McAllister, Cox honored by Women & Girls Fund

By BETHANY ZIEGLER, The Star Democrat

EASTON — “I want to grow up to be Mary Lou McAllister,” Alice Ryan, founder and board member of the Women & Girls Fund, said at the group’s 12th anniversary spring luncheon Monday, April 28.

Held at the River House at Easton Club, the event’s lead corporate sponsor, the afternoon saw two local women honored and 16 grants totaling $38,950 awarded to Mid-Shore organizations.

Mary Lou McAllister was the recipient of the 2014 Women & Girls Fund Award for her work to improve the lives of children and families in St. Michaels. McAllister, who also was presented with proclamations from both houses of the Maryland General Assembly, founded Christmas in St. Michaels, convinced Easton Day Care — now Critchlow Adkins Children’s Centers — to build a St. Michaels site and persuaded Talbot County’s Public School superintendent at the time to provide a portable classroom for the day care program for free.

McAllister also serves on the boards of the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum, the the Academy Art Museum, CASA of Talbot and Dorchester counties, St. Michaels After School and Critchlow Adkins Children’s Centers. She also is board president of the Children’s Home Foundation, president and endowment committee chair for the Bay Hundred Pool Committee — built and funded by Christmas in St. Michaels — and a vestry member at Christ Church.

McAllister said she was touched by the award, and gave credit to her friends and those who had supported and worked with her in all of her efforts.

“(We found) wondrous things that we thought that should be in our town. And I am so grateful to them and I thank them with all my heart,” McAllister said. “This award would not be happening today without you all.”

Also recognized was Kelley Phillips Cox, founder and president of the Phillips Wharf Environmental Center. Cox was presented with a proclamation from the Maryland House of Delegates and a check for the center from the fund’s “Honor Someone Special” donation program, which allows supporters to make contributions in the name of relatives and friends.

According to the Women & Girls Fund, this will bring its 12-year grant total to nearly $380,000, money that has gone to 62 different Mid-Shore organizations for programs that benefit the needs of women, girls and families.

A representative from each of this year’s grantees came forward to accept the check as the chairmen of the fund’s grants committee, Hilary Spence and Beth Spurry, read a brief description of what they were funding.

The grant recipients were Carpe Diem Arts Outreach Fund, Chesapeake Multicultural Resource Center, Chestertown RiverArts, Community Mediation Upper Shore, Echo Hill Outdoor School, For All Seasons, Healthy Families Mid-Shore, Ladies of Nia, Mid-Shore Community Mediation Center, Mid-Shore Pro Bono, Partners in Care, Rebuilding Together Caroline County, Rebuilding Together Kent County, Soar in the Saddle Horsemanship Program, Talbot Interfaith Shelter and Talbot Partnership for Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Prevention.