Women & Girls Fund of the Mid-Shore celebrates ‘the power of pooled resources’
EASTON — The theme of the Women & Girls Fund is “the power of pooled resources,” and a banquet room filled with more than 200 individuals who gathered on a breezy Monday, April 30, were living symbols of the many who — together — can accomplish the monumental.
They gathered for the fund’s 16th annual Grants and Awards Luncheon at the Milestone in Easton to celebrate local individuals and organizations who are making a difference.
“This a very feel-good event,” Talli Oxnam said. She is president of the board of directors of the Easton-based Women & Girls Fund.
The local philanthropy awarded checks totaling $45,996 to 13 Mid-Shore organizations and honored two women whose personal or professional efforts help fulfill the mission of the Women & Girls Fund: to improve and advance the lives of local women and girls.
“The event brings together an extraordinary group of people and celebrates the importance of improving the lives of women and girls every day on the Mid-Shore,” said co-founder and former board member Meg van den Berg. “Every year, the fund highlights those organizations and community leaders that truly make a difference.”
According to the Women & Girls Fund website, the endowed fund was established in 2002 as a grassroots effort of a group of women who wanted to address significant local problems effectively. “The first donation was received that year and — after working with the United Fund and Mid-Shore Community Foundation to learn about the region’s needs — (the) first grants were given in April of 2003.”
Alice Ryan, Bettie Baer, Kirby Parker, Emilie Robinson, Carolyn Thornton and Meg van den Berg founded the Women & Girls Fund.
Oxnam extended a “heartfelt thank you to Meg van den Berg and Ginny Berliner. These two ladies are a true blessing to the Fund and to this event. Without their tireless efforts and positivity, we would not be sitting here today.”
At the luncheon, the fund honored two Mid-Shore women with the Women & Girls Fund and Sheryl V. Kerr Awards. The annual awards recognize community members whose personal or professional efforts improve and advance the lives of local women and girls.
Artist Sue Stockman of St. Michaels is the 2018 recipient of the Women & Girls Fund Award, which has been given since 2004. Robbin Hill of Easton is the 2018 recipient of the Sheryl V. Kerr Award. Given in memory of the late Sheryl V. Kerr by the Grayce B. Kerr Fund, the award first was given in 2016.
Women & Girls Fund co-founder and board member Alice Ryan introduced Stockman and Hill.
The Women & Girls Fund Award “goes to someone who consistently demonstrates her commitment to improving the lives and opportunities for women, girls and families,” Ryan said.
“An accomplished artist, Stockman is well known for her creative jewelry and mosaic murals, as well as for leading educational art classes and workshops for participants of all ages that bring a sense of curiosity and discovery to her students,” Ryan said.
“And quietly, she is alert to, and personally committed to, providing compassion and care to friends and strangers in need, whether sitting by a hospital bed with a friend or leading an art workshop for incarcerated women,” Ryan said.
“Her dedication, integrity, compassion and generosity of time and talent demonstrate her commitment to improving the lives and opportunities for women, girls and families, the hallmark of this annual award,” Ryan said. “Sue has graciously requested that the $500 donation that accompanies this award go to the Carpe Diem Arts Outreach Fund.”
“I’m filled with gratitude, especially as I look across the room and see the people that have inspired me and been amazing examples for me,” Stockman said.
“I’ve been thinking about weaving a lot,” Stockman said. “And this award feels a little like pulling a thread out of something that has been woven in recognizing the one thread when, actually, every single person that has shown up that has known me and — a ton that haven’t have — created a space where I can do the work that I love to do.”
Robbin Hill, the chief program and scholarship officer at the Mid-Shore Community Foundation, “has built a strong network throughout the non-profit community, where she is known for her enthusiasm and tireless advocacy for the Mid-Shore region,” Ryan said.
“Robbin and the fund have grown up together,” Ryan said. “It’s really quite amazing if you’ve ever worked with Robbin. She knows every nonprofit in the five counties. She knows whom to call. She’s an amazing person.”
Ryan said Hill’s efforts exemplify the mission of the fund. “With vision and an understanding of the needs of the community — along with a kind and caring approach to helping others — she excels at developing grants that meet people where they are to do the most to improve their lives,” Ryan said.
“It’s a true privilege to do this work, and it’s a real honor,” Hill said as her eyes filled with tears.
State Sen. Addie Eckardt, R-37-Mid-Shore, and Del. Johnny Mautz, R-37B-Talbot, presented greetings and congratulatory citations from their fellow legislators to Stockman and Hill.
“It’s always fun to recognize those folks who have been behind the scenes making it all happen for so many years, so God bless you,” Eckardt said.
This year’s grants were awarded to two new applicants and 11 nonprofits that have been awarded Women & Girls Fund grants at least once before. New grantees were the Kent County Department of Social Services Child Advocacy Center and Mid-Shore Restoring HOPE in Women.
Repeat recipients were Compass Regional Hospice, Destined to Rise, Echo Hill Outdoor School, For All Seasons, Horizons Kent and Queen Anne’s, Mid-Shore Council on Family Violence, Pickering Creek Audubon Center, Rising Above Disease (RAD), St. Martin’s Ministries, Talbot Mentors and Tilghman Area Youth Association.
“Our grants do more than just fund unmet needs in the community. We love to support innovation and collaboration from the agencies who are on the ground making sure those needs are met,” said Board Treasurer Beth Spurry, who is the grants committee co-chairman, along with Emily Sparks and Susan Wilford.
“More than ever, we are thrilled to see our grantees thinking of new and more effective ways to improve the lives of women and girls on the Mid-Shore,” Spurry said.
The 2018 awards bring the fund’s overall grant total to $553,018, with 212 grants given to 84 organizations whose programs benefit women and girls in one or more of the five Mid-Shore counties of Talbot, Caroline, Dorchester, Kent and Queen Anne’s.
“The grants will have a far-reaching impact going to programs focused on a variety of ages and needs, including support for women in addiction recovery, grief counseling for children and families, summer camp experiences and after school and summer enrichment programs,” van den Berg said.
“We are thrilled to showcase those organizations and community leaders that truly make a difference in our community,” Oxnam said.
The following organizations and programs received grants from the fund:
• Compass Regional Hospice Hope and Healing Center, $5,000
• Destined to Rise Coalition “Stepping Up Our Game” Summit for Mid-Shore girls, $5,500
• Echo Hill Outdoor School, Summer Leadership Program, $3,600
• For All Seasons, CARESS professional workshop, $3,000
• Horizons of Kent and Queen Anne’s, part-time school psychologist, $1,200
• Kent County Department of Social Services Child Advocacy Center, National Children’s Alliance Leadership Conference, $2,800
• Mid-Shore Council on Family Violence, Education & Empowerment Support Groups, $2,000
• Mid-Shore Restoring HOPE in Women, Fed-Up Rally in Caroline County, $2,000
• Pickering Creek Audubon Center, “Camp Like a Girl” program, $3,000
• Rising Above Disease, Capt. Joe Kettinger Scholarship Fund, $3,000
• St. Martin’s Ministries, Equine Therapy Program, $4,870
• Talbot Mentors, “Send Our Girls to Summer Camp,” $2,500
• Tilghman Area Youth Association TASK afterschool program staff, $4,376
Also awarded were grants from the Daisy Fund, which provides “a way to guide a new generation into a life-long practice of caring for their community,” according to the Women & Girls Fund website.
“We strongly believe in educating our youth and the next generation about philanthropy,” Oxnam said. “The Daisy Fund is doing just that.”
With a pledge of $10,000 or more, a named fund can be established to honor a child. So far, 13 daisy funds have been opened with funds named for children aged 6 months up to 29 years old. This year, the “Daisies” were able to direct $3,150 to four grantees: Compass Regional Hospice, Destined to Rise Coalition, Imagination Library of Talbot County and Pickering Creek Audubon Center.
EASTON — “The power of pooled resources” is the motto of the Women and Girls Fund of the Mid-Shore, and they have lived up to that motto for the past 15 years.
Monday, April 24, marked the organization’s 15th annual grants and award luncheon, where 16 community organizations received grant funding during an event at The Milestone in Easton. Representatives from the 16 Mid-Shore nonprofits accepted checks totaling $43,259.
These donations will bring the fund’s overall grant total to $507,021.51, awarded to 82 organizations whose programs benefit women and girls in one or more of the five Mid-Shore counties of Caroline, Dorchester, Kent, Queen Anne’s and Talbot.
The grants went to two new applicants and 14 nonprofits that have been awarded Women and Girls Fund grants at least once before.
Each year, the Women and Girls Fund accepts grant applications from community organizations from throughout the Mid-Shore, and has, during a previous year, received up to 30 applications. The women who run the organization said they strive to meet the needs of all applicants, whether through funding or meeting their needs in other ways.
“One year, a women’s shelter was requesting funding for furniture,” said Beth Spurry, treasure of the Women and Girls Fund. “We were able to furnish their shelter with furniture from our own homes.”
“It’s not always about giving money,” Spurry said. “It’s about true mentoring, making connections and elevating them to self-sustaining organizations in the community.”
This year, the group only turned down two applicants, but Spurry said they never completely turn them away. The group will hand those applications over to the Mid-Shore Community Foundation for possible funding, or they will connect them with other groups that may be able to help them.
Spurry said helping with networking is something the group does for its grant recipients, as well.
“We try to figure out a way to link groups together that may benefit from another,” Spurry said.
Talli Oxnam, president of the Women and Girls Fund, said one group may need help writing grants, whereas another might excel at it.
“Making those connections can be beneficial,” Oxnam said.
The Women and Girls Fund was created in 2003 by Alice Ryan, and has raised more than $1 million in the past 15 years. This year, the 16 recipients of the Women and Girls Fund received anywhere between $200 and $4,360 in funding. In addition to this money, four selected applicants also received a Daisy Fund Grant.
The Daisy Fund was created to teach the next generation about philanthropy. Together, with the members of the Women and Girls Fund, the Daisy Fund members choose which groups they feel may need extra funding.
Spurry said it gives young girls the opportunity to meet the needs of these community groups that represent other children.
The Women and Girls Fund recipients were: Chesapeake College Foundation, Chesapeake Multicultural Resource Center, Compass Regional Hospice, Destined to Rise, Echo Hill Outdoor School, For All Seasons Inc., Horizons of Kent and Queen Anne’s, Imagination Library of Talbot County, Ladies of Nia Inc., Partners in Care, Rebuilding Together Caroline County, Rebuilding Together Kent County, Rising Above Disease, Talbot Mentors, Talbot Partnership and Tilghman Area Youth Association.
Recipients of the Daisy Fund were Compass Regional Hospice, Destined to Rise, Imagination Library of Talbot County and Tilghman Area Youth Association.
Tilghman Area Youth Association was awarded the largest Women and Girls Fund grant, and together with the Daisy Fund, the group was awarded a little more than $5,000.
“It is a real honor,” said Ann Farley, executive director of Tilghman Area Youth Association. “We are delighted.”
Farley said the organization plans to use the grant money to help fund its after-school program’s part-time leadership staff.
“We really try to reach out to the whole community through the kids we see in the after-school program,” Farley said.
The program makes a real impact on the students that attend, Farley said. Cassidy Stewart was one of those children, and now she is in college at Salisbury University studying education. She also is part of the leadership staff for the after-school program.
“The program had such an impact on me,” Stewart said. “It made me want to be a part of the school system when I grew up.”
The Women and Girls Fund also honored two women from the Mid-Shore who have gone above and beyond to serve their communities. Each year, the group picks a winner for the Sheryl V. Kerr Award and the Women and Girls Fund Award. This year’s awards were presented by Del. Johnny Mautz, R-37B-Talbot, and Sen. Addie Eckardt, R-37-Mid-Shore.
The Women and Girls Fund Award is valued at $500, and went to Ellen Rajacich of Easton. Rajacich has been volunteering as a fitness instructor at the YMCA of the Chesapeake since 1959.
“It’s such and honor to present you with this award,” Mautz said. “To be able to just thank you personally for everything you have done for our community.”
Previous recipients of this award are the late Lois S. Duffey, Harriet S. Critchlow, Sandra W. King, Maria Boria, Sister Patricia Gamgort, Tracy Davenport, Sandra Redd, Sara Jane Davidson, Karen Murphy Jensen, Kathleen Francis, Maureen Jacobs, Janet Pfeffer, Joy Price, Nancy Wilson, Mary Lou McAllister, Diana Mautz and Kathy Weaver.
The Sheryl V. Kerr Award is valued at $2,500, and went to Cheryl Hughes. Hughes is a breast cancer survivor and the founder of Team Wonder Woman, Saving Second Base and is accredited with raising more than $350,000 for breast cancer.
“I would have never expected anything like this,” Hughes said. “Every year, we try to do as much as we can for the people we are fighting for.”
Previous recipients of the Sheryl V. Kerr Award are Maria D’Arcy and Estela Ramirez.
Mautz and Eckardt also awarded the Women and Girls Fund with a certificate of appreciation from the Senate and House of Delegates for its many years of service to the Mid-Shore.
“We deeply appreciate what you do,” Eckardt said. “You all are one of our strongest assets.”
EASTON — The Women & Girls Fund of the Mid-Shore, a field-of-interest fund of the Mid-Shore Community Foundation, recently made a donation of $25,000 to the University of Maryland Memorial Hospital Foundation to purchase specialized equipment for the Clark Comprehensive Breast Center in Easton.
“The Women & Girls Fund of the Mid-Shore is thrilled to help fund the purchase of new equipment that provides such comprehensive services on the Shore,” said board president Talli Oxnam.
“This is the largest grant in our 15-year history, which demonstrates the value we place on the services and service providers at the Clark Comprehensive Breast Center at Shore Regional Health,” Oxnam said.
Two key 2016 events hosted by the Women & Girls Fund of the Mid-Shore raised funds for the donation: the September Ladies Golf Clinic and Tournament and the October Humor, Heart, Hope luncheon, featuring New York Times best-selling author and breast cancer survivor Kelly Corrigan.
“The donation was the fulfillment of a pledge made by the Women & Girls Fund toward the capital campaign for the Clark Comprehensive Breast Center,” regional director of communications and marketing Trena Williamson said.
“(The Women & Girls Fund) donation was designated for equipment,” Williamson said. “The center has several pieces of advanced equipment, including digital mammography with Tomosynthesis (3-D).”
According to the organization’s website, “the Women & Girls Fund is an endowed fund that channels the pooled resources of individuals into a powerful and permanent legacy serving the needs of women and girls in Caroline, Dorchester, Kent, Queen Anne’s and Talbot Counties, Maryland.”
The Clark Comprehensive Breast Center officially opened on Martin Court in Easton last June. The premise for the center is to make it more convenient for people who are in need of breast health services and diagnostics to get everything they need in one location.
The Clark Comprehensive Breast Center offers diagnostic mammography; breast ultrasound and MRI; stereotactic, ultrasound-guided and MRI-guided biopsies; excisional biopsies for benign and malignant breast disease; fine-needle aspirations; surgical care for all benign and malignant diseases of the breast; a Wellness for Women screening mammography program; a Survivors Offering Support program; and a Women’s Health Boutique for post-mastectomy garments, prosthetics and swim wear.
The Women & Girls Fund is an endowed fund that channels the pooled resources of individuals into a powerful and permanent legacy serving the needs of women and girls in Caroline, Dorchester, Kent, Queen Anne’s and Talbot Counties, Maryland.
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