Baltimore Women's Giving Circle Grants $448,000 to 20 Local Nonprofits

June 30, 2016

(Baltimore, MD 06/30/2016) – The Baltimore Women's Giving Circle will award grants totaling $448,000 on July 1 to 20 Baltimore area nonprofits serving low income women and their families. Grantee projects aim to help women move from poverty to self-sufficiency.

Grant recipients teach workplace skills, provide emergency shelter and transitional housing and offer tutoring and mentoring to women and children, says Vivian Manekin, who served as grants committee co-chair, and now is Circle co-chair. Many grantees target pressing urban problems, including domestic and community violence, substance abuse and limited access to healthcare.

Funds for this year’s grants came from annual donations of $1,100 by the nearly 450 Circle members, notes Jodi Dunn, Circle-co chair. Since its founding in 2001 by 52 Baltimore-area women, the Circle has awarded more than $4.4 million in grants to 162 nonprofit organizations serving Baltimore area women and their families. Some grants provide funds for operational expenses, while others target specific projects.

The total awarded demonstrates both the power of collective grant-making and the Circle’s commitment to helping Baltimore area women and their families thrive and succeed, Dunn says. The Circle is a fund of the Baltimore Community Foundation.

Eighteen one-year grants range from $8,000 to $20,000. The Circle also has awarded 2 two-year grants of $50,000 each to Caroline Center and Sisters Circle. 

“The $50,000 grants give recipients time to plan, implement and evaluate projects,” says Manekin. “Both organizations receiving $50,000 grants have received five previous Circle grants--a testament to their ability to provide exceptional community services.” 

Manekin and Dunn succeed former Circle co-chairs Peggy Schapiro and Penny Wald, who supervised this year’s grant-making process.

More than 109 Circle members helped select this year’s grantees, reports Anita Pomerantz, grants committee co-chair. These women reviewed 121 grant applications, and visited 80 prospective grantees to see programs in action before voting on the finalists, and selecting 20 grant recipients.

Circle members will follow grantees’ progress. The Circle offers a novel Grantee Connect program that brings grantees together twice a year to discuss topics grantees have identified as important, such as board development, budgeting, and working with news media. This program also helps grantees that serve similar populations or locales explore possible collaborations.

Read prior grantees’ success stories at the Baltimore Women’s Giving Circle website, A brief description of the new grantees follows, and includes contact information for reporters.

About the Baltimore Women’s Giving Circle

Through collective giving and collaboration, the Baltimore Women’s Giving Circle at the Baltimore Community Foundation seeks to empower women and their families in the Greater Baltimore area to achieve self-sufficiency. The Giving Circle encourages members to participate in philanthropy through education, grant making, and other community-based activities. Since its founding in 2001, the Baltimore Women’s Giving Circle has awarded nearly $4 million in grants to 152 nonprofit organizations serving women and their families in the Baltimore area. The Circle website is

About the Baltimore Community Foundation

The Baltimore Community Foundation is a private philanthropic organization created by Baltimoreans to serve the current and future needs of the Baltimore region. Representing the common interests of a diverse pool of donors who care about Baltimore, BCF uses grants, initiatives and advocacy to address issues facing the region today, while building a civic endowment to address the needs of future generations. BCF also offers donors customized support for their individual philanthropic goals, expert assistance in learning more about the causes they care about, and the opportunity to join others with similar interests to learn and give together.

More information is available online at

2016 Baltimore Women’s Giving Circle Grantees

Action in Maturity Inc.
Transportation and Social Services to Elderly Women
Grant: $20,000
Elizabeth Briscoe, Executive Director, 410-889-7915

To provide transportation to seniors who can no longer drive, but want to stay in their homes; organize social events for this aging and often isolated population; and distribute food from the Maryland Food Bank to clients living in low-income senior buildings.

Alternative Directions Inc.
Turn About Program (TAP)
Grant: $20,000
Michelle Kelly, Executive Director, 410-889-5072

To help 20 non-violent female offenders negotiate their reentry into society through an intensive one-year case management program tailored to their emotional and physical needs, including challenges related to addiction and/or after-effects of physical abuse, disintegration of family ties and lack of a support network. 

American Red Cross
Nurse Assistant Training: Creating Healthier Communities
Grant: $20,000
Scott Salemme, Chief Executive Officer, 410-624-2010

To provide partial scholarships, enabling 20 qualified, low-income west Baltimore residents to enroll in the Nurse Assistant Training program.

Caroline Center
Grant: $50,000
Pat McLaughlin, Executive Director, 410-563-1303 ext. 22

To expand certified nursing assistant and pharmacy technician career training programs to an additional site in West Baltimore.

Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Baltimore Inc.
Family Engagement – Supporting Pregnant/Parenting Foster Youth
Grant: $20,000
Nancy Kay Blackwell, Executive Director, 410-244-1465

To develop training and services to increase family engagement for former foster youth whose children are now in foster care and foster youth who are pregnant or parenting.

Episcopal Community Services of Maryland
The Ark Preschool
Grant: $20,000
Lauren Sampson, Acting Executive Director, 410-467-1264 ext. 508

To enable the preschool to serve forty homeless 3- and 4-year-olds—double its current capacity—and provide school readiness, language instruction, and other supportive services.

Foundation for Baltimore Leadership School for Young Women
Grant: $20,000
Shanaysha Sauls, CEO, 443-642-2048

To deliver a college preparatory education to predominantly African-American girls in grades 6 to 12 at all-girl public charter school in Baltimore City

General Operations and Eviction Assistance for Women and Children
Grant: $8,000
Lin Romano, Chief Operating Officer, 410-433-2442 ext. 12

To provide supportive services to help women with children who need assistance with short term emergency rent, comprehensive career counseling and job searching.

Human Right to Housing Project, Public Justice Center Inc.
Grant: $20,000
John Nethercut, Executive Director, 410-625-9409 ext. 238

To help women and their families stay in their homes by providing legal advice, educating them about their rights and advocating for them in the courts.

International Rescue Committee in Baltimore
Refugee Women’s Economic Empowerment
Grant: $20,000
Ruben Chandraseker, Executive Director, 410-558-3257

To provide 40 newly arrived refugee women in Baltimore City with the skills and knowledge to live an economically self-sufficient life in the United States.

Kids Safe Zone General Operations, Maryland Community Health Initiatives
Grant: $20,000
Blaize Connelly-Duggan, Executive Director, 667-309-6650

To provide developmentally appropriate services and recreation six days a week to children and adolescents, aged 5 to 17, at a West Baltimore center.

Loving Arms Inc.
Grant: $20,000
Cindy Williams, President/CEO, 443-415-1174

To provide emergency shelter, transitional and supportive housing and other services to runaway and homeless individuals aged 12 to 21 years, and help them become contributing members of the community.

Marian House
Transitional Supportive Housing for Homeless Women
Grant: $20,000
Katie Allston, Executive Director, 410-467-4120

To help provide psychiatric coverage for medication management, and services of a recently hired licensed clinical social worker.

Maryland Center for Veterans Education and Training Inc.
Grant: $20,000
Jeffery Kendrick, Executive Director, 410-576-9626

To help provide 30 homeless women veterans housing and supportive services that range from substance abuse treatment to job placement.

MCE Women’s Business Center, Maryland Capital Enterprises Inc.
Grant: $20,000
George Koste, Executive Director, 410-546-1900

To provide one-on-one business consulting, education, access to business capital, and networking opportunities to low income, female entrepreneurs.

My Sister’s Place Women’s Center, Associated Catholic Charities Inc.
Grant: $20,000
William McCarthy, Executive Director, 410-547-5333

To serve more homeless women and their children three nutritious meals, seven days a week; train women to become job-ready and help them obtain employment; assist women with securing transitional or permanent housing; and link women to health and mental health services.

Sisters Circle
Capacity Building Initiatives
Grant: $50,000
Heather Harvison, Founder and Executive Director, 410-630-1223 ext. 1

To expand its after-school program and pilot a summer leadership program, enabling the organization to increase the number of girls it serves from 125 to 250.

St. Mary’s Outreach Center
Grant: $20,000
Sandra Simmons, Executive Director, 410-366-3106

To help low income seniors in Baltimore ZIP code 21211 gain access to benefits including Medicaid, energy bill payment assistance, water bill reduction, food stamps and housing subsidies.

Thread Inc.
Grant: $20,000
Sarah Hemminger, CEO, 410-493-2363

To deliver highly personalized support to an additional 48 high school students dealing with academic and behavioral challenges for all four  years of high school and six  years beyond.

Youth Empowered Society
Employment Pipeline
Grant: $20,000
Lara Law, Program Director, 410-235-7744

To provide employment opportunities and educational services to 50 young women living in temporary housing.


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