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We all have values and interests that are important to us. The problem many people face is getting the funds to back these causes. This week’s Friday Focus, The Community Foundation of Anne Arundel County (CFAAC), builds a caring community of donors and works with the community to give back, in order to help local organizations make a lasting and positive impact. They help connect people in the community with a variety of local causes and issues, while providing financial support through their grant making, leadership and other resources. If you are looking for different ways to give, keep reading and find out all the amazing things the CFAAC does, straight from Amy Francis, Director, External Relations of The Community Foundation of Anne Arundel County.

Q: Tell us about your organization (who you serve, what you do, etc.)

A: The Community Foundation of Anne Arundel County (CFAAC) is a tax exempt, 501(c)(3), publicly supported philanthropic organization with the long term goal of building permanent, named funds that provide support to local nonprofit organizations through grants and special projects.

Established in 1998, CFAAC is one of the largest funders of nonprofit organizations in Anne Arundel County. We have over $7 million in assets under management, 93 diverse funds, and we make nearly $1 million in grants annually.

CFAAC strives to assist donors in achieving their philanthropic goals through the creation of new funds and through contributions to existing funds, reflecting our mission; to connect people who care to contribute to causes that matter.

Q: What is your favorite “moment” (example of how your organization helped)?

A: It’s not really a favorite moment, but more a favorite day…

The Community Foundation of Anne Arundel County (CFAAC) proudly hosts the annual Celebration of Philanthropy Awards Luncheon in November. The purpose of the luncheon is to celebrate philanthropy and create awareness about local issues and opportunities in our community. For over 15 years, awards have been presented at this one day event to individuals, families and businesses who demonstrate exceptional generosity by donating their time, talent and financial resources. It is an honor for CFAAC to recognize those who play a key role in providing support to local nonprofits that are making a difference in Anne Arundel County.

Q: What is your biggest challenge?

“What is a Community Foundation?” The biggest challenge identified by CFAAC is overall brand awareness. We want all Anne Arundel County residents to know who we are and all the different ways we can partner with them to create a lasting positive impact on their community.

Q: Are there any upcoming events?

A: In addition to our Celebration of Philanthropy Awards Luncheon on November 18, 2016, CFAAC offers multiple networking and educational opportunities for our fund holders and donors as well as capacity building trainings to help strengthen our local nonprofits. Trainings and events are listed on our website www.cfaac.org

Q: How can people get involved with your organization?

A: It’s easy…

  • Create Your Own Fund at CFAAC
  • Join a Giving Circle – Anne Arundel Women Giving Together or NextGen
  • Support a Grant Program – Ladders to Success, Help Our Neighbors, Grants 4 Teachers, Strengthening Nonprofits
  • Attend or Sponsor and Event – Celebration of Philanthropy, Inspiring Philanthropy Series, Anne Arundel Estate Planning Council, Anne Arundel Funders Roundtable
  • Leave a Legacy - Put CFAAC in your Will
  • Make a Gift to Support CFAAC - Please consider supporting our efforts.

 There are even ways for your business to get involved. Our knowledgeable staff is happy to meet with you and share more, please call us at 410.280.1102 or visit CFAAC.


Gracie’s Gowns, was created with a truly unique and personal story. This moving organization hand-makes hospital gowns for children up to 18 years old with chronic and life-threatening illness and then delivers them to that child. They reach out to children in need not only locally but overseas as well. Many children spend extensive time in a hospital while undergoing treatment, procedures and more and to receive a special and fun hospital gown to wear during their time there can make the world of a difference to them. The gowns are made customizable to fit each child, as well as, personalized with that child’s name, they even make the snaps MRI proof. We were fortunate to catch up with Jessica Kidd, founder and maker of Gracie’s Gowns, as this week’s Friday Focus to learn more about her passion-filled organization and some of the exciting events taking place this year. Help give these children something to smile about when you help support Gracie’s Gowns.

Q: Tell us about your organization (who you serve, what you do, etc.)

A: Gracie’s Gowns is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that makes and distributes homemade, personalized and fun hospital gowns to children with chronic and life-threatening illnesses. We serve any child under the age of 18 years old that is diagnosed with such a condition regardless of where they live. The majority of the families we have served live outside of the Commonwealth of Virginia, however, we are expanding almost weekly in our own back yard essentially. We’ve sent gowns internationally as well all the way to Australia and a little of everywhere in between.

Q: What is your favorite “moment” (example of how your organization helped)?

A: Personally, my favorite moments are when I am able to deliver a gown in person to a child and family in the hospital. I’ve driven as far as 2.5 hours in one direction just to deliver a gown because the family was at the National Institute of Health for several weeks’ worth of testing and they actually lived in Hawaii. Being able to deliver a gown to a family’s home or in the hospital is the best. I get to meet these precious children, learn more about their diagnosis and about them and their family…it becomes more than just a mission. It makes everything so much more personal and real and beyond worth the sleepless nights and needle stabs from the sewing machines.

Q: What is your biggest challenge?

A: Our biggest challenge is just letting folks know we exist, being able to put on a local larger-scale donation drive or even a live event is extremely difficult because many people have no idea who we are, much less what we do. As a result of that consistent donations and financial support is also a struggle. We have such a large outreach of families and can raise funds when absolutely needed, but we’d love to be to the point where we don’t feel like we have to beg in order to keep gowns happening. We’d love to get an actual office to help increase our volunteer basis, but again that goes back to the consistent funding issues.

 Q: Are there any upcoming events?

A: Right now, we have a Giving Back Party at the new Kendra Scott store opening in Short Pump Towne Centre on July 19th, 2016 from 6 p.m. – 8 p.m., where people can come to the store enjoy some refreshments, meet me and see some gowns up close and personal. All orders placed that night or through our pre-order forms that include anything on Kendra Scott’s website will allow for 20% to be donated back to Gracie’s Gowns. We also have a few upcoming online events, we will be hosting a virtual 5K in the fall (a live 5K event too if we can get the venue and support), our second annual quilt raffle, a month long raffle of prizes in November and then our sponsorship puzzle too! All of which happens on our website under events.

 Q: How can people get involved with your organization?

A: We’re looking for local volunteers to assist with sewing, or even hosting a sewing day for the community. Spreading the word about our organization to others will help bring in more supporters, so we can open an office and allow more people to come in and sew at the times that work best for them without having to coordinate various pick-ups and drop-offs. We also collect items all year long for a variety of things such as our Christmas boxes for our families, which are mailed out in December. We also do items to be included with gown requests, surprise boxes to families and things of that nature.