2021 Women & Girls Fund Award Recipient
Julie Lowe, a native of Westminster, Maryland, learned to love gardening and helping others at a young age. Both interests have played a significant part in her life – – as the owner of Sun Wild Gardens, a landscape design and maintenance business, and as Executive Director of Talbot Interfaith Shelter.
Julie learned about the problem of poverty and homelessness in our community through the experiences of a friend with whom she worked on a landscaping project. A talented, healthy, and intelligent young man, several unfortunate circumstances set him on the path to homelessness. Once homeless, he quickly learned no local services were available to help single men without a diagnosed health or substance abuse problem.
In 2008, Julie joined TIS’s Steering Committee, when the shelter was an all-volunteer effort moving people, cots, and supplies from one church to another every few weeks. She became Executive Director in 2014, when the larger and more stable organization opened its first permanent shelter in a former bed and breakfast called Easton’s Promise, In Easton’s Historic District.
With Julie’s compassionate, committed leadership, TIS created the innovative S4 Program (Shelter, Stability, Support, Success), which, rather than simply providing temporary shelter, is aimed at facilitating sustainable change through rigorous case management, educational programming, and transitional housing. And, in January 2020, TIS purchased a second large Victorian house, next door to Easton’s Promise, to support even more individuals in need.
One of the things that is so impactful to Julie about TIS is the way that the community at large has embraced its mission and works together in support of its guests. Julie says, “I couldn’t imagine anything much more difficult and demoralizing than not being able to maintain a roof over my head and food to eat, and having people look down on me for being in that situation. I am both proud and humbled to be a part of helping people to overcome their challenges and build successful lives. It is my passion and my calling.”