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:
Education Affinity Group
Director, Baltimore Workforce Funders Collaborative
410.727.1205 ext, 1208
Consultant, The Green Funders Affinity Group, Director, Maryland Environmental Health Network
Children's Health Specialist, Maryland Environmental Health Network
James Macgill, Jr.
Consultant, Affinity Group on Aging
Director, Baltimore Neighborhood Collaborative 410.727.0169 ext. 1214 email@example.com
Director, Baltimore Integration Partnership
410.727.1205, ext. 1202
abag core staff:
CELESTE AMATO, President
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 BEAUDOIN-SCHWARTZ, Communications Director
Buffy is responsible for ABAG's communications to members, prospective members, and the broader community. She has experience working directly with individual donors, corporate, private, community and public foundations, and with nonprofit organizations, and has particular expertise in the development and growth of donor collaboratives, or giving circles. Previously, Buffy 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.
Buffy co-authored a new book published by Jossey-Bass in September 2010 called "Women & Philanthropy: Boldly Shaping a Better World” and is the author of dozens of published 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, 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 Immediate Past Chair of the Women's Giving Circle of Howard County (WGC) and the B'MORE Fund at the Baltimore Community Foundation. She also served on the Board of Directors of the Howard County Community Foundation. She received her BA in Russian History from the University of Maryland. She lives in Howard County and is married with four children ages 21 to 7.
ADAM DONALDSON, Member Services
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
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 HYLECK, Special Initiatives Director
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.
ELYSE ROBINSON, Office Manager
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 SNIPES, Member Information and Operations Manager
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 ALEXANDER, Consultant, Education Affinity Group
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 DWORAK, Director, Baltimore Workforce Funders Collaborative
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.
JAMES MACGILL, JR., Consultant, Affinity Group on Aging
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.
MEREDITH MISHAGA, Program Officer, Baltimore Neighborhood Collaborative
Meredith provides staff support to the Baltimore Neighborhood Collaborative (BNC) by supporting BNC’s Director and assisting with grants management; in addition to website maintenance, and development of the organization’s e-newsletter. Meredith also coordinates all the activities of the Baltimore Homeownership Preservation Coalition (BHPC), a coalition of federal, state and local partners dedicated to preventing or mitigating the effects of foreclosure on Baltimore families and neighborhoods. Meredith, in partnership with coalition leaders, oversees a number of activities at BHPC, including: research and development of new initiatives, strategizing outreach and media campaigns, data collection and analysis, and mobilizing members to respond to policy issues as they arise. Meredith has an MPA with a concentration in urban planning and housing policy from the University of North Carolina-Wilmington, and a BA from Juniata College. She has been with the BNC/BHPC team since December 2009.
ALLISON RICH, Coordinator, Maryland Environmental Health Network
Allison Rich holds the position of Coordinator, joining MdEHN as a full-time staff member in fall 2012 as a Children’s Environmental Health Specialist. She is a graduate of Goucher College where she majored in Communications and Environmental Studies. Prior to joining MdEHN, Allison served as a Green Schools Network coordinator in the Office of Engagement at the Baltimore City school district. She is a published playwright, and has held various positions as a health educator, environmental educator, researcher, communications specialist and community organizer. She sits on the Board of Directors for The Filbert Street Garden and the Environmental Justice Partnership.
REBECCA RUGGLES, Consultant, The Green Funders Affinity Group and Director, Maryland Environmental Health Network
Rebecca coordinates the activities of ABAG's Green Funders affinity group which follows issues of urban greening, environmental justice, food access, healthy homes, water systems, renewable energy, and sustainability. Rebecca is also the director of the Maryland Environmental Health Network (MDEHN), an ABAG sponsored project that began in 2012. The Network convenes researchers, community activists, public health officials and health care professionals to address the intersection of health disparities with the environmental determinants of health. Formerly, Rebecca was Director of Special Projects for Baltimore Medical System, Maryland's largest community health center network. Rebecca serves on the Board of Interfaith Partnership for the Chesapeake (formerly Chesapeake Covenant Communities) and on the advisory board of Real Food Farm. Rebecca holds an MBA in public administration from Stanford University Graduate School of Business and a bachelors degree in history and literature from Harvard University.
ANN SHERRILL, Director, Baltimore Neighborhood Collaborative
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 SOMMER, Director, Baltimore Integration Partnership
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.