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Leadership Letter

It’s hard to believe that this will be the last Leadership Letter of my Presidency and the next will be written by Sheila Onuska, President-Elect.

It has been an honor to be President of such a wonderful organization with a mission that is so near and dear to my heart. I have been very fortunate to have Committee Chairs and Assistant Chairs who not only shared the mission but have the dedication and desire to make this organization even better.

I hope you will join me on November 13th at 6:00 PM at St. Philips Church to learn about those who have been nominated for leadership next year and hear about the great things that were accomplished this year. Highlights include a 10% increase in membership—more grant money next year! Business sponsorships were secured to boost the Administrative Fund as the annual $75 add-on to membership dues no longer fully covers administrative expenses. All of our events this year were so well attended that we sometimes ran out of chairs. All of this is the result of leadership by the committees.

The most exciting initiative this year is something where YOU can participate. By the end of the year, we are hoping to raise $20,000 in additional contributions over and above membership dues. All of you know that there’s never enough money to fund the wonderful programs that are represented in the applications we receive—so we wanted to do something about that. An additional $20,000 will guarantee that at least one more grant can be awarded in 2020. And that means that one more great organization will be funded, and more women and families will be helped.

To date we’ve received contributions ranging from $50 to $1000, from members and non-members alike. Every single dollar will make a difference. We're doing well, but we still have a way to go, so if you can find it in your heart to participate, go to givingtogether.orgband click on the Donate button for the Grants Fund.b

Thanks again for the opportunity to be your President and be sure to give a warm welcome to Sheila Onuska.

Sue Pitchford, President
Sheila Onuska, Vice-President and President-Elect

Founding Member Bronwyn Belling Named Community Foundation of Anne Aundel County Volunteer of the Year

Bronwyn Belling was nominated by both the YWCA of Annapolis and Anne Arundel County and by Creating Communities. AAWGT supported the nomination with a letter of recommendation. In her nomination, Bronwyn is described as “one of the most amazing, selfless, funny, articulate, introspective, and kind people we have had the great fortune of knowing both personally and professionally.” Bronwyn also volunteers with AARP Foundation where she assists elderly individuals who were victims of predatory lending. Her most recent volunteer campaign provides Comfort Cases for children transitioning into foster care. In addition to AAWGT, Bronwyn also volunteers with Giving Back/Linda's Legacy, Maryland Environmental Trust, and Scenic Rivers Land Trust.

The Celebration of Philanthropy Awards Luncheon celebrates philanthropy in our community and the individuals, businesses, and foundations who demonstrate outstanding generosity and community leadership. The community is invited to celebrate all of our awardees on Friday, November 22nd at the BWI Airport Marriott Hotel from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Learn more or purchase tickets at

2018 Grantee Spotlight:

The Light House Homeless Prevention Support Center provided food, shelter, case management, and hope

Faith and Cody were struggling to make ends meet and staring down eviction. They were unable to make rent despite both working full time jobs, caring for two small children, and living in a hotel with money quickly running out. They moved into one of The Light House family apartments, and quickly began working with a client advocate, workforce development staff, and dedicated volunteers. With the help of th eir client advocate, they were able to apply f or healthcare, find public assistance resources, maintain a debt repayment schedule, save money, establish credit, find better paying jobs, and participate in a financial management program. Faith noted, “The s taff really follows through and helps you establish a foundation for yourself. They give you the resources and knowledge you need to never be in this situation again. I’ve been given longterm solutions as opposed to a short-term fix.”

The family also attended weekly sessions of the Nurturing Parenting Program an evidence-based program designed to help parents experiencing trauma to build nurturing parenting skills and healthy relationships. While their parents were in session, the two children participated in the child component of the program which is led by volunteers with over 25 years of educational experience. Faith was very appreciative of the Nurturing Parenting Program instruction, saying, “They give insight into child development and a d eeper understanding of why our kids act the way they do. I had my kids very young and was thrown into parenting, so I’m so grateful for the parenting classes and adult perspective.”

With the help of The Light House, Faith, Cody, and the children are now living happily in their own home. Experiencing homelessness as a child makes you more likely to experience homelessness as an adult, and thanks to The Light House, these children’s experience with homelessness was brief and they received the care needed to break the cycle.

To learn more about The Light House visit

Education Meeting Recap

October 3, 2019

Transportation: A Route to Education, Jobs, Health Care, and Food, AAWGT’s third educational program in October, focused on an issue that is seemingly intractable in our large, spread-out county of Anne Arundel.

Dr. Celeste Chavis, Associate Professor in Transportation and Urban Infrastructure Studies at Morgan State University, used maps to illustrate the inherent inequity in current public transportation systems in Baltimore City. One example is the long commute to school facing many lower income children who must use public transportation. Dr. Chavis also defined several types of equity that can impact public planning, including procedural equity, which asks whether residents who have been historically excluded from planning are authentically included when a proposed policy change or new project is considered.

Dr. Pamela Brown, Executive Director of the Anne Arundel County Partnership for Children Youth and Families, also provided maps to demonstrate the need for improved public transportation in Anne Arundel County. She reported that transportation has ranked among the three highest every year that Poverty Amidst Plenty, a county needs assessment report, has been produced.

The final speaker of the program was Steuart Pittman, County Executive for Anne Arundel County.  Pittman recognized his Transportation Officer, Ramond Robinson, who has worked tirelessly to make incremental changes that make a real difference, as highlighted by Pam Brown's presentation. Pittman thanked Anne Arundel Women Giving Together for convening the discussion, and thanked the group for its commitment to the issues of lower-income residents of Anne Arundel County.

Upcoming events our members are engaged in. We invite others to join AAWGT to participate with us.

  • No upcoming events

2019 Grantee Field Trip: Sarah's House

Open since 1987 as a safe haven for women, children, and families who are homeless or abused, Sarah’s House is located on the edge of US Army Fort George G. Meade and consists of eight refurbished Army barracks housing office space, emergency shelter, dining facilities, a day care center, and four apartments where clients can live while obtaining support services.

Executive Director Kathryn Philliben briefed the group on arrival and introduced her staff, all of whom have been at Sarah’s House for at least 12 years. Kathryn explained that incoming clients are initially placed in emergency shelter so that case managers, program assistants, and training staff can identify the type of assistance needed. Each individual or family is given their own room with a door that locks, and as many clients have not experienced such security and safety in the past they are thrilled to have some privacy. Residents’ meals are donated by churches, volunteer organizations and businesses. Stays in the emergency shelter are limited to 90 days after which clients move either to one of the apartments at Sarah’s House or somewhere in the county, where they are given financial help with rent for up to a year.

Kelly Anderson, Manager of Client Services, explained how the staff is organized to help clients with multiple issues. Case managers specialize in one area, making them more efficient in obtaining assistance, whether with legal matters, mental and behavioral health issues or employment and financial needs. Staff seeks to listen and help solve problems while also instilling self-reliance. Regarding employment, Eileen Meagher, Manager of Housing and Employment Services, explained her staff seeks first to identify client interests, as the more interested in the job being pursued, the more likely the client is to stay with the program. AAWGT grant funds were used in the past year to fund many of these training and certification classes.

Sarah’s House is always open to volunteer assistance and can use donations of twin bedding, both new and gently used. Pillows must be new. If you are interested in helping, please contact them

Upcoming Events


February 12, 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM, Location to be announced

Education Meeting

The First 1,000 Days of a Child's Life

What’s the most important thing a child has? It’s their brain. And yet, we’re not caring for children’s brains the way we care for their bodies.

The first 1,000 days of life—from conception to age three—open a critical and singular window of opportunity. The science is clear about what a young brain needs to make those connections. When children miss out on this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, we, as a global community, are perpetuating inter-generational cycles of disadvantage and inequality. Life by life, missed opportunity by missed opportunity, we are increasing the gap between the haves and the have-nots.

These failures come at a great cost to all of us. A cost measured in poor learning, lower wages, higher unemployment, increased reliance on public assistance and inter-generational cycles of poverty that weigh down economic and social progress for everyone.

excerpted from remarks by Anthony Lake, Executive Director, UNICEF, at the World Economic Forum.

Registration details to be announced.

This event is free, open to the public, and accessible to persons with disabilities.

Member Congratuations

Congratulations to AAWGT member Pam Brown, one of six local women honored on October 6 as a recipient of a Fannie Lou Hamer Award For Leadership in Civil and Human Rights. The awards recognize women from various racial backgrounds who, while not necessarily household names, have excelled in their chosen field while working diligently to improve civil and human rights in Anne Arundel County.

Thank you to our 2019 Sponsors

Signature Sponsor

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Leadership Sponsor

If your business is interested in sponsoring AAWGT, please email

Find us on Facebook:
Anne Arundel Women Giving Together |
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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