WGC eNewsletter - February 2022
2022 marks 20 years that the WGC has been working to make a difference in our community. We have so much to look forward to in 2022 as we celebrate the WGC's 20th Anniversary year and we hope you will join us along the way!
Read the full eNewsletter here
We will recognize this important year in two weeks at our upcoming WGC Virtual Annual Celebration on Tuesday, March 8, 2022 at 5:30 pm - International Women's Day, with Keynote Speaker Jeannie Infante Sager, Director of the Women's Philanthropy Institute, who will discuss "Gaps and Growth in Philanthropic Support for Women and Girls". And, we'll host a conversation on "The State of Women and Girls in Howard County" as well as provide highlights of our last 20 years, and discuss what we have planned ahead. Purchase your ticket here today.
You can learn more about our 20th Anniversary Year sponsorship opportunities here. All $500 or above sponsorships include support of our upcoming 2022 State of Women and Girls in Howard County. Many thanks to our sponsors to date!
We invite all of you - our leaders, donors, partners and the community - to help us celebrate by sending the WGC a birthday tribute via "Tribute" - it's fun, easy, and a great way to collectively celebrate 20 years of impact in the community - we would love to hear from YOU!
Be sure to connect with us on social media and read our blog to learn more about our efforts and how you can get involved in the coming months!
Looking forward to seeing you soon!
Barb Van Winkle
WGC Advisory Board Chair
give * engage * connect
The Women’s Giving Circle of Howard County is building a community of philanthropists and creating a permanent legacy to address the needs of women and girls in Howard County.
One of our stated goals is to increase the life skills of women and girls, which we are focused on through our grantmaking. We are also working to meet this goal by hosting an HCPSS Student Intern this year, recognizing that internships can provide a real-world learning experience that can help increase the life skills of young women, open doors, and shape future paths in college and beyond.
We recently welcomed our new Student Intern, Lucia Denmeade to the WGC. Lucia is a senior at Howard High School, and already has a good deal of communications, leadership, and marketing experience as the Vice President of the Howard High School Social Studies Honor Society, and through previous internship work with the Howard County Council, the District Court of Maryland, and the Maryland General Assembly.
One thing Lucia is supporting this year is our Feminine Hygiene Product Drive, where we are collecting donated products and money to distribute to the Community Action Council/Howard County Foodbank, and Columbia Community Care to distribute to women and girls in our community. We are excited to be able to help provide much-needed items to women and girls in our community.
We are thrilled to have Lucia supporting the WGC's Membership and Events Committee, and invited her to share some thoughts about interning with the WGC:
1. We are so excited you are working with the WGC this year! Why did you want to take time during your senior year to intern with the WGC?
“I have always been interested in law and this year I am researching reproductive rights as part of an independent research course. I thought I would take a step out of my comfort zone and learn more about the people that these broad legal issues are actually affecting. I reached out to the WGC in order to learn more about these issues, while also giving back to my community.”
2. Now that you've joined our Membership & Events Committee, what are you working on that interests you?
“So far, I have been working on our year-long Feminine Hygiene Product Drive. I have met with branch managers at each of the libraries in the county to set up containers for the drive, and will be working with them in the future to manage the drive year-round. This drive is very interesting to me because lack of feminine hygiene products is such an important issue for people in any community.”
3. What is the most interesting thing you've learned so far about women's philanthropy and giving to programs that benefit women and girls? What would you like us to know?
“The most interesting thing that I have been able to do so far is just to attend Events Committee meetings, as well as conversing with women throughout the community to get the drive put into motion. It has been so inspiring and the project has only just begun. The Women’s Giving Circle does so much to help the Howard County community, and I am very grateful to be a part of it.”
Thank you for your experience, ideas, and hard work Lucia … welcome!
Taking a Look Back ...
By Liz Bobo
Former WGC Advisory Board Member 2003-2007
Coming in on the ground floor of the Women’s Giving Circle in Columbia, Howard County, Maryland was a great opportunity for me to take a look back at my life as an adult woman.
I majored in literature in college at the University of Maryland. A few years later I attended and graduated from law school as a young mom with two children. Living with my family adjacent to Columbia I developed an interest in how James Rouse went about building that new town, as he named it, “a garden for growing people“.
Now, at the age of 78, looking back on my life as a young woman, I see a quite shy person. In the late sixties, a friend told me about a women’s group that gathered on a weekly basis in Columbia’s first village centers-sometimes Wilde Lake and sometimes Harpers Choice. I can visualize myself so clearly sitting on a bench in the corner of the room with my knees drawn up and my arms around my legs. I would literally pray that no one would notice me much less call my name. Yes I was very shy.
I don’t know where that shyness went, but as the years passed I became involved as a community activist in Howard County. I led an organization of neighbors encouraging our county government to avoid environmentally degrading the many stream valleys along the Middle Patuxent River which ran through the new town.
In years following, I led the community action effort to build Howard County General Hospital and give it time to get on its feet before adding competing hospitals. This led me to develop working relationships with elected representatives and community activists from other communities between Baltimore and Washington.
As I became more recognized as a community leader, I eventually campaigned to become a member of the Howard County Council, and, after eight years serving on that body, two years as chairperson, I ran and won election to the position of Howard County Executive. I was the first female county executive in the state of Maryland. There was considerable talk about a woman not being able to handle the job. That talk ceased when during my term in office, Howard County became the first in the state of Maryland to receive a AAA bond rating.
After 20 years serving as a member of the Maryland House of Delegates representing West Columbia and parts of Ellicott City, I chose to end my time as an elected official. During my last year in office, my first grandchild, Zachary, succumbed to a brain tumor which had first been discovered years before, and following several years in remission, came back.
Zachary spent a good deal of time with me during his last years, having a profound impact on my spiritual life. I attended a weeklong silent retreat led by a Buddhist monk for five consecutive years. My meditation practice has led me to a deeper more pervasive way of thinking about life.
I am so grateful to have had the experience of attending the Women’s Center in the early days of Columbia and also of being a part of the Women’s Giving Circle in later years.
I offer a deep bow of gratitude to those women who are keeping it alive.