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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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Recent Reports from the Field - April 2015

Posted By Buffy Beaudoin-Schwartz, Monday, April 20, 2015

Recent Reports from the Field - April 2015

The latest news and information for the philanthropic sector:

Can Place-Based Grantmaking Help Turn the Tide of Inequality? (The Aspen Institute)

Agenda Setting: A Wise Giver's Guide to Influencing Public Policy (Philanthropy Roundtable)

Corporate Social Responsibility & the Arts (Animating Democracy)

Foundation Grantmaking over the Economic Cycle (Urban Institute)

Many Voices, One Goal: How an informal foundation collaborative helped make California history (Stuart Foundation)

Thank you to our national membership association,The Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers, for compiling much of this information.

Tags:  April 2015 Members' Memo  Recent Reports from the Field 

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An Inclusiveness Vision for Maryland

Posted By Adar Ayira, Tuesday, April 14, 2015

April 15, 2015

By Adar Ayira, Project Manager, More in the Middle Initiative, Associated Black Charities

In March I had the pleasure of representing Associated Black Charities (ABC) as a keynote speaker at Maryland Nonprofit’s Quality of Life Summit. One of the first discussions focused on participants’ vision for Maryland, and inclusiveness was a part of that vision for some participants.

ABC certainly champions an inclusiveness vision and an equity frame.

In our vision, Maryland has strong businesses and communities with growing industries within our city, suburbs, and rural areas. Our inclusiveness vision is one where access and opportunity are not for a demographic few but for everyone.

At the Quality of Life Summit, I had the pleasure of explaining how this vision and understanding forms the foundation of Associated Black Charities’ "More in the Middle” Initiative.

ABC’s More in the Middle Initiative is a roadmap for creating an economically stronger Maryland in which businesses and families can prosper through:

· educating on and advocating for policies that resolve systemic and structural barriers and open doors of opportunity and access;

· testing new service intervention models that strongly address "personal responsibility” while acknowledging the devastating impacts of structural and institutional racism;

· bridge-building for increased traction and impact;

· actively partnering with organizations and businesses to leverage relationships, partnerships, and strategies; and

· building alliances with national organizations who also support strategies that promote similar policy and program strategies.

Central to our inclusiveness vision is an equity frame.

We understand that – like other areas of the country – Maryland residents are becoming more racially and ethnically diverse. In fact, our age 40-and-under populations (overall) are either 50% or just-under 50% people of color; our adopting an equity frame/lens is good business.

An equity frame encourages development of a common worldview, one that acknowledges where we are historically "situationally placed” in society.

Because ABC believes in a vision of Maryland that supports businesses and families, we believe in nonprofits developing policies that incorporate a racial equity lens.

At Maryland Nonprofit’s Quality of Life Summit, we shared information about our document – "Policy Applications of a Racial Equity Lens” – that shared 10 essential questions for policy development, review, and evaluation. That report can be found at

Events like the Quality of Life Summit offer opportunity to share not only the work of our colleagues but to recommit to an inclusiveness vision and offer concrete roadmaps to make the journey.

Tags:  ABC  April 2015 Members' Memo  Diversity  Equity  Inclusiveness 

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2015 Maryland Partners for Justice Conference

Posted By Harriet Robinson, Tuesday, April 14, 2015

April 14, 2015

By Harriet Robinson, Deputy Director, Maryland Legal Services Corporation

ABAG Member, the Maryland Legal Services Corporation (MLSC) invites ALL ABAG members to attend the 2015 Maryland Partners for Justice Conference

Thursday May 14, from 8:15 AM to 3:30 PM

Location: Baltimore Convention Center, 1 West Pratt Street, Camden Lobby, Baltimore, MD 21201

Registration: Early bird rate by 4/24 - $95; lunch/keynote only - $55

This one-day conference presents a unique opportunity for funders to join legal services program staff, the public and private bar, members of the judiciary, human services agencies, and elected officials to discuss critical issues facing the poor and underrepresented in our state with a focus on both civil and criminal legal issues. The full conference schedule and registration is found here.

Can’t commit to the whole day? There is an option to register for just the luncheon to hear the keynote speaker, MacArthur Fellow Jonathan Rapping, Esq., President and Founder of Gideon’s Promise, an organization devoted to inspire, mobilize and train legal professionals to provide the highest quality defense representation to people unable to afford an attorney. In 2014, Rapping established a partnership with the Maryland Office of the Public Defender, marking the first time the Gideon’s Promise model will be integrated into a statewide defender system.

In case you missed the ABAG Program: Spotlight on Civil Legal Aid, or would like to learn more about the legal aid landscape in Maryland, plan to attend the Maryland Partners for Justice Conference!

You can also download the ABAG Funder Brief: Investing in Justice.

Tags:  April 2015 Members' Memo  Maryland Legal Services Corporation  Maryland Partners for Justice  MLSC 

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Applications for Tax-Exempt Status Double in 2014

Posted By Adam Donaldson, Wednesday, April 8, 2015

April 8, 2015

By Adam Donaldson, ABAG Member Services Director

The IRS approved more than 110,000 applications for tax-exempt status in 2014, more than doubling the number (44,274) approved the previous fiscal year, according to a new report.

At the Association of Baltimore Area Grantmakers, we wish we could say that the growth was caused by a spike in philanthropy and the establishment of many new foundations! It could be partly true, but the IRS attributed the spike to both a new Form 1023-EZ used by 20,103 smaller entities and a related almost-automatic approval process for other application forms. To apply for exempt status using Form 1023-EZ, the applying organization must have less than $50,000 income (annual gross receipts) for each of the next three years.

We also wish we could say that the growth in nonprofit public charities was caused by a surge in goodwill and commitment to social services. Perhaps, but the National Council of Nonprofits attributes the spike to lessoning standards and the failure of the IRS to appropriately vet applications to create new nonprofits. The federal Taxpayer Advocate warned Congress that the new approach amounts to the "IRS’s abdication of its responsibility to determine whether an organization is organized and operated for an exempt purpose.”

Funders may welcome innovation, new ideas and new people to nonprofit leadership, but they also remain deeply concerned about unnecessary duplication of effort and the dispersion of charitable resources – both money and people.

One report is not a trend, but the Association of Baltimore Area Grantmakers will continue to monitor Form 1023-EZ and work with Maryland Nonprofits and the National Council of Nonprofits on IRS policies that work for its members and for our mission to improve communities through effective philanthropy.

Tags:  April 2015 Members' Memo  Charitable Tax Deducation  IRS  Nonprofits  Public Policy  Tax Exempt Status 

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Why Women Give – The “9 C’s”

Posted By Buffy Beaudoin-Schwartz, Monday, April 6, 2015
Updated: Friday, April 10, 2015

April 6, 2015

By Buffy Beaudoin-Schwartz, ABAG Communications Director

Having data on women philanthropists is one thing, but understanding why they give is another.

Noted experts on women’s philanthropy, Sondra Shaw-Hardy and Martha Taylor, originally identified what they call the "6C’s" for why women give:

  • Create new solutions to problems; be entrepreneurial through their philanthropy
  • Change things for the better; make a difference
  • Commit through volunteerism to the organizations and institutions whose vision they share; often give to organizations to which they have volunteered
  • Connect with the human face their gift affects; build a partnership with people connected with the project they fund
  • Collaborate with others - often other women - as part of a larger effort; seek to avoid duplication, competition and waste
  • Celebrate their accomplishments; have fun together; enjoy the deeper meaning and satisfaction of their philanthropy

They later identified some exciting changes in women’s giving - resulting in the creation of three final C’s for why women give. Women recognize their capacity to give, displaying a new motivation for giving.

Women are:

  • Taking control of their lives, their finances and their philanthropy
  • Gaining confidence in becoming philanthropic leaders
  • Having the courage to challenge the old ways of doing things and taking risks with their giving to bring about change

In their latest book - that I am fortunate to have worked on with them - Women & Philanthropy: Boldly Shaping a Better World, Sondra and Martha discuss the "9C’s of women’s giving as they cover key topics in women's philanthropy, including: the modern movement, women as prospects, how and why women give, overcoming barriers, developing gender-sensitive fundraising programs, communicating with women, women as leaders and donors, couples and family giving, and working with women of wealth.

To learn more about how women are shaping philanthropy check out this list of women’s philanthropy resources on Sondra’s website and follow Women & Philanthropy: Boldly Shaping a Better World on Facebook and Twitter.

Tags:  April 2015 Members' Memo  giving circles  Women's Giving  Women's Philanthropy 

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Baltimore Integration Partnership Update - March 2015

Posted By Kurt Sommer, Thursday, March 26, 2015
Updated: Thursday, April 2, 2015

March 26, 2015

By Kurt Sommer, Director, Baltimore Integration Partnership

Strong Workforce, Strong Economy: Baltimore Regional Workforce Development Plan
This new report from the Opportunity Collaborative combines earlier studies on workforce barriers and career pathways and offers recommendations to advance workforce development in the region. The report explores strategies for strengthening industry led partnerships, building stronger basic skills/post-secondary education, improving transportation/job accessible housing, undermining structural racism, supporting people with criminal records, and expanding resources. The report will ultimately be incorporated with regional plans on transportation and housing in a "Regional Plan for Sustainable Development” which is expected to be released this summer.

TRF to manage HCPI Development Fund; BIP helps capitalize fund
The HCPI Development Fund has negotiated a relationship with The Reinvestment Fund (TRF) to manage a targeted $10 million fund for real estate redevelopment in Central Baltimore. The HCPI Fund will be used in tandem with $4.5 million in acquisition funds from the State of Maryland. So far, Johns Hopkins University has committed $750,000 from the HCPI budget to the Fund; the BIP has enabled TRF to prioritize $400,000 from an existing predevelopment pool for the fund; and TRF has raised $85,000 for staffing from two different sources.

Webinar Discussion/New Report on Economic Inclusion
The Annie E. Casey Foundation hosted a webinar and panel discussion on March 20, 2015 entitled "Community Change: A Focus on People and Place” highlighting economic inclusion activities in Baltimore, New Orleans and across the nation. The webinar was recorded and is available for viewing. In addition, a new report "Expanding Economic Opportunity: Lessons from the East Baltimore Revitalization Initiative,” was also released. It details outcomes, findings and recommendations from the inclusion efforts in east Baltimore, includes examples of other inclusion policies and practices from Baltimore (including the BIP) as well as across the nation, and concludes with lessons for the field.

Small Business Resource Center offers "Contractors College”
On April 8th the Small Business Resource Center, in partnership with the Baltimore City Mayor’s Office and the BIP, will be hosting the first of 5 training sessions to help local construction contractors build capacity. The first class will focus on "Doing Business with Hospitals and Universities” and feature overviews by several anchors on their procurement processes and opportunities. Additional classes will feature training on OSHA, Bidding and Estimating, Project Management, and Local Hiring/MBE Certification. More Information.

Food Hub and BIP to Host Food Vendor Fair
Together with American Communities Trust and the Baltimore Integration Partnership, the Baltimore Food Hub is organizing a Vendor Fair on June 8th from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. at Lexington Market to showcase the best of Baltimore's local food & beverage businesses. Buyers from anchor institutions, in addition to hotels, supermarkets, and restaurants, will be in attendance with the goal of connecting with local food vendors to arrange potential purchasing and distribution agreements. For more information, please contact

BIP Helps Fund Training on Race and Food
Over 30 individuals including representatives of the Baltimore Food Policy Advisory Committee, area nonprofits, anchor institutions, and community members participated in a day and a half long training on structural racism. The sessions focused on equity in the food sector and explored policy and programmatic issues in relation to food deserts, healthy food access, and community engagement. Coordinated by the Baltimore City Food Policy Director, the training was also supported by Kaiser Permanente of the Mid-Atlantic States, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and Baltimore Community Foundation.

Baltimore City / TRF Release 2014 Housing Market Typology
The 2014 Housing Market Typology was completed by TRF in partnership with Baltimore Housing and Baltimore City Planning. The analysis provides a report card on the health of the city housing market and regular updates help reveal changes or trends. The resulting map illustrates the range of housing markets found throughout the City, which are categorized within eight market types. Since 2005, Baltimore’s Housing Market Typol ogy (HMT) has been used to help guide public policy, market studies, community plans, grant funding applications and capital improvement programming. Learn More and Download a Copy.

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:  April 2015 Members' Memo  Baltimore Integration Partnership  BIP  Workforce 

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