Anne Arundel Women Giving Together, a women's giving circle, supports initiatives that improve the quality of life for women and families in our community. More>

Food Link - It Happens Every Friday

Eighteen AAWGT participants of the Spring Post Grants Field trip gathered on a bright, chilly and windy Friday morning at the Annapolis Riva Road Farmers Market, site of Food Link’s weekly distribution of free fresh produce. The purpose was to learn how this valuable program works, and see it in action.

Cathy Bird, Food Link’s Executive Director, met the group to explore the mission and share the history, challenges and successes of the nonprofit. Most importantly Cathy described the need to make low cost nutritional food available to all our neighbors and the barriers that prevent this from happening in our communities.

The program started over 20 years ago because Food Link saw a need. Donations of fresh produce from the grocery stores were dwindling.  A pilot program of wholesale charitable produce was being tested throughout the country. Led by then Executive Director Jane Morrell, a member of AAWGT, they established the first wholesale charitable produce program that was not conducted by a food bank.  Jane, Cathy and the third partner, Paula Gordon, cofounded the Center for Help as so many newly arrived immigrants were desperate to access this supply of free, fresh food but had so many other needs as well. Originally fresh produce came from the Maryland State Wholesale Produce Market in Jessup, convincing the wholesale vendors to donate the produce that supermarkets, restaurants and other food purveyors were not interested in buying.  Today they still utilize product from the Maryland State Wholesale Produce Market and The Maryland Food Bank, which transports the donated product to the Farmers Market for distribution.  In addition, they buy gleaned food from farms via MAGENT to supplement and add variety when available.  The food from the state market is free whereas there is a small per pound charge for the gleaned food.

Food Link is now one of the largest hunger relief and food rescue organizations in Anne Arundel County. This program is used as a national role model by The University of Southern California School of Preventative Medicine. If people have access to affordable fresh produce and other foods, then they are able to lead a healthier life-style, and disease is reduced. By introducing these foods into the family, children learn healthy eating habits which last a life-time. Not only is Food Link providing food for the food insecure, but also promoting better long term health. Read more>

Photo:  From left, Helen Chin, Barbara Firebaugh, Cathy Bird, Maureen Cavaiola, Judy Templeton, Alli Holstrom and Sydney Petty.

Spring Open House: "Smarter, Funnier, and with Big Hearts"

Eighty women came together at the Loews Hotel on April 8 to network, encourage other members to get involved, and persuade others to join.  AAWGT member Barbara McMahon, General Manager of the Loews, was recognized for the hotel's significant support of the evening's activities.  AAWGT President, Maureen Cavaiola opened with a comparison of AAWGT to a three-legged stool.  The seat represents AAWGT’s mission of improving the lives of women and families in Anne Arundel County. The three legs are membership, education and grant making, which fulfill the mission and create a solid foundation.   Around the seat is a band of leadership - representing the leadership of each member in her support of the mission.   It takes all of these elements, each reinforcing and strengthening the other, for the organization to be effective in changing the community for the better.

Heidi Busch, Membership Committee Chair, introduced several members to share how they came to know about AAWGT, why they joined the group, and how AAWGT has evolved during their varied tenure with the organization.  Read More>

Mary Grace Folwell, AAWGT Vice President, closed the evening with announcements about an upcoming field trip to Food Link on April 24, our voting meeting scheduled for May 13 (members only), and the Community Foundation of Anne Arundel County’s Great Give campaign on May 5-6, where individuals are encouraged to give online to their favorite non-profits.  

Leadership Message: Take Risks, Be Do-ers, Know Your Own Strengths

AAWGT’s 9th Annual Women and Leadership Event, held Wednesday, March 11, at Anne Arundel Community College, brought together three outstanding women leaders to discuss their journeys and their thoughts on leadership. Moderated by AAWGT’s immediate past president, Karen Smith, the panel included: Dr. Dawn Lindsay, President, Anne Arundel Community College; Kathryn O. “Kitty” Higgins, former White House Cabinet Secretary and Deputy Secretary of the U. S. Department of Labor; and Dr. Priscilla Zotti, Senior Professor, Division of Humanities and Social Sciences, U.S. Naval Academy.

Each of the three panelists was introduced and asked to share their own thoughts about evolving as a leader. Dr. Dawn Lindsay said that she always knew she wanted leadership and had been a leader since grade school. Her mother was a leader, with a demanding career and was a strong role model for Dawn. Kitty Higgins said that she does not consider herself so much a leader, but more of a do-er – she always knew what she wanted to do and then just figured out how to do it. In her experience, do-ers always get to do more. She commented that being the oldest of six children perhaps had a part in developing these qualities early. Dr. Priscilla Zotti began teaching at the Naval Academy when she was one of only three female faculty members; today there are more than three hundred. Priscilla spoke about the importance of collaboration in her leadership style – being a leader for her means understanding the role of teamwork. Dawn agreed, saying that she believes employers are looking for collaboration as well. She said that you learn quickly that you get a better product if you engage others. Read More>

Old & New Members Break Bread Together

 On Wednesday, February 25, about a dozen long-time AAWGT  members welcomed another dozen new faces at Jalapeños  restaurant in Annapolis. 

 The group shared details about themselves over tasty tapas and  got to know each other on a more personal level. 

 AAWGT veteran members hope to continue fostering meaningful  connections within the group through member-centered  experiences, as they grow and work together to support initiatives  that improve the quality of life for women and families in our  community. 


Living on the Ledge Part 1 - Economic Insecurity and our Elder Neighbors

Wednesday, February 11 was a beautiful winter day at Ginger Cove when AAWGT President Maureen Cavaiola welcomed more than 60 members and guests to the first general meeting of 2015.

AAWGT member Bronwyn Belling facilitated a panel featuring Jo Reed, Director of Wider Opportunities for Women’s (WOW) Elder Economic Security Initiative and Nancy Hoover, Program Manager at the Anne Arundel County Department of Aging and Disabilities (DoAD).

Jo Reed explained that WOW was founded in 1964 to help women enter the workforce and later expanded its focus to economic security across the lifespan. In 2006, WOW, working with the Gerontology Institute at UMass Boston, developed the Elder Economic Security Standard™ Index (Elder Index), a measure of the income and supports older adults need to meet their basic needs. The Elder Economic Security Initiative seeks to improve the economic well-being of older adults by increasing awareness of elder financial needs, building state partner capacity and influence, and creating lasting changes on the local, state and federal levels.

The second panelist, Nancy Hoover from DoAD, manages six programs that serve older

individuals and households living on the ledge of economic insecurity. In Anne Arundel County there are 83,000 Medicare recipients, and 8,000 Medicaid recipients. Many of the county programs are grant funded by the State and are subject to annual budget changes. For example, adult day care is not currently included in the next Maryland state budget, which might mean closure of much needed programs. Read More>


Upcoming Events

06/10/2015 6:00 PM • St. Philips Episcopal Church, 730 Bestgate Rd., Annapolis
06/17/2015 7:00 PM • To Be Determined
09/16/2015 6:00 PM • TBD
09/30/2015 7:00 PM • To Be Determined

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