Montgomery Women recently presented its 2017 Rising Star Award to Anna Hargrave, Executive Director of the Community Foundation in Montgomery County. Hargrave received the award, given annually to a woman who has shown outstanding leadership, is a role model for others, and has made significant contributions to the community, at its 13th Annual Power Tea.
Also honored was Jacky Schultz, president of Suburban Hospital, who received the annual Shining Star Award.
“Our award winners showcase the mission of Montgomery Women—to advance common interest and support outstanding women in their quest for positions of leadership,” said organization president Rose Krasnow. “Jacky Schultz and Anna Hargrave are outstanding examples of what women can accomplish. I couldn’t be more delighted that we are honoring them.”
Hargrave received the award, which honors the life of visionary activist and founding member Phyllis Campbell Newsome, for her outstanding community leadership. A Montgomery County native, Hargrave is well-versed in program management, community outreach, and project development stemming from her experiences with the Office of the County Executive, Montgomery Youth Works and the Jewish Social Service Agency. In her role with The Community Foundation, she works one-on-one with hundreds of Montgomery County donors to provide them the tools, resources and support needed to facilitate their personal philanthropy.
In her inspiring acceptance speech, Hargrave acknowledged the many women leaders who have inspired her. “Particularly now in my role at The Community Foundation, I literally spend my days with passionate, generous donors who want to make a difference, and visionary nonprofit leaders working to get the job done, “she said.
In her address to the more than 100 women leaders from all county sectors—public, private, and nonprofit—at the March event, Hargrave spoke about a hard-working single mom raising two young boys, a story she said “I keep circling back to. . .that I’ve been mulling over ever since I heard it.”
“Her boss decided to reward her with a raise. Which sounds great, right? The trouble is, here in Montgomery County there is a chasm between the poverty line and what it actually takes to survive. That raise catapulted her right smack in the middle. She lost her childcare support and food stamps. Before she knew it, they had lost their home and ended up at the Stepping Stones Shelter, right up the road here in Rockville.
“But this woman—she is the absolute epitome of grit. She got herself into transitional housing and connected with Habitat for Humanity. Today, thanks to her hard work, she’s a homeowner. That woman and the thousands like her are the unsung heroes of Montgomery County, working to raise their kids and lift whole families out of poverty. I realize that this award is not recognition of past accomplishments, but rather a call to action. I understand that it’s my job to lift up and support women throughout our community, the same way you all have supported and inspired me.”
Hargrave ended with a quote from Eleanor Roosevelt: “We do not have to become heroes overnight. Just a step at a time, meeting each thing that comes up, seeing it as not as dreadful as it appears, discovering that we have the strength to stare it down.”
Chair, 2017 Awards Selection Committee