By Jenn Macris

Touchstones is honored to receive a 2019 grant from the local Annapolis-area giving circle, Anne Arundel Women Giving Together, a “philanthropic giving circle with more than 200 members who annually pool their funds and award grants to nonprofit organizations seeking to improve the lives of women and families in Anne Arundel County.” This generous $20,000 grant allows Touchstones to achieve two important goals at the Maryland Correctional Institution for Women (MCI-W) in Jessup, MD. The first is the continuation of a weekly program with women in a General Education Development (GED) class that prepares them for a high school equivalency diploma. Their work in Touchstones builds essential self-expression, literacy, and interpersonal skills.

The second is to expand and sustain programming in an Employment Readiness Workshop—an eight-week course that helps women develop and practice skills essential for gainful employment post-release. With this funding, an estimated 200 women incarcerated at MCI-W will participate in Touchstones programs over the next year. This unique and transformational program develops life, work and parenting skills, and promotes healthy decision-making, all which directly reduce recidivism. Touchstones has been invited to participate in the AAWGT Grants Showcase on Sept. 11, to highlight the vital work we do in support of those most in need in our communities. Local partnerships like this one with AAWGT allow Touchstones to develop a “boots-on- the-ground” core of friends, donors, and volunteers—an essential complement to our growing network of charitable support from around the world.