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CFAAC Announces $162,250 to Support Programs Focused on Healthy, Thriving, Successful Children

The Community Foundation of Anne Arundel County (CFAAC) is proud to announce $162,250 in grants awarded through its Fund for Anne Arundel to six local nonprofit organizations that provide opportunities for children living in Anne Arundel County to be healthy, thriving, and successful.

“The Fund for Anne Arundel has long been a dream of the Community Foundation. We are passionate about serving our county and helping to improve the quality of life for all of its residents, now and in the future,” said Mary Spencer, President & CEO, CFAAC. “This Fund allows CFAAC to make meaningful grants to address critical issues and meet the immediate needs of our community.”

After a thorough review of the Community Needs Assessment: Poverty Amongst Plenty VI, On the Road to Progress for All, and collaborations with community leaders and funders, CFAAC determined it would focus its efforts on strengthening families by identifying and addressing the needs of children and youth through the Fund for Anne Arundel. In doing so, CFAAC is sending a profound message that Anne Arundel County holds children among its highest priorities.

Nonprofit organizations were invited to apply for grants between $25,000 and $50,000. A Grant Committee, made up of community leaders and funders, reviewed the proposals and determined which programs most closely aligned with the goals of the Fund for Anne Arundel, and selected the grant recipients. The committee reviewed more than $1.3 million in requested funding, demonstrating the overwhelming level of need in the county. “Over 30 applications with innovative ideas to meet the needs of Anne Arundel County’s children – in academics, advocacy, literacy support, food insecurity, career training, substance abuse, and any many more areas – were evaluated by the Committee. The resounding refrain was admiration for the dedicated organizations meeting the needs of children in our community, and the impact that these significant grants could bring to the children they serve,” said Amy Tate, CFAAC Board Member and Grant Committee Member.

The inaugural Fund for Anne Arundel grantees represent all areas of Anne Arundel County and have missions that support the county’s most vulnerable children. Each organization awarded provides programming for Anne Arundel County children and their families to help to break the cycle of poverty through mentorship, education, and individualized case management.  The grantees are:

Anne Arundel County CASA

Anne Arundel County CASA (AACCASA) was funded with an operational grant to support its mission to provide every child in foster care an advocate to ensure their right to a safe, loving home. Currently, they serve 85% of the children in the County Court system; this grant will help AACCASA connect with those remaining children. Federal studies have shown that children who have been assigned a CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) to advocate for them have proven to be more successful in school, work, and family responsibilities during their later lives.  They are less likely to suffer from addiction or be incarcerated.

“The support of the Community Foundation of Anne Arundel County is a resounding testament to the work our CASA volunteers do daily to help abused and neglected children. These children come to us wounded, but they cling to their hopes and dreams. It is our job to watch over them while in foster care, to make sure all that can be done is done, to help them flourish while a safe, loving, and forever home is found,” says Rebecca Tingle, Executive Director, AACCASA. “We would not be able to continue our work without the support of our generous contributors. The Community Foundation gets it! They understand that the best way to strengthen our community is by helping to strengthen our nonprofit community. We are proud to be a part of an amazing collaborative effort to build strong children and families.” 

Center of Help - Centro de Ayuda, Inc. (COH)

The Center of Help - Centro de Ayuda, Inc. (COH) was awarded a grant to support programs that serve immigrant youth and their families facing daily pressures including gang recruitment, mental health issues, and discrimination. COH is the only multi-service, educational center to serve Hispanic-Latinos and immigrants in Anne Arundel County. In CFAAC’s Needs Assessment Report, Poverty Amidst Plenty VI, On the Road to Progress for All, the achievement gap related to race, ethnicity and low-income children is clear; 45% of the Hispanic/Latino students score below average on the 8th grade standardized math assessments, and 36% score below in the reading assessments. Many Hispanic/Latino students struggle with assignments because of a language barrier and parents who lack the English proficiency at home to help them. Kirsten Clark, Executive Director of COH said, “The Fund for Anne Arundel grant ensures our ability to provide culturally-responsive programming, mentorship, education, and support in order to ensure a safe space for our immigrant youth to learn and grow.”

COH offers two youth programs: the Maria de la Paz Youth Outreach Center and the Leadership and Learning Program. Both programs offer a combination of emotional support and academic enrichment for immigrant youth participants and their families. COH recognizes that many of the experiences and challenges immigrant families face are unique, and structures its programs to support the whole family and to utilize culturally-responsive models.

Chesapeake Arts Center Inc. 

Chesapeake Arts Center Inc. (CAC) was awarded a grant to support its STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) Programs for underserved Anne Arundel County students. CFAAC’s Community Needs Assessment Report, Poverty Amidst Plenty VI, On the Road to Progress for All, documents the high poverty level in North County, with the neighborhood of Brooklyn Park having the highest poverty rate in the county. Donna Anderson, Executive Director of CAC, said, “Through the Community Foundation’s Fund for Anne Arundel, CAC will be able to serve thousands more local students and families with innovative, inspiring, and most importantly, free programs in the year ahead. We are grateful for the Community Foundation’s support for these free programs which will ensure equal access to the arts for all students and families in our community."

The Fund for Anne Arundel will allow CAC to create a new Drop-in Open Studio STEAM MakerSpace Lab. This STEAM program will provide students with access to enrichment, mentoring, education, and positive role models. It will provide opportunities for self-expression, creativity, and skill development which will forever enhance their lives. Grant funding will also support the expansion of CAC’s current STEAM MakerSpace Family Workshops. These workshops help foster collaboration among children and families through intergenerational activities. 

Kingdom Kare

Kingdom Kare was awarded a grant to support its new initiative, the West County Family Support Center-Teen Parent Alternative Program. In partnership with Anne Arundel County Public School System’s Teen Parent Alternative Program, Kingdom Kare will aide teen mothers to receive their high school diploma and develop effective parenting skills while providing safe childcare and helping to break the cycle of multi-generational poverty. Approximately 50% of teen mothers receive a high school diploma by 22 years of age. Children of teenage mothers are more likely to have lower school achievement and to drop out of high school, have more health problems, be incarcerated at some time during adolescence, give birth as a teenager, and face unemployment as a young adult.

“Teen pregnancy is on the rise in Anne Arundel County, creating negative immediate and long-term social and economic impacts to the teen parents and their children,” says Barbara Palmer, Executive Director, Kingdom Kare. “By funding this program, CFAAC is helping make transformational change in the lives of teen mothers, their children, and the community around them.” 

Start The Adventure In Reading (STAIR) - Annapolis, Inc.

Start The Adventure In Reading (STAIR) - Annapolis, Inc. was funded with an operational grant to support its mission to equip children with skills for reading, learning, and optimal development. STAIR fills a need that school reading specialists and teachers do not have the time to address, one-on-one reading time with at-risk students. STAIR currently operates 12 tutoring sites across Anne Arundel County, with most of its students participating in the county’s free/reduced lunch program. Reading well is an absolute necessity to function in our competitive society. Children “Learn to Read” through second grade. After second grade, children “Read to Learn”. Countless studies have shown that children who are not reading at grade level by the second grade, will continue to struggle to keep pace with their peers. The STAIR program is dedicated to giving its students the tools to become successful students.

CFAAC’s Community Needs Assessment, Poverty Amidst Plenty VI, On the Road to Progress for All, and the Anne Arundel County report, Readiness Matters, identify a need for literacy intervention in our communities. STAIR Executive Director, Laura Iversen said, “STAIR’s student body is among the most underserved in our community. Most of our students fall directly in the vulnerable populations identified in CFAAC’s Community Needs Assessment. We are honored to be a recipient of this grant, and to partner with the Community Foundation to help break the cycle of poverty through literacy.”

Associated Catholic Charities, Inc. (Sarah’s House Child Care Center)

An additional mini capacity building grant was awarded to Sarah’s House Child Care Center to update the organization's management system and software. "Our clients are among the most at-risk; they face behavioral health issues, unemployment, generational homelessness, domestic violence, and a lack of affordable housing. As we help them through these transitions, they trust us to care for their children,” says Kelly Anderson, Director, Sarah's House. “The grant from CFAAC will help our staff more efficiently case manage the physical and emotional needs of the vulnerable children in our care.”


History of the Fund for Anne Arundel

The Fund for Anne Arundel was created by CFAAC’s Board of Member and was funded by generous matching grant challenges from CFAAC Board Member Larry Clark and Deerbrook Charitable Trust, and CFAAC Board Trustee Jim Humphrey, along with his wife Linda. 100% of the CFAAC Board contributed to this fund and inspired hundreds of individual donations. CFAAC is dedicated to working with donors who wish to make an impact through their philanthropic support. A gift made in support of the Fund for Anne Arundel will have a true and lasting impact on the lives of children in Anne Arundel County. Donations can be made here:


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