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The Big Power of Little Gifts

The Annapolis Community Foundation’s exponentially expanded reach

An Annapolis Community Foundation grant nurtured Grow Annapolis, which helped students at Annapolis Elementary School plant an orchard.

Anne Arundel County has two Community Foundations. Both remind us that giving helps keep us strong.
    The Community Foundation of Anne Arundel is big, visible and rich with caring people.
    The Annapolis Community Foundation is, by comparison, small and relatively invisible. With a board of generous citizens, it gives small grants and start-up money to fund new enterprises within our capital city.
    Over its nine years, the Annapolis Community Foundation has supported 40 groups with $2,500 grants to launch a dream or to help sustain an established program to enhance our quality of life.
    Walking downtown, you may have noticed the vegetable gardens at the old Recreation Center on Compromise Street. They were planted by Grow Annapolis, a community gardens program that got its start with one of these grants. Grow Annapolis is now growing and recently helped students at Annapolis Elementary School on Green Street plant a fruit orchard.
    Visitors to the city park at the foot of Charles Street would be thirsty without the Annapolis Community Foundation. A gathering place for dog walkers, the park overlooks the waters of Spa Creek. But there was no water for visitors. Annapolitan Joel Dunn proposed a drinking fountain. When the city said no, the Annapolis Community Foundation supported his cause with 50 percent of the cost. Neighbors and dog walkers raised additional dollars. The result: a drinking fountain that is handicapped accessible and includes a dog bowl.
    For the past two years, the Annapolis Community Foundation has helped fund the Annapolis High School Bridge Program, a three-week program to prepare ninth-graders for success in high school.
    Many good ideas die on the vine because the costs of creating a non-profit are beyond the means of cash-starved new groups. The Annapolis Community Foundation helps them, sheltering new programs under its own non-profit umbrella. The Community Boating Program, years in the talking stage, fledged under the Foundation.
    Other efforts last only until their goals are met. Brick-by-Brick — co-chaired by former first lady Kendel Ehrlich to repair the unsightly broken sidewalk around St. Anne Church and improve the entrance to the State Capital — was one of these. In partnership with the Annapolis Community Foundation, Brick-by-Brick raised $50,000 for brick sidewalks and placed the names of its contributors in a time capsule in the sidewalk near the church entrance.
    Maryland’s Sister States Program partners with the Annapolis Community Foundation. When landslides devastated Brazil, Maryland’s Sister state, our contributions were funneled through the Annapolis Community Foundation.
    New partners include Save the Coconuts, a fund-raising program dedicated to supporting breast cancer research; a fledgling Scared Straight program run by Raynaldo Brown; and Green Drinks Annapolis.
    Low-key and out of the public eye, the Annapolis Community Foundation gets its money from generous board members and occasional small fundraisers. Yet it has helped launch many ideas that are a part of city life today — among the 40, Annapolis Arts Alliance, Box of Rain, the Clay Street Computer Learning Center, the Reason Straight Project of the Annapolis Police Department, Ron’s Barber Shop at the Lighthouse Shelter and Vision Workshop.
    Apply for a grant, make a contribution or learn more: annapoliscommunityfoundation.org; executive director Jennifer Navabi at 443-854-9256.