Representatives from seventeen Mid-Shore non-profits will be accepting checks totaling $57,221 at the Women & Girls Fund’s Grants & Awards Luncheon on April 24. That will bring the Fund’s overall grant total to $839,523, awarded to 110 organizations whose programs benefit women and girls in one or more of the five Mid-Shore counties of Caroline, Dorchester, Kent, Queen Anne’s, and Talbot.
The grants will be presented to 5 new organizations and 12 non-profits that have been awarded Women & Girls Fund grants in the past. New this year are: Benedictine School for Exceptional Children; Foundation of H.O.P.E.; One Mission; Open Doors Partners in Education; and Radcliffe Creek School.
In addition to bestowing the grant checks at the luncheon, the Fund will present its two annual awards to the 2023 recipients as well as those who missed their moment in the spotlight during the three years the luncheon was not held due to the pandemic.
The Women & Girls Fund Award for 2023 will be presented to Jo Ann Asparagus Murray, Esq., of McDaniel. Jo Ann has lived a life of service,and has continually found new ways to benefit our community. With a combination of her legal and social work degrees she has succeeded in revamping the way families are treated in the court system. She was the first Domestic Relations Master in Caroline, Kent, Queen Anne’s, and Talbot counties, and the Family Law Magistrate in Caroline County. A lifelong volunteer, she has supported and has served on boards for many organizations including the NAACP, Talbot County Board of Education, Habitat for Humanity, Talbot Interfaith Shelter, and Kappa Theta Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority. Her dedication to protecting the rights of women and girls, and her leadership, integrity, and compassion are the hallmarks of this annual award.
The 2023 recipient of the Sheryl V. Kerr Award is Deborah Hudson Vornbrock, of Stevensville, executive director of Martin’s House & Barn. Her community development career has focused on raising funds to provide care for the elderly and infirm, support the health of women and families, and, in her current position at Martin’s House & Barn (formerly St. Martin’s Ministries), she has strategically addressed increasing access to services and program delivery around trauma informed care. Deborah epitomizes the Sheryl V. Kerr Award in every respect having excelled in her field with vision, integrity, and respect for others, coupled with her devotion, which has empowered countless at-risk individuals.
The Women & Girls Fund Award recipients in 2020, 2021, and 2022 were Carlene Wilson, Julie Lowe, and Chrissy Aull, respectively.
The Sheryl V. Kerr Award recipients in 2020, 2021, and 2022 were Peggy and John Ford, Leslie Bishop, and Beth Brewster, respectively.
“All of our award recipients are tireless advocates for Mid-Shore women and girls. Their lifelong dedication and fruitful effort deserve to be commended. Our grant recipients address a wide variety of critical needs facing women and girls in our community. We are proud to be able to support their good and necessary work,” said Karen M. Kaludis, president of the Women & Girls Fund Board of Directors.
The Grants & Awards Luncheon will be held on Monday, April 24, 11:30am, at The Tidewater Inn Gold Room in Easton. Ticket price is $60 and the event is open to the public. Registration deadline is April 12. To make a reservation or for more information, call 410-770-8347, email [email protected] or visit www.womenandgirlsfund.org.