The WGC is a fund that gives grants … it’s what we do!
We've been part of the Howard County community for over 18 years, have raised over $1 million to support our efforts from over 1,000 donors, and have given over 100 grants to nonprofits that support women and girls in our community. Since 2002 the WGC has granted over $500,000 to programs that benefit women and girls in Howard County.
This year, in addition to the $60,000 we have budgeted for funding (see below) we made the swift decision to broaden the scope of our grantmaking at this critical time in order to be as responsive as possible to growing COVID-19 community needs. We've given over $56K in emergency funds to nonprofits on the frontline of responding to the COVID-19 urgent health and economic needs of disproportionately impacted communities in Howard County - through our Emergency Response Network, our new COVID-19 Fund, and our Young Women's Giving Circle. We have also partnered with other Howard County funders to establish HoCoRespond.com, where we've leveraged our grantmaking dollars together to give over $205,000 to date to 13 Howard County nonprofits. HoCoRespond has launched its second fundraising challenge, with a goal of raising another $200,000 in five days. The application process for a second round of emergency grants opened on Monday, April 20 and applications are due on Friday, April 24, 2020.
In 2020 we will give approximately $60,000 to fund the following:
Support for Girls:
- Journey Camp for Girls Grant – a week-long summer leadership camp for girls entering 8th and 9th grade, in partnership with Maryland Leadership Workshop.
- JA Rising Women Grant– our multi-year grant supporting a 13 week after-school entrepreneurship program for girls grades 8-12, in partnership with Junior Achievement.
- Continuing Education for Women Grant – a women’s scholarship program, providing financial aid to women seeking job-related courses, in partnership with Howard Community College.
- Girl Power! Grant – a one day STEM expo for middle and high school girls, in partnership with the Applied Physics Lab and the Maryland Space Business Roundtable.
- Leadership U Scholarship Grant - funding to support a young woman to participate in Leadership U, part of Leadership Howard County.
- Young Women's Giving Circle Of Howard County Support - a circle hosted by the WGC comprised of girls in 7th - 12th grade who share the same passion: helping women and girls in need by meeting regularly, raising money, and giving grants.
Support for Women:
- HCC Continuing Education Grant - support for women continuing their education.
- Howard County Hospital Foundation Grant - funding to assist in creating a space for new mothers who have experienced a loss.
- Columbia Art Center, Dear Mama: A Black Maternal Health Art Exhibition - support for this exhibit designed to bring attention to issues impacting Black motherhood including alarmingly high rates of maternal and infant mortality and pregnancy-related complications.
- Black Philanthropy Month Grant - support for this national effort that aims to Inform, involve, inspire and invest in Black philanthropic leadership locally, regionally, and nationally.
- Emergency Response Network Grants - WGC donors address the needs of women clients identified by our nonprofit partner agencies serving women and girls in Howard County. We fund on average one ERN request per month throughout the year.
Journey Camp for Girls
Journey is a week-long summer leadership camp for girls entering 8th and 9th grade, in partnership with Maryland Leadership Workshop. This past summer had a full group of 16 girls. In 2018 we started a Scholarship Fund in memory of our beloved former Advisory Board member Cindy Hankin and gave over $5,000 towards scholarships this year. We had a follow-up Journey Tea this past August where the girls honored five amazing women. Stay tuned for Journey 2020 information!
JA Rising Women
JA Rising Women is our multi-year grant supporting a 13 week after-school entrepreneurship program for girls’ grades 9-12, in partnership with JA of Central MD. Over 100 young women have gone thru this incredible program. WGC has agreed to continue our relationship for another 3 year grant in part to a very generous donation of $25K from Bob and Bach Jeffrey, and a recently announced additional matching grant of $25K grant from the Jeffreys to continue WGC funding for the program for another three years.
Emergency Response Network
The newly enhanced WGC ERN was created 15 years ago in response to the desire of many women to provide direct help to other women in need in our community. WGC donors have addressed the needs of women clients identified by our nonprofit partner agencies serving women and girls in Howard County. The past 18 months we have sent 12 requests and raised just about $11,000 to assist women in need. We are continuing to enhance the ERN in 2020.
Continuing Education for Women
Our women’s scholarship program provides help to low- and moderate-income women seeking job-related courses, through our long-time partnership with Howard Community College. In 2018, as part of this important relationship, we held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for our newly named Women’s Giving Circle classroom in advance of the Community Foundation of Howard County's Annual Spring Party and we are proud to continue to fund this in 2020.
Girl Power! is a one-day STEM expo for middle and high school girls, that WGC hosts in partnership with the Applied Physics Lab and the Maryland Space Business Roundtable. The event features hands-on activities, cool demonstrations, and take-home material for the girls to encourage an interest in STEM careers. Girls have the opportunity to talk to professional women in STEM careers such as aerospace, computer science, electrical engineering, geology, information technology, and space mission engineering.
The 2019 Girl Power! had over 1,100 girls participate in this growing program and we are looking forward to an even larger event this year in 2020 on March 15 from 2:00 - 5:00 pm!
Young Women's Giving Circle
The Young Women's Giving Circle (YWGC) is sponsored by the Women's Giving Circle of Howard County. The group is comprised of girls in 7th - 12th grade who share the same passion: helping women and girls in need. The YWGC raises money and makes grants to nonprofits organizations in Howard County whose missions support the needs of women and girls. We meet regularly, hold several fundraisers throughout the year, and have ongoing community service and volunteer activities. The 2019/2020 Young Women's Giving Circle (YWGC) is collecting and providing feminine products to county residents in need for their inaugural year philanthropic project - join us!
WGC Grant Focus:
The WGC’s grant focus is on programs that increase the life skills of women and girls, encourage the healthy development and personal authority of young girls and raise the awareness of gender disparities in our community. The WGC is an endowed fund at the Community Foundation of Howard County. A portion of each donation made to the WGC goes to the endowment to ensure that money to fund programs that benefit women and girls will be there in perpetuity.
- WGC does not accept grant proposals. Instead, WGC proactively identifies issues it wants to address and invests grant dollars in projects and programs for maximum impact.
- WGC works in partnership with nonprofit organizations and other organizations to advance its mission and address the needs of women and girls, as well as making grants to fund programs.
- Education-based philanthropy is the cornerstone of the WGC’s grantmaking, thus WGC sponsors and co-sponsors programs, events and activities that advance understanding of the issues affecting women and girls in Howard County.
In 2019 we gave approximately $47,000 in grants to our nonprofit partners to empower women and girls. Our 2020 grant cycle is underway: