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More in the Middle

Posted By Buffy Beaudoin-Schwartz, Monday, March 21, 2011

March 21, 2011

In spite of gains over the recent decades, inequities in income, employment, educational attainment, housing and business ownership rates persist between African American and white communities at a national and local level.

To address this, Associated Black Charities of Maryland (ABC) launched "More in the Middle”, an asset and wealth building initiative that aims to strengthen the economic competitiveness of the state and region by supporting -- through public policy, grant making, project incubation, research, convening, and advocacy --the increased access and opportunity needed to achieve more equitable economic outcomes between whites and African Americans, as well as other people of color.

More in the Middle has an ambitious, data-driven, outcomes based intervention and investment strategy to address the economic vitality and health parity for all Marylanders by surfacing and working with its partners to eliminate long-standing and institutional barriers to people of color. ABC recognizes that if the state can retain, grow, and attract "More in the Middle”—more African American middle income residents who will help grow the economy of the region and spread their economic gains across the state – then the "economic renaissance” seen in some areas of the state will expand to others, bringing more income, an increased tax base, a broader workforce pipeline of leaders and workers, and a more robust economy.

Diane Bell McKoy, President and CEO of Associated Black Charities, noted "the More in the Middle agenda is one that offers an "on-ramp” for everyone in the state of Maryland. It is really simple. If you believe in the development of human capital; if you recognize that areas with on-going, long-lasting economic weaknesses are bad for growing and sustaining families, businesses, and prosperity; and if you understand that strengthening economically distressed ‘linchpin' groups positively affect and strengthen the families, communities, and social and economic structures around them, then you can find an access point to the More in the Middle agenda.”

Associated Black Charities was founded in 1985 to represent and respond to an African American community whose issues and realities were being dismissed or ignored. Concerned about the limited access, opportunities, and "voice” allowed these communities in greater society, a group of area ministers and businessmen came together to call for an organization that would raise and distribute funds to organizations targeting needs within Maryland's African American communities.

In its 26th year, Associated Black Charities is a respected public foundation. With the investment of its partners, including individual donors, corporations, foundations and other public and private funds, ABC continues its mission to facilitate the creation of measurably healthier and wealthier communities throughout the State of Maryland through responsible leadership and philanthropic investment.

I applaud Associated Black Charities for its dedication to strong, healthy, and economically viable communities by creating opportunities for all Marylanders.

For more information on Associated Black Charities and it's More in the Middle Initiative, visit http://www.abc-md.org/.

Betsy Nelson is the President of the Association of Baltimore Area Grantmakers. She can be reached at 410-727-1205 or bnelson@abagrantmakers.org.

Tags:  associated  black  charities  diversity  foundations  giving  philanthropy 

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