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News & Press: ABAG's "Adventures in Philanthropy" Blog

Adventures in Philanthropy: Recognizing Our Role Models in Philanthropy

Friday, December 2, 2011   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Buffy Beaudoin Schwartz
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December 1, 2011

By Betsy Nelson, Special to The Daily Record

Each November the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) celebrates National Philanthropy Day to recognize the extraordinary impact of the charitable sector and the increasing role it plays in our society and countries around the world.

Billions of dollars are given to charities every year, supporting programs and services that administer to those in need. Civic participation and important societal bonds are created and strengthened through philanthropy as we work to improve the quality of life for all people.

This year, Janet and Frank Kelly were honored as AFP-Maryland’s 2011 Outstanding Philanthropists of the Year and Joseph & Harvey Meyerhoff Family Charitable Funds was honored as the 2011 Outstanding Philanthropic Foundation of the Year.

Janet and Frank Kelly have dedicated their lives to helping others. Through their business, Kelly & Associates Insurance Group, and through their many donations to causes throughout Maryland, Janet and Frank have embodied the spirit of philanthropy. In the areas of health care, education and athletics, the Kellys have had a profound impact.

Meyerhoff generosity

Perhaps best known as the namesake for the current home of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, the Meyerhoff family has a long history of philanthropy in Maryland. The Meyerhoff Funds have supported key institutions in our area, including the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C., Johns Hopkins Hospital, and THE ASSOCIATED: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore.

"For 50 years, our family has focused on the quality of life issues in the region,” said Terry Rubenstein, executive vice president of Meyerhoff Family Charitable Funds. "In addition to our strong commitment to the Jewish community both here and in Israel, our family foundations have a deep commitment to Baltimore … funding institutions that support the middle class and institutions that reach many people.”

This belief has led the Meyerhoff funds to invest directly in middle-class neighborhoods and families through efforts like the More in the Middle project at Associated Black Charities, the Central Scholarship Bureau, Healthy Neighborhoods, the Creative Alliance and the Downtown Baltimore Family Alliance.

The Meyerhoff family serves as a model for philanthropic giving not only to their fellow Marylanders but also to those around the country and the world.

"We are facing precarious times, so we must listen to each other with open minds and open hearts,” said Rubenstein. "Together we can develop solutions that will keep making Baltimore better.”

Business philanthropy

As part of the celebration, the Maryland Chamber of Commerce and Baltimore Business Journal also awarded the Maryland Business Philanthropy Awards to three businesses whose philanthropic efforts have made Maryland a better place to live, work and do business:

-Chef’s Expressions, Small Employer Winner. This catering company encourages employees to volunteer at charity events, provides auction items and hosts wine dinners as fundraisers for charities.

-Choice Hotels International, Large Employer Winner: This Silver Spring-based company has made numerous contributions to a wide variety of nonprofits in Maryland.

-Verizon Wireless and Verizon Foundation, Large Employer Winner: The company and its foundation have donated more than $2.6 million in grants, providing needed funding for more than 1,000 Maryland-based organizations. Its employees have volunteered nearly 45,000 hours of community service, much of it focused on the advancement of literacy and K-12 education and the prevention of domestic violence.

National Philanthropy Day is a great kickoff to December’s "giving” season. So, please join me in paying tribute to the great contributions that philanthropy — and those people active in the philanthropic community — make to our lives and our communities.

Betsy Nelson, president of the Association of Baltimore Area Grantmakers, writes every other week for The Daily Record. She can be reached at 410-727-1205

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