Women’s Giving Circle of Harford awards $67,520 to 14 nonprofits, highest amount it’s ever awarded

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The Women’s Giving Circle of Harford County awarded $67,520 to 14 nonprofits in the county in 2024 bringing its cumulative giving to $638,435.75 in its first 14 years. This year’s grants total the highest amount it ever awarded. Here are the details provided by the organization.

Donna Kreis, chair, of the Women’s Giving Circle of Harford County (left), and Hillary Smolenski, chair of the Grant Committee (right), present a $3,525 grant to Laura Weinstein, development director of The Harford Center, and Sherry Nolte, CEO. (Photo by Debbie Lynch)

Women’s Giving Circle of Harford County Awards Nearly $68,000, Bringing Total Giving to $638,000 in 14 Years 

The organization has provided 177 grants to 61 nonprofits serving women, families and children since its founding in 2010

The Women’s Giving Circle of Harford County awarded $67,520 to 14 nonprofits in the county in 2024 bringing its cumulative giving to $638,435.75 in its first 14 years. This year’s grants total is the highest amount ever awarded by the organization.

Since its founding in 2010, the Women’s Giving Circle has provided 177 grants to 61 nonprofits that serve women, families and children in Harford County. The 2024 Grant Committee was chaired by Hillary Smolenski.

“Thanks to a record number of members in 2023, we were able to award nearly $68,000 in grants to 14 very deserving nonprofits in 2024,” said Donna Kreis, chair of the Women’s Giving Circle of Harford County. “This year’s total distribution is the most our giving circle has ever awarded in our 14-year history, and it’s possible because of the strong support of our incredible members. The Women’s Giving Circle of Harford County truly illustrates the power of community philanthropy by engaging women of all generations to help improve the lives of women, families and children in Harford County.”

In 2024, grants of $5,000 each were awarded to Arrow Child & Family Ministries, to cover the cost and installation of adaptive playground equipment that will promote positive social interactions and will increase students’ well-being while in school; Edgewood Community Support Center, to help with the supply costs (including basic and professional clothing, underwear, socks, food, diapers, basic household items, laundry and ride vouchers) for female clients who are facing poverty and wellness barriers; and Foster the Family, to provide a monthly respite night for children in foster care and to their foster parents.  

Grants of $5,000 were also awarded to Girls on the Run Central Maryland, to help expand their program in middle school for girls in 6-8 grades; Habitat for Humanity Susquehanna, to help with 2.34 percent of a new home construction budget; Harford Community Action Agency, to assist in providing 60 back-up boxes (which will include easy-to-prepare nonperishable foods) to children over the summer when access to free lunches is not available; and to Humanim, to purchase therapeutic equipment and behavioral reinforcers for the Infinity Center.

Other recipients of $5,000 grants were Mason-Dixon Community Services, to provide eligible children in northern Harford County with bags of food to help ease the financial burden when free school lunches are not available; SPIN, Inc., to develop a women’s program and dedicated space for female members; The Char Hope Foundation, to assist with teaching residents how to produce sellable goods from what has been raised, planted and harvested from Twin Stream Farm; and The Hope Center of Maryland, to increase weekend meal service from 130 to 195 low-income Harford County students. 

Chesapeake Therapeutic Riding received a $4,995 grant for 15 weeks of adaptive riding lessons for three girls in foster care each week. LASOS, Inc., received a $4,000 grant to help with the cost of summer camp for immigrant youth to support academic and social development and aid in decreasing the “summer slide.”

The Harford Center received a $3,525 grant to purchase a new adult-size electric hygiene table that will ensure the safety of staff and participants and will also protect the participants’ dignity. 

The Members’ Choice Award, established in 2020 and presented on Giving Tuesday in November, invites Women’s Giving Circle members to nominate a nonprofit serving women, families and children in Harford County to receive a grant. Each nominator is featured in a video, explaining why their nonprofit should receive the award. The amount awarded each year is based on the Women’s Giving Circle’s endowment fund. The 2023 Members’ Choice Award, in the amount of $5,991.61, was presented to Chesapeake Therapeutic Riding. The 2024 winner will be announced on December 3.

Founded in 2010, the Women’s Giving Circle of Harford County is dedicated to engaging women of all generations in the power of community philanthropy to address the needs of women and families. More information may be found at https://www.harfordwomengiving.org/.