Baltimore Women's Giving Circle awards $440,000 to 19 local nonprofit organizations

June 30, 2017

(Baltimore, MD 06/30/2017)–The Baltimore Women's Giving Circle will award program and operating grants totaling $440,000 on July 1 to 19 Baltimore area nonprofits that serve low-income women and their families. Grantee projects aim to help these women improve their health, education, self-sufficiency and overall well-being.

BWGC LogoGrant recipients provide emergency shelter and transitional housing, medical and dental care, tutoring for adults and children, job training, mentoring, and other services, notes Vivian Manekin, Circle co-chair. They aid frequently underserved populations, including incarcerated women, homeless children, and women who have experienced domestic violence. 

Funds for this year’s grants came from annual donations of $1,150 by 432 Circle members and gifts to the Circle, reports Jodi Dunn, Circle-co chair. 

The Circle is a fund of the Baltimore Community Foundation. Since its founding in 2001 by 52 Baltimore-area women, the all–volunteer Circle has awarded more than $4.86 million in grants to 166 nonprofit organizations serving Baltimore area women and their families. Some grants provide funds for operational expenses, while others support 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 awarded 17 one-year grants of $20,000 each, and 2 two-year grants of $50,000 each. The latter go to the Goucher Prison Education Project and St. Vincent de Paul of Baltimore’s Sarah’s Hope Family Center.

“The $50,000 grants give recipients time to plan, implement and evaluate projects,” notes Anita Pomerantz, grants committee co-chair. “Both $50,000 grantees have received previous Circle grants, a reflection of their ongoing success as community service providers.” 

The committee evaluating this year’s proposals enlisted 120 Circle members, reports Sylvia McGill, grants committee co-chair. These women reviewed 104 grant applications, and visited 54 prospective grantees to see programs in action before selecting 38 finalists. They presented the finalists to the Circle membership at large, which then chose the 19 grantees.

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

Read prior grantees’ success stories at the Baltimore Women’s Giving Circle website, See list of 2017 grantees below; the list includes media contact information. 

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 more than4.86 million in grants to 166 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

2017 Baltimore Women’s Giving Circle Grantees

$50,000 Two-year grants:
Goucher Prison Education Partnership
General Operations
Grant: $50,000
Amy Roza, Director, 410-337-6033
To provide a college education to nearly 100 female inmates housed in Maryland’s prisons, giving these women the foundation for future employment and a better life for themselves, their children and our communities. Participants are far less likely to return to prison than non-participants. In 2016, Goucher received permission to confer a bachelor’s degree to prison students. The Goucher Prison Education Partnership boasts an admirable 88 percent retention rate.

St. Vincent de Paul of Baltimore
Sarah’s Hope Family Center
Grant: $50,000
Mary Rode, Chief Operation Officer, 410-662-0500
To help support a comprehensive family shelter that provides 24 hour services for 150 homeless families in the Sandtown-Winchester area of Baltimore City each year. Sarah’s Hope strives to keep families together, helping them attain permanent housing after an average stay of four months. Children’s services include onsite therapeutic day care and Early Head Start, school enrollment and tutoring, onsite primary health care with referral to offsite providers for specialty care, and daily recreation and social activities designed to promote social skills and reinforce learning. Sarah’s Hope also offers an academically enriched summer camp. 

$20,000 One-year grants:

Asylee Women Enterprise
General Operations
Grant: $20,000
Tiffany Nelms, Executive Director, 443-683-1562
To provide housing, counseling, and community to asylum seekers until they obtain work permits and/or approval of their asylum case, which often takes a year or more. 

Miriam Lodge Weekend Backpacks for Homeless Kids
Grant: $20,000
Sandie Nagel, 410-358-0181
To provide food for the weekend for homeless children, and expand the number of Baltimore schools served from six to eight, benefiting more than 150 children every week throughout the school year. 

Baltimore Outreach Services

Journey to Independence and Self Sufficiency for Homeless Women and Children
Grant: $20,000
Karen Adkins, Executive Director, 410-752-7179
To help homeless women and children acquire stable housing and the resources to remain housed and independent, via counseling, treatment for mental and physical health needs, education, and job preparation and placement.

BioTechnical Institute of Maryland
General Operations
Grant: $20,000
Kathleen Weiss, Executive Director, 410-752-4224
To train 10 single mothers, who are unemployed or underemployed, for careers in laboratory science.

Building Science Technology and Education Partnerships
General Operations
Grant: $20,000
Debra Hettleman, CEO, 410-308-4800
To enable high achieving Baltimore City high school students from disadvantaged backgrounds to pursue careers in the science and technology fields through a structured program of internships, seminars and mentoring, and increasing the number of students served from the present 72 to 150.

CASA of Baltimore County
Fostering Futures Expansion – Women’s Initiative
Grant: $20,000
Jennifer Stine, Executive Director, 410-828-0515
To add and train staff to advocate for the needs of older youth in foster care, and to identify and work to overcome problems that hinder self sufficiency when youth age out of foster care.

Health Care for the Homeless
Caring for Homeless Children and Young Families
Grant: $20,000
Keiren Havens, Chief Strategy Officer, 410-837-5533
To provide primary pediatric and family medicine services, along with behavioral healthcare, to young women and children without homes via the Health Care for the Homeless’ mobile clinic.

Higher Achievement
General Operations
Grant: $20,000
Traci Callender, Executive Director, 410-752-7753
To help expand a year-around academic program, from the present 180 Baltimore City middle school students to 285 students. The program aims to help middle school students prepare for success in high school, college and beyond.

Mission of Mercy
Medical and Dental Care for Women
Grant: $20,000
Linda Ryan, Executive Director, 301-682-5683
To provide medical and dental care to 400 uninsured women and children via Mission of Mercy’s mobile clinic in Reisterstown. Services include physician/dentist visit, laboratory testing, prescription medications and referrals for free care from cooperating specialists.

Moveable Feast
Culinary Training Program
Grant: $20,000
Christian Metzger, Executive Director, 410-327-3420
To provide high quality, culinary arts training to 13 women to enable them to find employment in the food services industry.

Northwest Hospital Center
DOVE: Social Work and Emergency Client Assistance
Grant: $20,000
Brian White, President, 410-521-5995
To provide evening and weekend individual counseling and group therapy to women who have experienced domestic violence via a part time social worker, and to supplement emergency funds for clients who need help paying for rent, transportation, food, diapers, and other necessities.

Pro Bono Counseling Project
Terapias para Familias, Parejas e Individuos
Grant: $20,000
Barbara K. Anderson, Executive Director, 410-825-1001
To expand its Spanish language therapeutic counseling services by increasing its outreach to Latina focused metropolitan organizations, matching 60 Latina women and their families with volunteer therapists and community services; recruiting an additional 10 Spanish-speaking, culturally knowledgeable therapists; and providing a continuing education workshop for more than 30 licensed clinicians to increase awareness of the unique clinical needs of Latinas who have experienced abuse.

Reading Partners
Reading Partners Baltimore: One on One Literacy Tutoring for Low Income Students
Grant: $20,000
Jeffrey Zwillenberg, Executive Director, 410-585-7600
To expand this community-driven literacy tutoring program from 19 to 20 Baltimore City elementary schools, serving more than 1,100 students, and pilot an innovative summer reading program to cement student proficiency in reading, and help prepare students for the 2017-18 school year.

St. Francis Neighborhood Center
Power Project
Grant: $20,000
Christi Green, Executive Director, 410-669-2612
To supplement a tuition-free after school program for 48 children ages 5 to 15 in Baltimore’s Reservoir Hill area, and provide academic tutoring, art instruction, life skills and mentoring.

The Enoch Pratt Free Library
Enoch Pratt Free Library Book Buggy
Grant: $20,000
Heidi Daniel, President and CEO, 410-396-5395
To supply books, computers, educational materials, and enrichment activities to Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Centers and daycare facilities, helping children in underserved communities develop pre-reading skills and boosting mothers’ skills as their child’s first and most significant teacher.

The Samaritan Women
Vocational Baking Enterprise
Grant: $20,000
Jeanne Allert, Executive Director, 443-858-7796
To provide vocational training and paid employment in a real world baking business for women who have endured being trafficked in domestic sex trafficking, as part of a comprehensive residential treatment program.

Urban Alliance Foundation
High School Internship Program - Baltimore
Grant: $20,000
Eshauna Smith, Chief Executive Office, 202-459-4300
To provide workforce development, financial literacy, and life skills training to 50 low-income Baltimore female high school students via workforce and college readiness classes, a 10-month paid internship, case management services and post-graduation career guidance.


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