Founder & Chair, Board of Advisors
Grace E. G. Callwood, age 17, is the founder and chairwoman of the board of advisors for the We Cancerve Movement, a foundation that creates giving opportunities that can be supported by the community, especially youth in the community, to bring happiness to homeless, sick and foster children. The We Cancerve Movement’s operational posture is based on the belief that love is active, strong, urgent, practical and possible, and that solutions are swift because happiness shouldn’t have to wait.
We Cancerve Movement was founded in 2012 by Callwood when she, at age seven, was diagnosed with Stage IV Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. Callwood completed chemotherapy in April 2014 and remains cancer free.
At an early age, Grace expressed an interest in helping others. At age 2, she asked her family to donate a red wagon to the University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Medical Center’s pediatric unit, after a brief hospitalization. There, she enjoyed riding the wagon throughout the halls of the hospital and wanted to make sure the hospital had two wagons to prevent other children from waiting for a turn at fun while hospitalized.
In 2007, at age 3, she asked party guests to join in giving toys and games - instead of presents for herself - to pediatric patients at that same hospital. In 2008, at age 4, she joined her family in Louisiana in the spring and donated non-perishable food items to a Hurricane Katrina relief organization. Later that year, for her 4th birthday, she requested non-perishable food items as presents when she learned from a local news station that the Maryland Food Bank’s supplies were running low. Grace donated several boxes of food to the food bank.
She started We Cancerve after realizing that even though she was fighting cancer, she could make a difference in the lives of children who were also in sad situations.
To date, she has been awarded more than $140,000 in national and global prizes for her service work, and she’s raised more than three times as much in in-kind and individual cash donations. She helped raised more than $25,000 for the We Cancerve Pediatric Patient Assistance Fund she created in 2016 at Sinai Hospital. Since 2015, she has granted nearly $10,000 in “Make Happiness Happen” and other microgrants to nonprofits that provide direct services that bring joy to homeless, sick and/or foster children including Maryland's Believe in Tomorrow Foundation, Anna's House and Harford Family House.
We Cancerve has brought happiness to 25,000 children in Maryland, Delaware, Ohio, Kenya and Namibia since 2012. Under her leadership, We Cancerve has donated almost $300,000 in-kind in products to nine hospitals including Sinai Hospital and Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore; 10 homeless shelters and transitional programs including Eastside Family Emergency Shelter, Harford Family House and Anna's House; local feeding ministries The Sharing Table in Edgewood and St. John's Episcopal Church's Cupboard in Havre de Grace; three foster care group homes, and three orphanages including one in Kenya, East Africa and another in Namibia, Southern Africa. Donations also include more than 200 new and like-new back-to-school clothes to homeless youth in We Cancerve's Threads of Hope initiative; more than 400 TransFUNers kits to help hospitalized children decorate their IV poles; and more than 5,000 bags of breakfast for Maryland youth experiencing homelessness. This is just a sample of works We Cancerve's all-youth board of advisors has rendered to benefit homeless, sick and foster children.
The legacy We Cancerve is leaving throughout Maryland is noticeable. In 2015, Grace created Camp Happy, a free summer enrichment day camp for homeless children that expanded to three transitional housing programs for homeless families in 2018. In summer 2019, Camp Happy expanded to include a foster care group home, and by 2020, the program expanded to reach students enrolled in Title I schools. She also introduced an all-virtual model of Camp Happy which reached youth throughout America and as far as India. In 2016, the all-youth board of advisors opened La Magnifique Boutique, a free full service boutique that offers shoes, clothes and jewelry appropriate for work and worship for teen girls living in a foster care group. Also in 2016, the group created the We Cancerve Pediatric Patient Assistance Fund that helps families of sick children at Sinai Hospital in Baltimore. We Cancerve opened three children's libraries in 2019; children may take any book they wish from libraries St. Agnes Pediatric Emergency Room, Harford County Department of Social Services' Bond Street Visitation Center in Bel Air and Hall's Cross Roads Elementary School's Community Resource Center. The nonprofit opened two freestanding small libraries in Spring 2021: one in an affordable housing complex and another on a rural farm.
Grace is a junior honors student enrolled in the Global Studies International Baccalaureate program at Edgewood High School. She is a member of St. James AME Church-Green Street. She plays the trumpet, French horn and mellophone in her school marching and jazz bands, and enjoys dancing in her church’s liturgical dance ministry and singing with the church's young adult contemporary choir. She sits on the Board of Directors of Music United and is an inaugural member of Give Kids the World's Youth Council. She's also a member of the Harford County Public Schools' Superintendent's Council.
She is the daughter of Tanya “T’Jae” Gibson Elis and Theodore Ellis, Jr., and Winston Callwood, and loving grandchild of NeAnni Y. Ife. She is the youngest of five siblings: Jacques (Chyna) Mora Callwood, Taylor Callwood, Kohl Callwood, Tina Ellis Johnson (Wendell) and Tiffany Ellis.
Under her leadership, We Cancerve is the recipient of the following awards and recognition:
2020, Honor Rows Special Spotlight, Baltimore Ravens & WJZ CBS 13
2019, Honor Rows, M&T Bank, the Baltimore Ravens and the Governor's Office on Service and Volunteerism
2018, We Organization/Allstate Foundation Microgrant
2018, Youth Leadership Award, Harford Family House
2016, Start a Snowball Foundation Grant Recipient
2016, Karma for Cara Foundation Microgrant Recipient
Grace's individual honors, awards and special recognition include:
2020, Youth to the Front Fund "Frontliner" Honoree
2020, Hormel Foods 10 Under 20 Food Heroes Honoree
2020, Cartoon Network's "Drawn To" Special Series
2019, CNN Young Wonder
2019, Carson Scholar
2019, Get Doing Award, WE Day Baltimore
2019, Black History Month Hero, WBAL (NBC) TV 11
2019, William Donald Schaefer Award, Maryland Comptroller's Office
2018, Black History Month Community Leaders Award, State of Maryland*
2017, State of Maryland's Youth Award Recipient
2017, Harford County NAACP Youth of the Year Award
2016, Citizen of the Year, Iota Nu Chapter of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity*
2016, Hyundai Hero of Hope
2015, Fellow, Peace First
2014, Association of Fundraising Professionals Maryland Chapter Youth Award
2014, Kohl's Scholarship (local) Recipient
2014, generationOn Hasbro Community Action Hero semi-finalist
2013, “Making a Difference Award” receipient, Ecumenical Institute of Theology at St. Mary's Seminary*
(* denotes the youngest or first person under age 18 to receive the award or recognition)
A highly-requested speaker, Grace has enjoyed the following speaking engagements:
2021, Harford Day School Lower School Guest Speaker
2020, Seven Bridges School 5th Grade Social Studies Cluster Virtual Guest Speaker, Chappaqua, NY
2020, St. Mary's Church, Sunday School Special Guest Speaker, Abingdon, MD
2020, Garrison Forest School Service-Learning Special Assembly, Owings Mills, MD
2020, Harford County Branch of the NAACP Martin Luther King, Jr., Prayer Breakfast Speaker, Havre de Grace, MD
2019, Service-Learning Cluster Guest Speaker, Joppatowne Elementary School, Joppatowne, MD
2019, 40th Anniversary Luncheon for the Harford County Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Belcamp, MD
2019, Service Learning Class Cluster Assembly, Southampton Middle School, Bel Air, MD
2019, Ames United Methodist Church, Youth Sunday Speaker, Bel Air, MD
2018, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., District Citizen of the Year Recipient, Rye Brook, NY
2018, St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church, Women’s Day Speaker, Dayton, OH
2018, WE Day Baltimore, Keynote Speaker, Baltimore, MD
2018, Karma for Cara Fundraising Event, Keynote Speaker, Jupiter, FL
2018, Vacation Bible School Conclusion Ceremony, Guest Speaker, Glen Mar, MD
2018, Peace First Summit, Keynote Speaker, New York, NY
2018, Peace First/ Football Hall of Fame Youth Accelerator, Guest Speaker, Canton, OH
2018, Hope for the Homeless, Inc., Hotcakes for the Homeless Annual Guest Speaker, Harford County, MD
2018, City College of New York Youth Education Summit, Keynote Speaker, Manhattan, NY
2017, Southampton Middle School Marathon of Achievement Dinner, Keynote Speaker, Bel Air, MD
2017, Chesapeake Professional Women’s Network, Luncheon Keynote Speaker, Bulle Rock, MD
2017, Magnolia Middle School, Honors Assembly Guest Speaker, Edgewood, MD
2017, Harford County Public Library, Summer Lecture Series Speaker, Harford County, MD
2017, American Federation of Teachers, Keynote Speaker, Washington, DC
2017, Association for Fundraising Professionals, Youth Award Presenter, Baltimore, MD
2017, Iota Nu Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Citizen of the Year Recipient, Aberdeen, MD
2016, Allstate Good Starts Young/Peace First Rally, Workshop facilitator, Chicago, IL
2016, NICKELODEON HALO Awards, National television, New York City, NY
2016, LASOS Summer Camp, Guest Speaker, Bel Air, MD
2016, Mentoring Matters Conference-Youth Day, Long Island University CW Post, Long Island, NY
2016, Ahold, Inc./Giant Food Corporate Luncheon, Ambassador/Guest Speaker, Greenbelt, MD
2016, Aberdeen City Council Meeting, Community Response, Aberdeen, MD
2015, Peace First Fellow Gathering, BrainTrust, New York, NY
2015, Community Foundation of Harford County Fundraising Breakfast, Keynote Speaker, Bel Air, MD
2014, Mount Gilead United Methodist Church, Youth Sunday Speaker, Reisterstown, MD
2012, Association for Fundraising Professionals, Philanthropy Day, Award Recipient, Baltimore, MD