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Our "Adventures in Philanthropy" blog posts are written by our staff and diverse membership and offer a glimpse into the world of philanthropy, presenting current issues and information relevant to funders, policymakers, members of the media, and those interested in current issues and giving trends.

 

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Baltimore Integration Partnership (BIP) 2014 Year in Review

Posted By Kurt Sommer, Tuesday, December 30, 2014
Updated: Tuesday, December 30, 2014
December 30, 2014
 
By Kurt Sommer, BIP Director

Building off of a successful first round of work and through support from Living Cities, the Annie E. Casey Foundation, and the Goldseker Foundation, the Baltimore Integration Partnership (BIP) launched 2.0 in 2014 to deepen anchor institution’s efforts to support area residents, businesses and communities. With nine institutions as well as city, state, foundation, financial, and nonprofit partners, the BIP has been working to advance economic inclusion through anchor institution hiring, purchasing and capital investment powers.
 
This work is moving forward in alignment with the new Baltimore City Anchor Plan which was signed this past June through the leadership of the Mayor’s Office and the participating anchors.

Through the leadership of our BIP partners, it has been a very productive year:

• Five institutions are currently exploring how to use their hiring powers to better support area residents building from extensive work in this sector by two additional participating anchors. The institutions have been working to better understand internal and external barriers to local hiring, have identified key job sectors with upcoming opportunities, and are connecting with workforce training organizations that can help meet their hiring needs.

• All of the institutions are working to better direct spending to Baltimore minority and local businesses. This past year, the BIP has fostered research exploring anchor food purchasing policies and practices while completing an analysis of the small business ecosystem. Many participating institutions have been opening the door with food which is a common purchasing sector. Additional work in the construction field and cooperative purchasing is being explored.

• All of the institutions are working to improve Baltimore neighborhoods through capital investments, planning, and active partnerships with neighborhood organizations. Baltimore anchors have long been leaders in this field so BIP efforts have been focused on the inclusion side of the capital investments particularly around local hiring. Three institutions currently have buildings underway with local hiring commitments while the balance are exploring the approach for upcoming capital projects or are seeking to strengthen minority and local contracting activities.

As the BIP moves forward into the second of our two year initiative, we look forward to helping our partners move forward new projects and activities to advance and sustain our goals. Thus, the BIP is pleased to announce funding support to make this work possible including:

• A planning grant to support the University of Maryland, Baltimore and Center for Urban Families’ efforts to develop a West Baltimore Workforce Initiative to align workforce services for residents. Programming opportunities would be based at the Historic Samuel Coleridge-Taylor Elementary School’s newly renovated Weinberg Library.
• A grant to the American Communities Trust and Food Hub to host a large vendor fair with anchor institution and other local food buyers in late spring. The Food Hub, which the BIP has previously invested in on the capital side, was also just awarded Sustainable Communities Tax Credits by the State of Maryland.

It has been a very exciting year with more to come in 2015. Thank you all for your leadership in moving this work forward. Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!

The Baltimore Integration Partnership is funded by the national Living Cities Integration Initiative and generous local support from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, The Goldseker Foundation, Associated Black Charities, The Baltimore Workforce Funders Collaborative and the Association of Baltimore Area Grantmakers (ABAG). ABAG acts as a backbone organization, coordinating and staffing the partnership.

Tags:  ABAG  Baltimore Integration Partnership  BIP  Workforce 

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Betsy Nelson Legacy Fund Update

Posted By Mary Louise Preis, Frederick G. and Mary Louise Preis Charitable Gift Fund, Monday, March 4, 2013
Updated: Monday, March 4, 2013
Updated March 4, 2013

By Mary Louise Preis, Frederick G. and Mary Louise Preis Charitable Gift Fund

2013 is an important year for all of us involved in the Association of Baltimore Area Grantmakers. This year we are "Celebrating 30 Years of Philanthropy: Shaping the Next 30 Years of Giving.
 
As we appreciate our past, we continue to have an opportunity to support the future of ABAG and philanthropy through the Betsy Nelson Legacy Fund, established by the ABAG Board several months ago to honor former ABAG President Betsy Nelson. And we are excited that many individuals and organizations jumped right in to support the Fund that will carry her name and vision on in Baltimore for the next generations.
 
To date, the BNLF has received 162 donations from ABAG members and friends, totaling $290,000. We are very grateful and wish to thank everyone who has invested in the BNLF so far!

The Betsy Nelson Legacy Fund at ABAG aims to share philanthropy's message beyond the ABAG membership and to build connections between charitably-minded people, organizations and institutions to strengthen our community - just as Betsy has done over the years. The Board envisions that the Fund will support activities that will promote and inspire philanthropy beyond ABAG's membership and current efforts: maybe present an annual speaker for the nonprofit and philanthropic community and the public to promote philanthropy and community involvement, or perhaps respond to a request or a need presented by the community to ABAG.
 
The Fund will also help to ensure ABAG's sustainability for the future. The goal is to promote and inspire and facilitate philanthropy by keeping us talking and working together.

By institutionalizing Betsy's charitable values, the Fund will strengthen the organization she has built, maintain its leading position as the voice of philanthropy, expand the network of givers and remain Baltimore's best resource for grantmaking. And it will be the opportunity for ABAG to share its vision to strengthen Baltimore with even more people and organizations into the future.

Contributions continue to be accepted for the Fund - you may click here to donate

I am honored to have led the Board's efforts to develop our Betsy Nelson Legacy Fund and look forward to your support and your thoughts. As Betsy often says, and our wonderful new President Celeste Amato reaffirms, "we are all better together through philanthropy.” We think this Fund will help make sure that thought remains with us!


Tags:  ABAG  Adventures in Philanthropy  And Now A Word from Our Members  Betsy Nelson Legacy Fund  February 2013 Members' Memo  Philanthropy 

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Affinity Groups Growing and Thriving at ABAG

Posted By Elisabeth Hyleck, Tuesday, February 19, 2013
Updated: Monday, March 4, 2013
Updated: March 4, 2013
 
By Elisabeth Hyleck, ABAG Strategic Initiatives Director

I imagine that, like many philanthropic groups, you’ve been busy organizing, planning, and launching your work for 2013. ABAG affinity groups have also been meeting to see how they can continue to learn and collaborate - both within their group and across groups - this year. I’m pleased that we have a new Arts Funders Affinity group, adding to the opportunities for members to learn more about effective programs, national and local best practices, and their colleagues' investments. Please take a look at Lara Hall's blog post this month about the Arts Funders Affinity group.

Led by volunteer chairs and, in some cases, steering committees, affinity groups and ABAG staff develop educational programs and facilitate communication among members. Affinity groups provide a forum for funders to deepen understanding of issues and strategies and to discuss ways use that knowledge in a catalytic way to strengthen and build capacity in the field.

Current Affinity Groups

Affinity Group on Aging
This group of funders is dedicated to promoting and strengthening grantmaking for an aging society.

Chair: Cathy Brill, Leonard & Helen R. Stulman Foundation
Staff: Jim Macgill

Arts Affinity Group
The purpose of the Arts Affinity Group is to engage and educate Baltimore area funders about the dynamic local arts scene and the many opportunities it presents.

Chair: Lara Hall, The Blaustein Philanthropic Group
Staff: Elisabeth Hyleck

Basic Human Needs Affinity Group
For the purpose of this affinity group, basic needs are defined as: shelter, food, emergency financial assistance to avert crisis, and legal aid or other services that help eligible clients access public benefits.

Chair: Amy Kleine, Harry & Jeanette Weinberg Foundation
Staff: Elisabeth Hyleck

Education Affinity Group
Members interested in supporting education learn more about worthy initiatives, educational research findings and best practices.

Chair: Amy Gross, Harry & Jeanette Weinberg Foundation
Staff: Karen Alexander

Financial Literacy and Asset Building Affinity Group
Members share best practices and grantmaking strategies to increase people's financial capability, improve their access to affordable and fair financial products and services and help them increase their financial assets over time.

Chair: Meg Woodside, Woodside Foundation
Staff: Elisabeth Hyleck

Green Funders Affinity Group
Members explore topics related to community greening, sustainability, and environmental protection. Topics covered tend to be cross-sectoral, examining the impact of environmental issues on community development, human health, or economic welfare, for instance.

Chair: Julie Hester, Keith Campbell Foundation for the Environment
Staff: Kim Snipes

Health Affinity Group
Members interested in supporting health learn more about initiatives, research findings and best practices with particular attention to our region’s safety net and federal health care reform.

Chair: Karen Dixon, CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield
Staff: Adam Donaldson

Workforce Development Affinity Group
In addition to the traditional issues of job training and retention, the group now addresses a continuum of issues surrounding successful employment and financial security for low-wage workers and vulnerable populations including, advancement of incumbent workers, and barriers to employment such as transportation, child care, and criminal records.

Co-Chairs: Patrice Cromwell, Annie E. Casey Foundation and Melanie Styles, Abell Foundation
Staff: Linda Dworak

Absolutely, all ABAG members are invited to participate in the affinity group educational programming. Further, all ABAG members are eligible to join one or more affinity groups. There is no cost to members.

By joining an affinity group long-term you simply indicate to ABAG your interest in receiving specific communications about group meetings and issue-based resources. You also join a thoughtful and committed peer group working strategically to solve tough problems in our region.

Contact Elisabeth Hyleck, Special Initiatives Director, at ehyleck@abagrantmakers.org to learn more about an affinity group and consider joining one – or more!

Tags:  ABAG  Affinity Groups  Eye on Philanthropy  February 2013 Members' Memo 

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"I Look Forward to Your Emails!"

Posted By Celeste Amato, Friday, January 25, 2013
January 25, 2013
 
As our 30th anniversary year gets underway we are focused on deepening the engagement of our members through our programs, affinity groups, projects and collaborative efforts. We are also continuing our work to promote and support good public policy, enhance communications, and grow partnerships.

We are looking forward to celebrating our milestone anniversary with our members in May and we've begun sharing our anniversary tagline:

Celebrating 30 Years of Philanthropy: Shaping the Next 30 Years of Giving

This tag captured the ABAG Team's sentiment about this milestone anniversary by acknowledging our history AND looking forward to all that lies ahead for our membership, the work we share and the communities we serve.

We would love to hear what ABAG and this anniversary means to you
I hope you will take a moment to email us a one or two sentence expression of your thoughts about ABAG. We will be sharing member and partner thoughts throughout this anniversary year through our various publications.

I continue to meet our members and partners here at ABAG, in the community and in one-on-one meetings. Thank you for generously sharing your time, your thoughts and obvious regard for our organization. Please email me if you have some time in the coming months so I can visit with you. I look forward to meeting with you soon.

Sincerely,

Celeste

Tags:  30th Anniversary  ABAG  ABAG Members  Adventures in Philanthropy  Message from Celeste 

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#ABAGMember Baltimore Ravens. Our Team - Our Community.

Posted By Buffy Beaudoin-Schwartz, Monday, January 14, 2013

UPDATED February 4, 2013

Big congratulations to #ABAGMember The Baltimore Ravens, Superbowl Champions! We are so proud of the team. Our Team. Our Community. Congratulations, Baltimore. 

January 14, 2013

We are so proud of #ABAGMember, The Baltimore Ravens, for their big win on Saturday to clinch a chance at the AFC Championship title against the New England Patriots this coming weekend!

The team and the players are committed to bringing people together and generating goodwill in the community through their exciting play and continued wins – we are an excited #Ravensnation.

But, did you know that the team and players are committed to assisting the community throughout the year in a different way?

They are, and we are proud that the Baltimore Ravens are a member of The Association of Baltimore Area Grantmakers, and as a team, are focused on making a difference in our community in a variety of ways, including:

The Baltimore Ravens All Community Team Foundation serves as a separate nonprofit entity of the team's community outreach efforts. The Ravens All Community Team Foundation is committed to improving, encouraging, and enabling the healthy development of youth in the Baltimore area, as well as other parts of the state of Maryland and has designed grant programs to encourage healthy youth activities through:

· Ravens Youth Football Grant

The Ravens All Community Team Foundation (RACTF) provides equipment and apparel to qualifying nonprofit youth football organizations through the Ravens Youth Football Grant.

· Baltimore Ravens Scholarship Program

The Baltimore Ravens established this scholarship program to enable local youth to continue their education on a collegiate level. The team has a long-standing history of service to local communities and this fund supports those who do the same.

· Ravens Plan in Motion

The Ravens Plan in Motion project provides grants of up to $5,000 to qualifying nonprofit organizations that create and/or continue programs or projects promoting physical fitness and nutrition education.

The Ravens also have an All Community Team (ACT) with the mission to increase corporate and community awareness of the Ravens All Community Team Foundation, player foundations, and associated local charitable organizations through a season-long NFL football competition between area and regional Baltimore-based business leaders and companies. The All Community Team is a partnership among the Ravens organization, the players and members of the corporate community.

As former RACTF Executive Director Melanie LeGrande mentioned in a previous ABAG Adventures in Philanthropy blog post: "The Baltimore Ravens have a strong commitment to serving children and families in need in our area. As we all know, strategic philanthropy and collective impact are key to making a long-term difference. The team and its players have many such initiatives.”

Given that the Ravens have a strong commitment to the community, in addition to appearances by Ravens players, coaches and staff, the team assists hundreds of charities and nonprofit organizations through in-kind donations of team memorabilia, through a variety of community programs, and through ticket give-aways to volunteers through The Honors Row effort.

And, Ravens players are very active in the community through individual foundations and giving efforts of their own, including players like:

· Ray Lewis

· Ray Rice

· Torrey Smith

· Ed Reed

· Michael Oher

· Jameel McCLain

· Lardarius Webb

· Matt Birk

· Anquan Boldin

· James Ihedigbo

· Paul Kruger

· Vonta Leach

· Haloti Ngata

· Bernard Pollard

· LaQuan Williams

Learn more about the charitable endeavors of the Baltimore Ravens All Community Team Foundation.

We thank the Ravens for the goodwill and cheer that they continue to bring our community - not just this coming week - but throughout the year.

Go Ravens!

Tags:  ABAG  ABAG Members  Baltimore  Ravens 

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Happy New Year!

Posted By Celeste Amato, Friday, January 11, 2013

January 11, 2013

ABAG Members and Friends,

Happy New Year!

I hope you and your families had a wonderful holiday.

As the Resource on GrantmakingNetwork for Givers and Voice for Philanthropy, we are looking forward to an exciting 2013 filled with excellent issue-based programs and new member and partner collaborations - the work that has been the hallmark of our organization over its 30 year history.

As we enter our 30thanniversary year we are focused on deepening the engagement of our members through our various programs, affinity groups, projects and collaborative efforts. We'll also continue our work promoting and supporting good public policy, enhancing our communications, and growing partnerships - together.

And, we are of course making special plans to celebrate our milestone anniversary with our members!

I've really enjoyed getting to know our staff and board and beginning to meet our many members and partners.Many thanks to all of you who have been so generous in sharing your time, your thoughts and obvious regard for our organization.

I look forward to continuing to meet and getting to know all of you much better in the coming year.

Celeste Amato, President

camato@abagrantmakers.org


Tags:  ABAG  ABAGMembers 

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A Toast to Baltimore’s Best Philanthropic Ambassador!

Posted By Buffy Beaudoin-Schwartz, Wednesday, November 28, 2012
November 28, 2012

By Buffy Beaudoin-Schwartz
ABAG Communications Director

On Monday night ABAG members, friends, partners, family, current and former staff gathered at the beautiful offices of #ABAGMember Legg Mason to honor and celebrate the extraordinary tenure of ABAG President Betsy Nelson.
 

Looking over Baltimore Harbor and directly at the Domino Sugar sign, it wasn’t hard to feel overwhelming pride for the philanthropic leadership Betsy has provided to Baltimore, the region, and across the country. Legg Mason Chairman Mark Fetting toasted Betsy as one of Baltimore’s greatest ambassadors, and Jan Rivitz of the Straus Foundation mentioned that hiring Betsy was one of her greatest accomplishments!

When ABAG Board Chair Beth Harber highlighted the profound impact Betsy has had on ABAG and our community, there wasn’t a person in the room not silently or publicly nodding their head. As Beth has said, "we are extremely grateful for the 26 remarkable years Betsy has dedicated to strengthening Baltimore's philanthropic sector … she is and will continue to be a true champion for philanthropy.”

Betsy’s husband David and her three daughters Sara, Stephanie and Jennifer were all on hand to toast her as well. And, on behalf of ABAG’s staff, I was proud to give Betsy a beautiful Memory Book that holds numerous heartfelt sentiments, well wishes, and photos that celebrate Betsy’s 26 year tenure at ABAG.

After all, who doesn’t want to celebrate Betsy?

While within one Memory Book it was challenging to depict the spectacular impact Betsy has had on individuals, organizations and our community, we were able to highlight the person that Betsy is and the profound impact she has had as a leader, professional, partner, mentor, woman, wife, mother, grandmother, and friend in our community.

And because of this, it’s no surprise that a mere two months after it’s launch, The Betsy Nelson Legacy Fund already has over $250,000 in donations. I suppose it’s fitting that we celebrated Betsy’s philanthropic impact the day before #GivingTuesday. You can donate and learn more about the fund here.

Betsy’s last day at ABAG is this Friday November 30 and we are excited to welcome our new President Celeste Amato, who will begin her tenure as ABAG’s second president on December 3, 2012.

ABAG’s board has asked Betsy to continue through the month of December in a consulting capacity to Celeste, to help with her orientation and transition and Betsy will continue her involvement with the Baltimore Integration Partnership through February 2013.
 
You can read more about Betsy’s accomplishments here within remarks made by Beth Harber at the November 16, 2012 AFP National Philanthropy Day celebration, where Betsy was honored with the Community Impact Award.  
 
And tonight, at the Citizens Planning and Housing Association's (CPHA) Annual Meeting, Betsy will be honored with the Frances Morton Froelicher Civic Statesmanship Award. This award is given to an individual who demonstrates outstanding commitment to and achievement in improving the quality of life for all Baltimoreans, particularly in community development, affordable housing, improved public education, and/or greater racial harmony.  

Here’s to accomplishments, impact, building on history, and growth in the future. Thanks for everything "Bets!” - you will be missed.

Cheers to the next chapter.

Tags:  ABAG  Baltimore  Betsy Nelson  Betsy Nelson Legacy Fund 

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Partnering With the Public Sector Pays Long-term Dividends

Posted By Meg Woodside, Wednesday, June 20, 2012

June 20, 2012

By Meg Woodside, The Woodside Foundation and Chair, ABAG Financial Literacy and Asset Building Funders Group

As grantmakers, it is common to invest our time developing and strengthening relationships with our grantees and community-based partners in the fields of our interests. We value that collaboration and two-way communication as we try to learn what is working and expand services to meet increasing demands. Often underestimated, however, is the value of bringing the public sector and policymakers into the grantmaker-grantee dyad.

At ABAG we have been focusing with greater intention on how our organization, and our members, can interact with the public sector and policymakers to effect the sustainable social changes that we seek. We have offered programs on the nuances of working with government agencies, as well as the intricacies of funding advocacy and policy work, outlining the constraints on grantmaking in that arena. We have acknowledged that systemic change requires working with "the system”.

ABAG's mission challenges us to maximize the impact of philanthropic giving on community life. In my work as a Trustee of a small family foundation, some of the broadest impact we have been able to generate in the field of financial literacy and asset building is attributed to partnering with our state-level public sector leaders. The following example highlights promising developments in Maryland resulting from grantmakers and grantees joining with the public sector to move an agenda forward.

Initial steps began with a series of cross-sector conversations about what action Maryland was going to take in response to the Great Recession and its economic toll on families. Funders and practitioners with knowledge of Maryland's landscape and what other states were doing conveyed a sense of urgency to state policymakers, and we helped them identify field partners, strategies and thought leaders. Public sector leaders then created the Governor's Task Force to Study How to Improve Financial Literacy in the State.

Eighteen recommendations are in various stages of implementation. An early outcome of the task force was a separate cross-sector partnership with MSDE to incorporate financial education standards into the public school curriculum requirements, which was accepted by the State Board of Education in January, 2010. Advocates continued to press for ongoing state-level engagement to champion this work after the sunset of the task force. Working together, a bill to create a new statewide Financial Education and Capability Commission with diverse stakeholder representation was recently signed and takes effect October 1, 2012.

These milestones could not have been accomplished by philanthropy operating alone. They illustrate the role philanthropy can play to impact a policy issue or a population in tandem with traditional grantmaking activities. Funders can be highly effective serving as subject matter experts on task forces, we can convene and be vocal at public forums, and we can underwrite research and outreach efforts in support of desired policy or program changes.

This is the hard work philanthropy will need to embrace beyond our grantmaking activities to see the changes we want over time and on a scale that maximizes impact. Getting there will require us to be consistent and deliberate in our cultivation of open and effective working relationships with our public sector partners.
 
In my experience in the field of financial capability, this inclusive and productive partnership will be paying dividends for Maryland families for many years into the future.

Tags:  ABAG  Affinity Groups  Asset Building  Financial Literacy  FLAB 

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