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The Baltimore Ravens Serve Children and Families

Posted By Melanie LeGrande, Sunday, November 20, 2011

By Melanie LeGrande
Executive Director, RACTF/Director of Community Relations, [ABAG Member] Baltimore Ravens

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. But we cannot forget that in the short-term, there are still those who need our attention. Those who have to choose between holiday meals and keeping the lights on. Those who have to choose between holiday gifts for their children and heat for the winter.

During the holidays, we are happy to say that our players join forces every year to provide meals, gifts and funds to those who desperately need it. Many of the players have been on the receiving end of such distributions and recognize that they are now in a position to return the favor. Additional players know the importance of giving back and take the time to give. It is our culture, and we’re proud to make a difference.

According to the Maryland Food Bank, there are 466,000 people in the state who are food insecure, meaning they are unsure of where their next meal is coming from. Each year, the Ravens organization and its players commit to making a difference by feeding Maryland families. Below is an example of events taking place around Thanksgiving efforts. 

* Ravens LB Ray Lewis hosted his annual distribution of Thanksgiving baskets and home products/toiletries to 800 Baltimore families on Tuesday (11/15). 

* Ravens LB Jameel McClain partnered with the Salvation Army Warehouse to extend a helping hand to families in need this holiday season. McClain hosted his second annual Thanksgiving distribution on Tuesday (11/15), where 53 families were presented with a Thanksgiving basket complete with a turkey and all the trimmings. 

* On Tuesday (11/15), the sixth annual holiday dinner at the Helping Up Mission men’s shelter in downtown Baltimore was led by Ravens RB Ray Rice. Turkey, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, stuffing, cranberry sauce, mixed vegetables, rolls and dessert was a special meal for 350 men who live and visit the shelter. 

* Ravens G Ben Grubbs and CB/RS Lardarius Webb teamed to distribute Thanksgiving baskets to 300 Baltimore-area, single-parent families on Friday (11/18). The third annual event was held at the Park Heights Boys & Girls Club. 

* Ravens C Andre Gurode distributed 500 turkeys to families in need on the east side of Baltimore, working alongside Israel Baptist Church and Collington Square School, on Friday (11/18). 

* On Friday (11/18), Ravens S Ed Reed distributed Thanksgiving meals with all the fixings to 300 families of the SEED School in Baltimore, Md. This was the first of three Thanksgiving basket distributions that Reed will facilitate. Others will take place on Monday, Nov. 21 at Coppin State, and at Booker T. Washington Middle on Tuesday, Nov. 22. 

* Ravens LB Brendon Ayanbadejo will serve families on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, Nov. 29. He is working with a local charter school in south Baltimore. 

* The Ravens will host their 16th annual Food & Funds Drive throughout the month of November. Over 50 Giant Food stores will be collecting non-perishables, and the virtual food drive ( will be collecting funds. 

At the Ravens vs. Bengals game on Nov. 20, more than 100 volunteers took part in the stadium collection. In 2010, the efforts generated 25,000 lbs of food and more than $30,000.

This is our culture, and we’re proud to make a difference.

Tags:  And Now A Word from Our Members  November 2011 Members' Memo 

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November 2011: ABAG Member News

Posted By Kim Snipes, Sunday, November 20, 2011
We are excited to welcome Anne Wetzler who joined the Aaron Straus and Lillie Straus Foundation and the Clayton Baker Trust earlier this month. Anne provides administrative support for the two foundations. She may be reached at Long-time administrative staff person Pat Paulson will retire at the end of the year. 

ABAG also welcomed a new consultant for the Workforce Development Affinity Group, Linda Dworak. Martha Holleman will continue to work on workforce issues and projects with the Baltimore Integration Partnership. 

The Foundation Center released its Foundation Giving Trends (2011 Edition) which ranked the Keith Campbell Foundation for Environment eighth overall with 154 grants totaling $9 million among the top 10 foundations by share (87%) of its total giving in the United States for the Environment or Animals. The Harry and Jeannette Weinberg Foundation was second only to W.K. Kellogg Foundation in the amount of giving to Human Services in 2009 – 449 grants totaling $62 million.

Tags:  ABAG Member News  November 2011 Members' Memo 

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Committee Updates

Posted By Adam Donaldson, Wednesday, November 16, 2011

November 2011

ABAG's Program Committee

Staff, affinity group coordinators, and member volunteer leaders have begun planning for the Association of Baltimore Area Grantmakers’ 2012 calendar of programs and events! 

Thank you to all members who completed the program survey to help us improve our offerings. We look forward to an amazing 2012 around the ABAG table.

In 2012, Elisabeth Hyleck, Special Initiatives Director, will guide ABAG’s calendar and program design with the advice of the Program Committee. 

Elisabeth encourages members to recommend program topics and speakers by using the Program Nomination Form. Elisabeth will be your point of contact for all meeting/event planning questions.

This is a shift in staffing role for Elisabeth and it fits her skills and national work in helping funders build knowledge and move to action.

Members Services Director Adam Donaldson will continue to support a number of member groups and plan grantmaking practice programs, but will gain additional time to devote to new member recruitment and public policy activities.

For further information on ABAG's events and programs, please contact Elisabeth Hyleck.

Tags:  ABAG Committee Updates  November 2011 Members' Memo 

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Recent Reports from the Field

Posted By Elisabeth Hyleck, Wednesday, November 16, 2011
November 2011

The Book That Changed My Life (Getting Attention) 129 Recommendations from Nonprofit Leaders Around the World.

Catalyzing Networks for Social Change: A Funder's Guide (Grantmakers for Effective Organizations)

Fusing Arts, Culture and Social Change: High Impact Strategies for Philanthropy (National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy) This is the third in the High Impact Strategies for Philanthropy series of reports that invites grantmakers focused on specific issues to reconsider their funding strategies to generate the greatest impact.

Giving in Numbers: 2011 Edition (Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy) In this report, CECP not only presents a profile of corporate philanthropy in 2010, but also seeks to answer the pivotal question:
How has corporate giving changed since the onset of the economic downturn?

Influencing Public Policy in the Digital Age: The Law of Online Lobbying and Election-related Activities (Alliance for Justice) This publication continues our long-standing commitment to provide definitive advocacy tools to the nonprofit community, and complements our other resources and technical services, available online and directly from our expert staff.

Key Facts on Mission Investing (Foundation Center)

Making Change: Family Foundations Call for a Fresh Approach to Serving Philanthropic Groups (Threshold Group)

The Nonprofit Social Media Decision Guide (Idealware) We created the Nonprofit Social Media Decision Guide to help organizations like yours determine what results and benefits you can reasonably expect from social media, and to guide you through the process of identifying the right channels for different goals. To help you turn the theoretical into the practical, we included a workbook that applies what you’re learning to your own real-world needs. This year, we updated the entire guide with new research, additional sections on goals and strategies, and information about using social media for advocacy and fundraising.

Opportunities for Leadership: Meeting Community Information Needs 2011 (FSG & Knight Foundation) Our profiles tell the stories of why these foundations were motivated to incorporate information needs into their work, what they did to achieve their goals and what outcomes they have seen as a result. Across the three stories, the common expression of their work is the connection between information and community leadership.

Tying the Knot: The Founding of Silicon Valley Community Foundation (Silicon Valley Community Foundation) The story of their first five years which provides lessons for other organizations about the inevitable ups and downs of undertaking a merger, the size and complexity of which was unprecedented among community foundations.

Tags:  November 2011 Members' Memo  Recent reports from the field 

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Meet ABAG's Staff!

Posted By Buffy Beaudoin-Schwartz, Wednesday, November 16, 2011
Starting on a part-time basis in 1996, Ann joined ABAG to provide staffing support to the newly formed Baltimore Neighborhood Collaborative (BNC). Since then, Ann has used her leadership and facilitation skills to bring over thirty foundation, financial institution, and government partners to work together to strengthen Baltimore neighborhoods.
Now in its fifteenth year, BNC has awarded close to $7.5 million in grants, capacity assistance, training and policy research to support neighborhood revitalization, foreclosure prevention and mitigation, and transit-centered community development. Ann serves on the Older Industrial Cities Committee of the Funders Network for Smart Growth and Livable Communities as well as Baltimore’s Red Line Community Compact Advisory Committee.
Ann brings her love of cities and experience in community planning, grassroots organizing, coalition-building, public policy and non-profit management to her position as BNC Director.
Prior to joining ABAG, Ann 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, and the 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.
When not at BNC, Ann enjoys singing, in the a cappella group Out to Late (with ABAG colleague Bonnie Legro!), exploring Baltimore neighborhoods, gardening, and spending time with her husband, son and Labrador retriever at their home near Belvedere Square.
Ann can be reached at:

Ann Sherrill
Director, Baltimore Neighborhood Collaborative 410.727.0169 ext. 1214

Tags:  Meet ABAG's Staff  November 2011 Members' Memo 

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"How to Make the Most of Social Media"

Posted By Buffy Beaudoin-Schwartz, Wednesday, November 16, 2011

By Buffy Beaudoin-Schwartz, Communications Director, Association of Baltimore Area Grantmakers

One of my jobs at the Association of Baltimore Area Grantmakers is to help raise the public’s awareness of the role philanthropy plays – especially the work of our member foundations and corporate giving programs – to improve the quality of life in our region. 

As The Resource on Grantmaking, we provide critical information and services to the philanthropic and nonprofit communities. As The Network for Givers in our region, we convene grantmakers and others to address issues and create lasting solutions. And, as The Voice for Philanthropy, we represent the philanthropic sector to key audiences, including the media, legislators, and national organizations, raising public awareness and understanding about the role and impact of philanthropy on our society.

In order to enhance our ability to be the resource, network and voice of and for our members, we have been utilizing social media for four specific reasons:

· Communicate: As an additional avenue to communicate with our members.

· Disseminate: To "Tell the Story of Philanthropy” by highlighting the importance of charitable giving and how donating to one’s community can bring about real change - which is the work of our member institutions.

· Concentrate: To "listen” to what others are saying about issues we care about, and to utilize these opportunities to gather knowledge, information and resources.

· Participate: And, to be a part of, and help to shape the conversation about philanthropy that is taking place all day, every day, through social media.

In recent years, we’ve turned more and more to social media – notably Facebook and Twitter — to help us:

  • Tell the story of what philanthropy is accomplishing in our region and across the country.
  • Listen to what people are saying about issues we care about, and use this information to respond accordingly.
  • Participate in an ongoing conversation with others who are also blogging, Tweeting and sharing about philanthropy via social media.
Based on our experiences and what we’ve learned over the past several years, here are some recommendations we’ve developed for making the most of social media and that might be useful for our member organizations too:
  • Start with a rationale for the use of social media, and make sure it is consistent with your overall communication strategy.

In order to enhance our ability to be the resource, network and voice of and for our funder members, we use social media, and in particular Facebook and Twitter for four specific reasons: To Communicate, Disseminate, Concentrate and Participate.

  • Develop a social media policy for your organization.

Organizations that use social media as part of an overall communication strategy to achieve set goals should have a policy in place in order to have a consistent presence and to inform, guide and empower staff. Our policy is relatively simple, is a living document, and touches on our organizational goals, values, key audiences, staff roles, specific platforms, appropriate content,monitoring and evaluation goals, and personal/professional responsibility.

  • Map your social media distribution and participation opportunities in advance as much as you can– identify based on seasons, holidays, programs, events, trends, hot topics.

For example, we plan in advance to highlight the good work of our members through social media every two weeks when our "Adventures in Philanthropy” column in theMaryland Daily Recordis published; or at the end of the year during the holidays we plan for the opportunity to highlight the employee giving programs of our member corporations.

  • Be clear about who you "friend” and "follow” and why in order to obtain the best and most relevant ongoing information.

We are bombarded with information 24/7 and find it helpful to connect with individuals and organizations that are most relevant to our work – that we wish to reach with information, and that provide us with information to inform our work – for example, our members, partners, other foundations, policymakers and local, regional and national media.

  • Find your organization’s unique and professional yet casual voice – it’s a new and different medium to engage in and with.

Our social media voice mimics our overall voice in all our communications, which is pretty straightforward, but there is a more casual, energetic and cheerful tone that we use in Facebook and Twitter that we hope encourages more dialogue and engagement than our traditional "voice” might.

  • Practice good social media etiquette – participate, reach out, comment, follow, friend and thank your core constituencies on an ongoing basis.

We like to give a "shout” about the good work of our members and partners on an ongoing basis, thank those who RT or MT our Tweets, and answer those who engage with us via Facebook in a timely manner because we believe it’s the right thing to do, but also because it promotes a good working social media relationship and connection with those we are trying to reach and engage.

  • Recognize that a sound social media plan requires an organizational commitment.

We built our social media plan as part of our overall communications plan – designed not to replace our traditional communication efforts, but to enhance them. As ABAG’s Communications Director I manage our social media on a daily basis. An important part of our organizational commitment has been to engage our staff regularly regarding ideas and opportunities to incorporate their work into our social media, and to keep our board and members informed and engaged in our ongoing efforts. There is a time commitment throughout the day but I feel that it has significantly enhanced my ability to obtain and distribute information and has had a positive impact on overall communications.

  • Evaluate! Social media efforts should be monitored as part of your overall communications efforts.

We evaluate all our communications on a quarterly basis, including our Facebook and Twitter efforts. We are primarily looking right now at the basics – # of followers and fans, # of RTs, MTs, views, mentions, likes and comments, andwhat is of most interest to those who are connecting with us. In 2012 we plan to continue efforts to evaluate and understand the impact of our social media and how it relates to our overall goals.

  • Be thoughtful, strategic, fluid and flexible – have fun with it!

We are still learning daily about how to make the most of social media, but plan to continue our thoughtful approach while allowing for some experimentation and flexibility as we understand the opportunities and hone our skills in using social media to tell the story of the good work of philanthropy, listen, learn, and participate in the ongoing conversation every day.

That’s our list of "To Do’s.”What’s on yours?

Buffy Beaudoin-Schwartz can be reached

Tags:  Eye on Philanthropy  facebook  November 2011 Members' Memo  social media  twitter 

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