ABAG is a 501 (c)3 nonprofit membership association that does not award grants and does not accept proposals seeking financial support.
As a membership organization, we are proud that our staff is comprised of professionals with years of experience in the fields of philanthropy and the nonprofit sector to serve our diverse members.
ABAG CORE STAFF:
PROJECT STAFF & CONSULTANTS:
Celeste joined the philanthropic community after 18 years invested in public service and issues including housing, economic development, public works and environmental initiatives. As the Director of Media and Communications for Baltimore City Public Works, Celeste served as the public spokesperson and manager of communications for the City’s $400 million dollar water and solid waste operations. In her role she provided advocacy and strategic communication support for the successful implementation of single stream recycling and One PLUS ONE waste collection services in Baltimore City.
As the Director of the Initiative for a Cleaner Greener Baltimore Celeste served the Office of the Mayor, recruiting, developing, coordinating and implementing a comprehensive public outreach and engagement strategy focused on a cleaner city -- including development of supporting public-private partnerships. The Initiative successfully raised private funds and in-kind services totaling $1.9 million and the CleanerGreener campaign achieved a 72% brand recognition rate.
Celeste’s wide and varied background in business development, marketing, communications, management and leadership lead her to her role with Baltimore Area Grantmakers. She is an active volunteer and has served on the board of directors for Cleaner Greener Baltimore, Waterfront Partnership of Baltimore, Baltimore International College and the Southeast Community Development Corporation. Celeste has a Bachelor of Arts from Loyola University, Baltimore.
Celeste lives in Baltimore City with Sammy the Pug and Frankie the Boxer and a couple of humans including her son, and sometimes ABAG intern, James. She still strives for a cleaner greener Baltimore citing that it’s, "only 80 square miles – totally doable.” She picks up other people’s litter and has successfully trained her son and everyone else in her life to recycle – even the dogs.
Buffy is responsible for ABAG's communications to funder members, prospective members, policymakers, nonprofit partners, and the broader community. She has experience working directly with individual donors, corporate, private, community and public foundations, and with nonprofit organization - and has particular expertise in the development and growth of donor collaborative - or giving circles. Buffy also served as the Director of the Baltimore Giving Project at ABAG. In this capacity, she managed the development, implementation and growth of this $1.2 million project to increase philanthropy in the region. Previously she worked in Washington, DC for an international human rights organization.
Buffy co-authored a book published by Jossey-Bass in 2010 called "Women & Philanthropy: Boldly Shaping a Better World” and is the author of, and has been quoted in, dozens of articles on philanthropy, women's giving, and giving circles. Buffy is the co-author of: "A Plan of One's Own: A Woman's Guide to Philanthropy”; as well as "Growing Philanthropy Through Giving Circles”; and a chapter in "The Transformative Power of Women's Philanthropy”. Buffy was awarded the Circle of Excellence, being chosen as one of Maryland's Top 100 Women in 2003, 2008 & 2010 by The Daily Record, is an "Innovator of the Year" 2004 by The Daily Record for her work with giving circles, one of "40 Under 40" 2004 by the Baltimore Business Journal, and an Impact Award Winner 2012 by The Columbia Mall and Women's Giving Circle of Howard County. She is a founder and Past Chair of the Women's Giving Circle of Howard County and a founding donor of the B'MORE Fund at the Baltimore Community Foundation. She has also served on the Board of Directors of the Community Foundation of Howard County and HopeWorks (formerly the Domestic Violence Center of Howard County) and has been active in her children’s schools. She received her BA in Russian History from the University of Maryland. She and her husband Howard live in Howard County and are raising four children ages 22 to 8.
Primarily responsible for growing the membership of the Association of Baltimore Area Grantmakers (ABAG), Adam connects grantmakers to each other and to opportunities for learning and collaboration. At ABAG, Adam oversees grantmaking practice education and directly supports the Maryland Community Foundation Association, Family Philanthropy Roundtable, and affinity groups for grantmakers interested in Health and Mental Health. Adam helps grantmakers engage in policy advocacy, guiding the ABAG Public Policy Committee, and he is a member of Maryland Nonprofits Policy Council and the Form of Regional Associations Government Relations Committee. He also presents on philanthropy and grant proposal writing to grantseekers. In 2013, Adam was elected to the Board of the Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers and Co-Chair of PolicyWorks, a national initiative to build the capacity of regional associations to support grantmakers’ government relations and policy advocacy.
Adam came to ABAG in 2009 from the Public Policy Department of City Year, where he managed the membership and communications of Voices for National Service, an advocacy coalition that seeks to expand federal support for AmeriCorps and other service and volunteer programs. Prior he had transplanted to Baltimore to participate in the Shriver Peaceworker Fellows Program, a service-learning scholarship program integrating: graduate study, community service, and ethical reflection for Returned Peace Corps Volunteers. Adam served overseas in Uzbekistan and Jamaica and completed AmeriCorps service with City Year in Columbus, OH. Adam has a B.A. in English from Kenyon College in Gambier, OH and a Masters in Public Policy and Nonprofit Management from Johns Hopkins University. An ISFJ, Adam seeks harmony in the conference room, on the street, and at home.
Elisabeth manages educational programs and special projects for ABAG and supports the affinity groups related to Basic Human Needs, Arts, Aging, and Financial Literacy and Asset Building. Elisabeth staffs ABAG's Diversity and Inclusion Committee. Prior to joining ABAG in 2007, she worked at the Annie E. Casey Foundation as the Leadership Development Program Assistant and was the Administrative Coordinator for a residential treatment facility for chemically dependent women and their children. Elisabeth is passionate about best and promising practices, community engagement, and collaboration of all types.
With a master's degree in City and Regional Planning from Morgan State University, Elisabeth has a great interest in the relationship between people and the natural and built environment and serves on the board of Blue Water Baltimore. She has a BA in English and French (and a minor in Women's and Minorities' Studies) from Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio and polished her fluency in French at the Sorbonne in Paris, France. When not at work, she can be found mothering Lillian and Theo, connecting dots, hiking, sewing, and attempting to "green" her life.
Before joining the ABAG team, Elyse was the Telecommunications’ Administrative Assistant III at the American Red Cross for 22 years. In this role Elyse provided administrative support to the Directors of Information Systems and Facilities/Logistics, maintained over 24 telecommunication accounts, purchasing IT equipment, and maintained various spreadsheets and accounts payable.
Kim assists with growing and sustaining ABAG’s membership and a philanthropic network across the Maryland region. Kim staffs the Business Giving Roundtable and Green Funders Affinity Group and is available to answer questions about our member publications, member benefits and services. She also administers our Salesforce database and finds great professional fulfillment in creating systems that help our office run more efficiently.
She graduated from Wheaton College in Norton, MA with a B.A. in Political Science and Women’s Studies. With two study abroad trips to Durban, South Africa and London, a move from the Boston area to Baltimore and a M.S. in Women’s Studies from Towson University behind her, she joined ABAG in 2007. If she isn’t brewing a pot of strong coffee at the office, she is most likely brewing an even stronger pot at the home she shares with a rescue chihuahua, ChaChi.
project staff and consultants:
Karen coordinates ABAG's Education Affinity Group. She has expertise in early childhood development and education policy. She previously worked with National Infant & Toddler Child Care Initiative at ZERO TO THREE, Communities In Schools of North Carolina, and The Urban Institute. A Baltimore native, Karen received a B.A. in Sociology from Brown University and an M.P.A. (Master of Public Administration) from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Linda staffs the Baltimore Workforce Funders Collaborative, a group of public and private funders which work together to seed and support local workforce partnerships. Linda also develops programming for ABAG's Workforce Affinity Group and provides support to the Baltimore Integration Partnership. Linda has devoted her career to the work of enhancing employment opportunities for low- wage workers. She formerly served as the Executive Director of the Garment Industry Development Corporation – one of the first nationally recognized sector-based workforce partnerships, and as Senior Consultant to the Aspen Institute's Workforce Strategies Initiative. Her work has helped to define the field of sectoral workforce development. Additionally, Linda brings to ABAG experience gained through her work with a number of national and regional organizations. Linda holds a Masters Degree from the Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs and a post-graduate certificate in Non-Profit Management from the Columbia University School of Business.
Jim provides staff support for ABAG's Affinity Group on Aging. He has nearly 30 years of experience planning, and managing services for older adults. He has served as the Director of the Harford County Office on Aging and Deputy Secretary of the Maryland Department of Aging. He presently provides consulting services to a number of public agencies, nonprofits, and foundations on health and human services issues, with an emphasis on aging policy. He holds a B.A. in History from Columbia University and a M.A. in Administration from Antioch University.
REBECCA REHR, Public Health Advocacy Coordinator, Maryland Environmental Health Network
Rebecca Rehr is the Public Health Advocacy Coordinator for the Maryland Environmental Health Network. She holds an MPH from the University of Maryland School of Public Health Institute for Applied Environmental Health, where she focused on environmental justice and health disparities in Maryland. Rebecca earned her BA in Environmental Studies and Public Policy from Franklin and Marshall College. She served for two years as a fellow in the Office of Children’s Health Protection at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and has worked in the past for both the Maryland Department of the Environment and the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Rebecca is a Commissioner on the Maryland Commission for Environmental Justice and Sustainable Communities.
Allison Rich is the Coordinator of the Maryland Environmental Health Network and became a full-time staff member in fall 2012 as a Children’s Environmental Health (CEH) Specialist.She is a graduate of Goucher College where she majored in Communications and Environmental Studies.Prior to joining MdEHN, Allison served as the Green Schools NetworkCoordinator in the Office of Engagement at the Baltimore City school district where she assisted in developing the Baltimore Green Schools Network.She is a published playwright, and has worked previouslyas a health educator, environmental educator, writer, community organizer, researcher on jaguar populations, and on press relations for the film The Cove. She serves as the Chair of The Filbert Street Garden Board of Directors and sits on Board of the Environmental Justice Partnership. She is an active member of the Greater Baltimore Asthma Alliance.
Rebecca Ruggles is Director of the Maryland Environmental Health Network. Rebecca holds a BA in History and Literature from Harvard University and an MBA with a concentration in public administration from Stanford Graduate School of Business. She was formerly Director of Special Projects at Baltimore Medical System (BMS), a community health system serving Baltimore City and Baltimore County. Rebecca consults to the ABAG as the coordinator of the Green Funders affinity group. She sits on the Board of Interfaith Partners for the Chesapeake (formerly Chesapeake Covenant Community), a network of congregations and people of faith pursuing better stewardship of our natural world. She is a member of the Health Care Sustainability Leadership Council, the Advocacy Committee of the Maryland Public Health Association, and a Board member of the Environmental Integrity Project. She serves on the Advisory Council for the Johns Hopkins Environment, Energy, Sustainability and Health Institute and on the Executive Committee of the Maryland Pesticide Network.
Ann has over 25 years of experience in planning, grassroots organizing, coalition-building, public policy and non-profit management. Prior to joining ABAG as the Baltimore Neighborhood Collaborative's first director, she was program and policy director for Action for the Homeless, a statewide advocacy organization focused on homelessness and housing. She also worked for Planned Parenthood of Maryland, Greater Homewood Community Corporation, Coalition of Peninsula Organizations, and New York City Department of City Planning. She has a BA from Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota and an MSW from the University of Maryland School of Social Work.
Kurt is the Director of the Baltimore Integration Partnership (BIP) which is a new initiative designed to connect workforce development opportunities and revitalization projects in targeted Baltimore City communities. The Partnership is comprised of government, philanthropic, financial, and nonprofit representatives to guide and manage grant and loan dollars made possible by Living Cities. Prior to joining the Association of Baltimore Area Grantmakers, Kurt has held positions in public policy and research with the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development, Baltimore Housing, and the Brookings Institution. Kurt holds a B.A. in Political Science from Washington College and a M.C.P. (Master of Community Planning) from the University of Maryland. He is a Baltimore native and is married with one child.