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Creating a Triple Bottom Line for Projects in Baltimore

Posted By Kurt Somer, Monday, April 11, 2011
Updated: Tuesday, July 5, 2011

ABAG's Eye on Philanthropy is a series of ongoing blog posts from ABAG's professional staff, each highlighting timely and relevant information useful to our grantmaking members and focused on the world of philanthropy. 

By Kurt Sommer, Director, Baltimore Integration Partnership

Facilitating revitalization, creating jobs for local area residents, and financing a healthy project to improve area communities is the focus of the new Baltimore Integration Partnership (BIP)

The BIP is new collaboration led by the Association of Baltimore Area Grantmakers between the City of Baltimore, the State of Maryland, philanthropic organizations, universities and colleges, nonprofit organizations and a regional community development financial institution (CDFI). 

To make this work possible, The BIP was awarded a grant of $2,770,000 (over three years), $12 million in commercial debt, and $3 million in Program-Related Investments by Living Cities to create new jobs and improve neighborhoods in Central and East Baltimore, while preparing residents for opportunities created by the planned East-West Red Line Transit Corridor. 

The Annie E. Casey Foundation is one of twenty two national Living Cities members. In addition to their support of the national Living Cities Integration Initiative, they have provided additional support at the local level to the BIP. Locally, they have been joined by other area foundations including Goldseker Foundation and Associated Black Charities as well as the Baltimore Workforce Funders Collaborative and Baltimore Neighborhood Collaborative.

After more than a year of proposal development and formulation, the BIP was launched in January of 2011. Led by the collaborative efforts of ABAG, stakeholders have been working to develop criteria to screen local development projects; develop workforce outreach systems in Central Baltimore connected toEast Baltimore Development and the Mayor’s Office of Employment Development; and structure a workforce training fund to help local residents advance through career paths in jobs financed by the BIP and those available in the City and region. 

Building capacity to support the work of the BIP has been aided by the growing presence of The Reinvestment Fund (TRF) which is the CDFI partner of the initiative. Based in Philadelphia, TRF is managing the financial transactions on behalf of the BIP and has expanded their Baltimore presence opening an office and hiring staff dedicated to work on the initiative.

The BIP is also looking to maximize the impact of area anchor institutions including Johns Hopkins, Maryland Institute College of Art, and the University of Baltimore. Work is just getting underway to identify if there are strategies in the areas of capital investment, procurement, and hiring that can provide a career path for low-income individuals and can strengthen neighborhoods.

Public policy and ultimately a "systems change” that works to create "a new normal” is the three year objective of the BIP. Through the Central Maryland Transportation Alliance and Job Opportunities Task Force, public policy goals developed by the BIP can be moved toward implementation while other partners around the table can work to implement more local and process related changes to advance the BIP goals. 

It is the partners at the table that have made the first three months of the BIP successful and they will ultimately help define the success of the BIP for the residents and communities the initiative serves. More information about the BIP can be found at

We invite your thoughts as well, and encourage you to post a comment below!

Kurt can be reached at:

Kurt Sommer
Director, Baltimore Integration Partnership

Tags:  April2011MembersMemo  Baltimore City  Baltimore Integration Partnership  BIP  community development  Living Cities  philanthropy  workforce development 

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Investing in Capacity Building

Posted By Rebecca Southers, Tuesday, April 5, 2011
Updated: Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The third Annual Nonprofit Summit just took place in Frederick and we invited Rebecca Southers, Grants Coordinator at The Ausherman Family Foundation to blog about the foundation's support of the Summit and commitment to investing incapacity building for nonprofits in Frederick County.

One of my first assignments as a staff member of the Ausherman Family Foundation was to help The Frederick Rescue Mission to improve their grant writing capacity, bringing more resources into Frederick County. When I asked the staff for their case statement I was informed that it didn't yet exist so I began with staff interviews, a preliminary case statement, and a presentation to the board of directors. This resulted in the hiring of a case manager who is now measuring program outcomes in a more comprehensive way than had ever been done previously.

This is also a classic example of how organizational capacity building works – one strand is pulled and the whole web changes shape.

The staff members and Trustees of the Ausherman Family Foundation are passionate about building a strong and vibrant nonprofit community in Frederick County, Maryland, and this passion has guided the foundation's work. The Ausherman Family Foundation's capacity building grant program provides funds for consultants to help organizations develop anything from a marketing plan to a program evaluation plan.

My role as Grants Coordinator at the foundation was created to strengthen our nonprofit community: As in the example above, I provide grantwriting technical assistance to selected grantees.

We have also, in partnership with the Community Foundation of Frederick County and HandsOn Frederick County, facilitated a Nonprofit Summit for the past three years.

The Nonprofit Summit is a one day training event that brings high quality, low cost professional development to Frederick County. The first Summit was held in March 2009 and it has grown each year. In March 2011, 167 nonprofit executives, board members, staff, and volunteers attended.

Our nonprofit community finds value in this local training event both for the learning opportunities and the opportunities to build partnerships. Sue Oehmig, Executive Director of Hope Alive, attended the Summit with several board members who walked away with new information and a plan of action. Sue wrote, "Our board members…plan to meet in the coming month to begin to implement a lot of changes on how the board meetings are run and to incorporate much more strategic thinking.”

Carol Goundry, a member of The Banner School's parent organization, got to experience the depth and diversity of our nonprofit community. She observed, "As a first time attendee, I found the sessions to be engaging, professional, and informative. It is great to know so many great nonprofit organizations exist in Frederick County.”

As I darted in and out of workshops on topics ranging from "Leading Through a Crisis” to "Nonprofit Storytelling” the thing I enjoyed the most was observing my community's leaders helping each other brainstorm solutions to a problem during a small group activity or reflecting on new ideas over lunch.

Place-based philanthropy and organizational capacity building complement each other well. As a local funder, we know our local leaders and believe in the power of our local nonprofits to address our community's problems. We can also take the time to build relationships with those local leaders and nonprofits in order to help them improve their service to the community.

The Ausherman Family Foundation will continue to invest in capacity building programs like the Nonprofit Summit in order to "provide support for institutional initiatives and transformational ideas.”

I invite your thoughts below about investing in capacity building!

Tags:  And Now A Word from Our Members  April2011MembersMemo  Ausherman  Capacity Building 

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April 2011: Family Philanthropy Blog

Posted By AdamDonaldson, Tuesday, April 5, 2011
Updated: Thursday, July 7, 2011

ABAG’s monthly digest of news, information, and resources for family funders and the next generation. Contact Adam Donaldson,, for additional resources tailored to our families.

The Family Philanthropy Roundtable
This roundtable provides an opportunity for family foundation trustees and board members to talk with each other about the joys and challenges of family philanthropy and share expertise, experiences, questions, and concerns with others in similar situations. No one pretends to have the one right answer, but there is always thoughtful discussion. Informal roundtable luncheons are held 3-4 times each year.

Family Philanthropy Roundtable Recap

On March 23, family funders heard from Phil Rauch and Cathy Brill of The Rauch Foundation and Betsy Krieger of the Fund for Change, describing their experience convening people and making grants aimed at changing public policy. Each highlighted the potential to leverage public funding 1000s times greater than initial grant investments and to attack root causes of problems. Cautions included that it takes long involvement in an issue to see change; it is difficult to measure success; and it requires a lot of personal time to learn about policy issues.

To mitigate this latter challenge and stay informed, you can rely on your colleagues through ABAG affinity groups, as well as meet with your grantees. When considering a grant to an advocacy organization consider their media record and access to government decision makers, but also their ability to bring champions together.

You may also help by funding a research or position paper that can be used as evidence to persuade law makers. Some family funders focus on bringing law makers or government staff together for a briefing on the issue or a planning summit.

For more information on the advocacy grantmaking and the rules around advocacy and lobbying for foundations, please visit the Tools For Members Public Policy Section on the website.Among other resources you will find:

Local News and Resources

National News and Resources

Upcoming Program

Tags:  April2011MembersMemo  Family Philanthropy Blog  Next Generation 

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