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Towne Salute: Tricia Sanborn, Arts Council of Anne Arundel County

May 10, 2017 04:40PM ● By Nicole Gould
By Nicole Gould

Sometimes reconnecting with old friends can lead you down a path you’d never pictured yourself walking. That’s exactly what happened when Annapolis resident, Tricia Sanborn rekindled her friendship with April Nyman.

Both Sanborn and Nyman were good friends when their kids were younger, but as they got older and attended different schools, the two had lost touch. Luckily, Nyman was the head of the department for the Chesapeake Youth Symphony Orchestra at the time when Sanborn attended one of their open parent meetings.

After collaborating ideas aimed at potential fundraising efforts for the orchestra, it was like they never missed a beat. Nyman eventually left and currently sits as the Executive Director for the Arts Council of Anne Arundel County (ACAAC), where Sanborn actively volunteers.

“Tricia Sanborn is the epitome of the perfect volunteer,” Nyman says. “She has supported the Arts Council for many of our special events and programs for the past four years. Her capable skills play a critical role in our planning and execution of events. The Arts Council is thankful that Tricia is willing to support us with her talents.”

Sanborn spends approximately 15 hours a week volunteering for multiple non-profit organizations including the ACAAC and We Care and Friends. She is also a grant writer for the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation (NFFF).

Last fall Sanborn presented a grant writing workshop open to all non-profits that was hosted by the ACAAC and the Community Foundation.

“It was very, very well received and we plan to repeat it again next year,” Sanborn says. “Grant writing is kind of a science. It’s not really expert writing, you’re not writing something interesting. It’s writing to answer the questions and persuasively encourage the funder to fund you.”

Sanborn developed an interest for grant writing when she was a volunteer master gardener for Davidsonville Elementary. While putting together an outdoor education project, she realized there were some grants that would be applicable. However, after finding out the volunteer pool lacked a grant writer, Sanborn took it upon herself to learn.

Both of Sanborn’s children attended private schools, so that’s where she would begin her grant writing. Only a year later did she receive a call from the NFFF asking if she would join their team as a grant writer.

The mission for the NFFF is to honor and remember America’s fallen fire heroes, provide resources to assist their survivors in rebuilding their lives, and work within the fire service community to reduce firefighter deaths and injuries.

As if being a part of the ACAAC and the NFFF weren’t enough, Sanborn also dedicates her time as a board member and grant writer for the non-profit We Care and Friends.

“This is basically a safety net for the city of Annapolis,” Sanborn admits. “April has helped tremendously in terms of ideas, funding, etcetera.”

We Care and Friends has helped thousands of people with drug treatment, counseling, employment, and housing programs, as well as, providing overall positivity to those in need. This non-profit organization, located at the Stanton Community Center, also runs a summer camp for kids who have no other options, but according to Sanborn, can show them another way of life.

Throughout her years as a volunteer, Sanborn admits her favorite event held by the ACAAC is their annual gala held each year.

“It’s their biggest fundraiser of the year,” Sanborn explains. “You see all types of people there. It’s really just a wonderful way to celebrate the arts.”

Although becoming such a devoted volunteer to these organizations was never in her plans, Sanborn admits she absolutely loves it.

“I think the most important thing the ACAAC is doing is getting the arts out into the community,” Sanborn admits. “It’s making the arts part of everyday life.”

Having a daughter of her own, Sanborn found that without the early exposure to arts and music at Davidsonville Elementary, her daughter never would have developed her passion for the arts.

“Schools don’t mandate arts after a certain point,” Sanborn says. “It really builds skills that you won’t even realize you have until later. I’d hate to lose it. This generation doesn’t have the benefits I had 50 years ago.”

For more information on the ACAAC, visit

Do you have a volunteer to nominate? Email Nicole Gould at