As I’ve talked with people around the county, I have become deeply concerned about the large number of our neighbors who are struggling due to job loss, foreclosure, or the loss of their health insurance. The statistics bear it out—the number of Anne Arundel County residents living in poverty increased by 46% between 2006 and 2010. What has made this challenge even worse is that this increase in the need for assistance has coincided with a substantial reduction in funding for many of the nonprofits who exist to help.
In 2007, our county gave $4.88 million to local nonprofits to help them meet the needs of our residents. Nonprofit funding has been cut precipitously every year since then. Less than $1.0 million is being given to local nonprofits this year, a cut of 80% versus six years ago. And over one-third of this funding goes to just two agencies—the Anne Arundel County Mental Health Agency and the Anne Arundel County Economic Opportunities Committee. The average grant to the other 35 nonprofit recipients is only $18,200.
Most Americans want to help their neighbors who are struggling, but often don’t know how. We created Anne Arundel Cares to spread the word about the many incredible organizations that are making a real difference in Anne Arundel County.
Please visit www.aacares.org and learn about dozens of nonprofits who are making Anne Arundel County a better place to live. I guarantee you’ll learn about some new organizations you’ve never heard of before, and I am confident you’ll be inspired by the stories about how these organizations are changing people’s lives. Then please pick an organization whose work speaks to you and make at least a small donation. Your donation will go directly to the nonprofit you choose and is fully tax-deductible.
Through the generosity of our founding sponsors, Anne Arundel Cares will give three $2,500 challenge grants to the nonprofits which raise the most money on the website between now and midnight on Thursday, Sept. 13. Please support your favorite nonprofit generously this week and help them win an extra $2,500 to put towards their crucial work.
Through the Anne Arundel Cares website, you can share information about your favorite nonprofits with your friends via Facebook, Twitter and email. And if you’re really inspired, you can create your own fundraising campaign and ask your friends to join you in making a difference.
There are far too many people struggling in our county and too few resources to help them. Please join the iCare team and support one or more of the organizations making a difference through www.aacares.org.
Joanna Conti (email@example.com) is founder and Chair of Anne Arundel Cares, Inc.