee, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Texas.”