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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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ABAG Strives to be Inclusive in Hiring and Contracting

Posted By Elisabeth Hyleck, Monday, June 13, 2016

By Elisabeth Hyleck, Programs and Initiatives Director, Association of Baltimore Area Grantmakers 

Diversity, in all its aspects, is an essential ingredient of good governance, and has been shown to result in better financial and organizational performance; increased capacity to connect to new markets and communities; expanded access to talented staff and volunteers; enhanced innovation and creativity; and stronger professional relationships.  ABAG believes that its governance and programs will improve if the perspectives of individuals of different backgrounds are included in its board, staff, programs, and decision-making. For ABAG, inclusiveness means creating a welcoming and trusting environment that facilitates learning and incorporates viewpoints of diverse communities.

Our Association is guided by our Diversity, Equity and Inclusiveness Policy, which defines what we mean and what we will do. It specifies that ABAG will use its diversity, racial equity and inclusiveness principles when contracting for goods, services, and recruiting, hiring and retaining staff. We feel we’ve had recent success in this arena and want to share with our members how we go about this work.


We know that people connect with jobs and opportunities mainly through personal connections. We also know that many people of color have been excluded from networks that provide them access to opportunity.  ABAG staff strives to develop and maintain connections with networks that will bridge divides of race and class. We then share job postings with these networks. Examples of this include the Annie E. Casey Foundation Program Assistant Network, ABFE, Morgan State University Graduate program, and programs such as Baltimore Corps. 


We also use the standard language on our job descriptions, “The Association of Baltimore Area Grantmakers is an equal opportunity employer and seeks a diverse pool of candidates in this search.” It helps to be explicit!


Even in outreach to our personal/professional networks we are explicit in our desire to reach a diverse pool of candidates – again being intentional prompts colleagues to be intentional in their thinking and ultimately their referrals.



Have you attended a lunchtime program at ABAG recently? Did you know that we strive to use local, women- and minority-owned businesses that serve high-quality, healthy, delicious food? Our top caterers are: Mt. Vernon Stable (long live the turkey club!) owned by Lori Yagjian; Station North Arts Café, owned by Kevin Brown and William Maughlin; and Cazbar, owned by Haluk Kantar. Over the years we’ve tried out several other caterers and social enterprises and are always on the lookout for other options that meet our criteria. Please let us know if you have any suggestions for us!


We also contract with KJones Consulting, LLC, a women- and minority-owned enterprise, for our accounting services and with SB & Company, LLC, a minority-owned enterprise, for our annual audit.  We also work with HR Strategy Group, a women-owned enterprise offering customized human resources support and consulting. We believe that directing our funds in this manner grows minority businesses, increases minority hiring opportunities and is good for our local economy.   


Each of our contractual relationships has expanded our network and our ability to access a strong pool of diverse candidates and vendors to meet the needs of our organization.


Today, we are proud of the expertise and skills our diverse staff bring to our organization, for the benefit of our members. We also recognize that in order to retain staff, ABAG needs to be an organization where all people feel welcome and valued.  We strive to be a team of welcoming colleagues, offering support to new team members and encouraging continuous learning and the close collaboration that ensures growth and success for each of us as individuals and as a team. We know embracing diversity and inclusiveness and focusing on racial equity in its governance and programs will help us achieve ABAG’s mission to maximize the impact of giving on community life through a growing network of diverse, informed and effective philanthropists.

Tags:  ABAG Members  diversity  Equity  Inclusion  Inclusiveness 

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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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ABAG Diversity and Inclusion Committee Report to Members

Posted By Elisabeth Hyleck, Tuesday, February 17, 2015
Updated: Tuesday, February 17, 2015

February 17, 2015

By Elisabeth Hyleck, Programs and Initiatives Director

The Association of Baltimore Area Grantmakers’ mission is to maximize the impact of philanthropic giving on community life through a growing network of diverse, informed and effective grantmakers. ABAG is committed to fulfill its mission by embracing diversity and inclusion in its membership, governance and programs.

The Diversity and Inclusion Committee meets quarterly to infuse ABAG's values of diversity, inclusiveness and respect in our work and is charged with guiding, evaluating, and sharing information about ABAG’s work toward increasing diversity and inclusion.

ABAG recognizes that achieving diversity and inclusion is an ongoing process and must be intentional. To that end, we are pleased to have recently published a report on our 2014 work with the full ABAG membership as well as a dashboard report about 2014 programs through a diversity/equity/inclusion lens. We believe tracking and sharing data sheds light on our work and invites comment and suggestions for improvement, which in turn strengthens it. For instance, feedback has led us to change the categories in 2015 to align with the Census bureau classifications. ABAG members interested in reading these reports should contact me at

For more context about this work, I invite you to read the ABAG Diversity and Inclusion Policy. Also, ABAG is officially a member of the D5 Coalition, a five-year coalition made up of other regional associations of grantmakers, foundations, and infrastructure groups to advance philanthropy’s diversity, equity, and inclusion. We are proud to be a part of and learn from work at a national level.

ABAG is grateful for the leadership, expertise and guidance of dedicated committee members, especially our co-chairs, Debra Rubino of the Open Society Institute - Baltimore and Nonet Sykes of the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

If you have any questions, thoughts or suggestions regarding ABAG’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee, please me via email: Elisabeth Hyleck, or 410/727-1205.

Tags:  D5 Coalition  Diversity  Equity  February 2015 Members' Memo  Inclusion 

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Are You Ready to Take 5?

Posted By Elisabeth Hyleck, Wednesday, October 15, 2014
Updated: Monday, October 27, 2014
October 15, 2014
By Elisabeth Hyleck, ABAG Programs and Initiatives Director

As an association, ABAG has committed to taking action to advance diversity, equity and inclusion in philanthropy. We are participating in the Take 5 Campaign with the D5 Coalition of philanthropic leaders taking on this essential work.

Take 5 is a movement to take action. The goal is ambitious, but achievable: 500 actions by 2015.

The Take 5 Campaign mobilizes champions of diversity, equity, and inclusion to build support for the movement among their peers. By 2015, 100 champions will pledge to take 5 actions to help advance DEI in the field of philanthropy. We are asking our members, fellow foundation leaders, to join us in taking action – thereby expanding the movement of foundations committed to advancing DEI.

Take 5 champions need tools to take action. Fortunately, there are dozens of tools and resources to help champions advance DEI in their own foundations, and to help them encourage their peers at other institutions.

Sharing the language and tools to tackle some of the most difficult conversations in our communities could have the most profound impact on our work and be the difference we are trying to make in the communities we serve. Racial and economic inclusion is arguably the most important conversation we can lead for the future of our city and region.

ABAG encourages all members to ask, "What can I do to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion?” and then pledge to Take 5. And, as always, we stand ready to support you so please let us know how ABAG can assist you in this important work.

 Attached Thumbnails:

Tags:  D5  diversity  Equity  inclusion  October 2014 Members' Memo  Take 5 

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Advancing Philanthropy's Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Posted By Elisabeth Hyleck, Thursday, September 4, 2014
Updated: Monday, September 15, 2014

September 4, 2014

By Elisabeth Hyleck, Programs and Initiatives Director

ABAG is a member of the D5 Coalition, a five-year effort to advance philanthropy’s diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). 

The D5 Coalition has published a series of research reports to explore the opportunities and challenges facing the field as we work to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion in philanthropy—and illuminate some best practices that are propelling the movement forward. Their reports have explored the role of peer networks in facilitating progress, the career trajectories of people of color in philanthropy, and policies, practices, and programs that advance DEI in philanthropy.

The final report of the series that explores grantmaking practices, "Foundations Facilitate Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: Partnering with Community and Nonprofits,” was authored by the OMG Center for Collaborative Learning. It confirms that foundations can, in fact, facilitate DEI through their grantmaking processes and their partnerships with nonprofits—and identifies eight specific practices for foundations to emulate.

The report takes a deep dive into the work of nine foundations that represent a diverse cross-section of types and sizes, and offers useful lessons about how foundations can better partner with nonprofits to be more effective in their work. 

As our constituencies become increasingly diverse, we need to understand and reflect their rich variety of perspectives in order to achieve greater impact. To that end, here at ABAG we are committed to fulfill our mission by supporting the learning of members about issues related to DEI. In fact, we are pleased to present to members the opportunity to attend the following free webinars offered by the D5 Coalition and the Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers:

Vision and Voice: The Role of Leadership and Dialogue in Advancing Diversity,
Wednesday, October 22, 1:00 – 2:00 PM

Philanthropy Northwest will share its findings from a research study that explored the complex factors and opportunities that foundation leaders navigate to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion in their foundations. Foundation executives that participated in a peer learning cohort as part of this study will reflect on their experiences and share their own lessons learned for colleagues and the field. This is a free webinar offered by the D5 Coalition and the Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers.

Empowering People in Philanthropy to Take Action
Wednesday, November 19, 1:00 – 2:00 PM

Philanthropy cannot meet its potential without harnessing the creativity, strengths, and insights of all members of our society. This webinar will draw upon research conducted by D5 that sheds light on how change happens, specific strategies and resources for taking action, and winning words to start and sustain conversations about diversity, equity, and inclusion. This is a free webinar offered by the D5 Coalition and the Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers.

Building Momentum for Data Standards to Tell Philanthropy’s Full Story
Wednesday, December 10,
1:00 – 2:00 PM

Who works in philanthropy? Where do philanthropic dollars go? In our era of big data and in a field that recognizes the importance of data, why has the collection and sharing of demographic data been so elusive? Learn how regional associations and their members are using data conversations and tools to spark efforts to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion in philanthropy, and to strengthen their grantmaking and impacts in communities. This is a free webinar offered by the D5 Coalition and the Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers.

To register for any of these webinars, please email Hafizah Omar at the D5 Coalition. 

It’s important for us at ABAG to play a role in equipping philanthropic leaders with information that can help us create a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive field and we remain committed embracing diversity and inclusion in our membership, governance and programs and will continue infuse ABAG's values of diversity, inclusiveness and respect in our work.


For more information on our efforts, click here.

Tags:  Adventures in Philanthropy  D5 Coalition  Diversity  Equity  Inclusion  Members' Memo September 2014 

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Philanthropy’s Equity Imperative

Posted By Elisabeth Hyleck, Thursday, June 12, 2014
Updated: Monday, June 23, 2014
Updated, June 23, 2014
By Elisabeth Hyleck, Programs and Initiatives Director

At ABAG’s Annual Meeting last month, members and partners heard Angela Blackwell Glover, Founder and CEO of PolicyLink discuss "A Maryland That Works for All: Philanthropy’s Equity Imperative” and about realizing the opportunity of our country's increasing diversity. You can find highlights of the event/keynote here or you can view in full on YouTube.

ABAG’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee, which strives to support the learning of members about issues related to equity and inclusion, solicited reactions to the keynote address and input about ABAG’s work toward increasing diversity and inclusion by asking attendees to provide us with input on a key take-away, an action that they might take following the meeting, topics of interest to explore further and/or suggestions for ABAG’s continued efforts in this area.

We were so pleased at the responses!

Here’s a few of the thoughts and comments from our funding community:

• "Equity ≠ Equal. Different groups have different needs”
• "We’re becoming a nation that is defined by what’s happening with people of color”
• "Hearing the statistics based on race/people of color are becoming the majority is astounding!”
• "More advocacy - Innovation in mental health-social, emotional development in schools.”
• How can philanthropy influence public and private policy to build the middle class?
• Some say it’s not about race - it’s about poverty. How should we think through that?
• What does this mean for programs, policies & strategies in philanthropy?
• Changing the narrative. How to tell the equity story? How to talk in the economic terms?
• Congratulations to ABAG for leading the conversation on Equity.

And, here’s some of the follow-up thoughts from our members:

1. Sign up for the Policy Link mailing list.
2. Use the "equity lens” to inform group work, by raising it in each conversation.

As a result of these suggestions, our first next step is to plan a discussion about race and poverty in Maryland.

ABAG remains committed to fulfill our mission by embracing diversity and inclusion in our membership, governance and programs and will continue infuse ABAG's values of diversity, inclusiveness and respect in our work.
For more information on our efforts, click here.

Tags:  Adventures in Philanthropy  Diversity  Equity  Inclusion  June 2014 Members' Memo 

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ABAG's 2014 Annual Meeting - A Maryland That Works for All: Philanthropy's Equity Imperative

Posted By Celeste Amato, Wednesday, May 21, 2014

May 21, 2014 

By Celeste Amato, ABAG President

We had a successful 2014 Annual Meeting last week on May 14 at the Grand Historic Venue. It was wonderful to see so many long-time and new members and partners networking and enjoying the day!

We heard from Keynote Speaker Angela Glover Blackwell, Founder and CEO of PolicyLink who discussed "A Maryland That Works for All: Philanthropy's Equity Imperative."

And, we welcomed new Board Members and Officers, and thanked departing directors for their service. I would like to extend particular thanks to Beth Harber of The Abell Foundation for her leadership over the last two years as ABAG's Board Chair, and welcome Laurie Latuda Kinkel of The Goldseker Foundation as our new chair.

Here are some highlights from our Annual Meeting:

  • You can view the Annual Meeting Program here
  • Read Beth Harber's remarks hereNonet Sykes' remarks here, and Laurie Latuda Kinkel's remarks here
  • Listen to Angela Glover Blackwell's keynote here 
  • Read my State of ABAG remarks here and listen to them here
  • View pictures on Facebook here
  • Read the #ABAGAM14 Twitter feed here
  • View our Board and Officer announcement here, and
  • Read highlights of the event/keynote here

My thanks to our hardworking ABAG staff for another successful annual event!

Tags:  2014 ABAG Annual Meeting  Adventures in Philanthropy  Angela Glover Blackwell  Diversity  Equity  Inclusion 

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A Maryland That Works for All: Philanthropy’s Equity Imperative

Posted By Adam Donaldson, Monday, May 19, 2014

May 19, 2014

By Adam Donaldson

Last week ABAG celebrated our 31st Annual Meeting with over 150 members and partners gathered to elect the Board of Directors and to hear from Keynote Angela Blackwell Glover, Founder and CEO of PolicyLink discuss "A Maryland That Works for All: Philanthropy’s Equity Imperative."

She spoke to us about realizing the opportunity of our country's increasing diversity, which you can view in full on YouTube.

To encourage your viewing, here’s a few soundbites:

  • "…equity is just and fair inclusion in to a society into which all can participate, prosper, thrive and reach their full potential. It’s a tall order."
  • "When we use the term equity we have to start with what it is we want to achieve and back in to what the inputs might be.”
  • "…think in universal goals with targeted strategies."
  • "There is certainly something wrongwith under investing in public education. There is certainly something wrong when amenities like grocery stores, drug stores, and parks move away and shut down in those communities. There is certainly something wrong to have employment discrimination…”
  • "The equity agenda is certainly a moral agenda. You feel that you should do the right thing – the right thing with your philanthropy, the right thing with your personal….but this is also an economic agenda."
  • "We are going to be in a place where cities are the center of everything."

She provided three broad policy priorities for building an equitable economy:

1. Grow Good Jobs: by maximizing the equity and growth returns from public spending and investment, improving the pay and quality of low-wage jobs, and expanding entrepreneurship opportunities among people of color.

2. Build Human Capabilities: by upgrading the education and skills of our diverse workforce and ensuring all children can realize their full potential in the world of work.

3. Erase Barriers and Expand Opportunities: by dismantling racial barriers to economic inclusion and civic participation, building pipelines to high-quality jobs, and implementing place-based strategies and investments to create communities of opportunity.

And, finally, she highlighted the particular role for philanthropy in this work:

  • Philanthropy can build champions of equity.
  • Philanthropy can support proof of concept.
  • Philanthropy can support the narrative change that equity is not just a moral but an economic issue.
  • Philanthropy can fund advocacy.
  • Philanthropy can support communities of practice.
  • Philanthropy can help your Boards of Directors understand equity.

You can learn more about Angela Blackwell Glover and PolicyLink here.

 Attached Thumbnails:

Tags:  diversity  equity  inclusion  May 2014 Annual Meeting  May 2014 Members' Memo 

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Summer Reading List

Posted By Elisabeth Hyleck, Friday, July 19, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, July 24, 2013

July 19, 2013 

By Elisabeth Hyleck, ABAG Strategic Initiatives Director

The Association of Baltimore Area Grantmakers’ Diversity and Inclusion Committee, has compiled this list of top picks for your summer reading. We thank the Baltimore Racial Justice Action’s resources webpage and the Kellogg Foundation’s Racial Equity Resource Guide for their compilations as well.

Pick one up, pour a tall, cool drink, and settle into your armchair for an interesting read!


The New Jim Crow: Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness

Michelle Alexander, The New Press, 2012

This book directly challenges the notion that the election of Barack Obama signals a new era of colorblindness. Legal scholar Michelle Alexander argues that "we have not ended racial caste in America; we have merely redesigned it." By targeting black men through the War on Drugs and decimating communities of color, the U.S. criminal justice system functions as a contemporary system of racial control—relegating millions to a permanent second-class status—even as it formally adheres to the principle of colorblindness.

The Presumption of Guilt: The Arrest of Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and Race, Class and Crime in America

Charles Ogletree, Palgrave Macmillan, 2012

Shortly after noon on Tuesday, July 16, 2009, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., MacArthur fellow and Harvard professor, was mistakenly arrested by Cambridge police sergeant James Crowley for attempting to break into his own home. Ogletree uses this incident as a lens through which to explore issues of race, class, and crime, with the goal of creating a more just legal system for all. Working from years of research and based on his own classes and experiences with law enforcement, the author illuminates the steps needed to embark on the long journey toward racial and legal equality for all Americans.

White Like Me: Reflections on Race from a Privileged Son

Revised Ed., Tim Wise, Soft Skull Press, 2011.

A highly personal examination of the ways in which racial privilege shapes the lives of most white Americans, overtly racist or not, to the detriment of people of color, themselves, and society. The book shows the breadth and depth of the phenomenon within institutions such as education, employment, housing, criminal justice, and healthcare.

Privilege, Power, and Difference

2nd Edition, Allan G. Johnson, McGraw-Hill, 2005.

A very readable book on oppression and privilege that covers race, gender, class, sexual orientation, and disability. Has a good chapter on "What Can We Do?”

American Beach: A Saga of Race, Wealth and Memory

Russ Rymer, HarperCollins, 1998.

A journalist documents the story of American Beach, an African American resort on Amelia Island in north Florida, and the family of its founder, Florida’s first black millionaire. An excellent example of how institutional racism and the legacy of slavery and Jim Crow embed themselves in the political, social and economic realities of current day America.

Education as My Agenda: Gertrude Williams, Race and the Baltimore Public Schools

JoAnne Robinson, Palgrave MacMillan, 2005.

A gripping narrative thoughtfully and clearly told by Gertrude Williams, deeply contextualized by Jo Ann Robinson. Williams identifies the essential elements of sound education and describes the battles she waged to secure those elements, first as teacher, then a counselor, and, for twenty-five years, as principal.

"Brown" in Baltimore: School Desegregation and the Limits of Liberalism

Howell S. Baum, Cornell University Press, 2010.

This book presents the history of Baltimore school desegregation and shows how good intentions got stuck on what Gunnar Myrdal called the "American Dilemma." From the classroom to city hall, Baum examines how Baltimore's distinct identity as a border city between North and South shaped local conversations about the national conflict over race and equality. The city's history of wrestling with the legacy of Brown reveals Americans' preferred way of dealing with racial issues: not talking about race. This avoidance, Baum concludes, allows segregation to continue.

Blockbusting In Baltimore: The Edmondson Village Story

W. Edward Orser,The University Press of Kentucky, 1997.

Like many suburbs, Edmondson Village, a post-WWI rowhouse development with 20,000 residents, saw a dramatic shift in its population between 1955 and 1965. Behind this change lay blockbusting techniques adopted by realtors in which scare tactics were used to encourage white owners to sell cheap, followed by drastic markups for potential black buyers who lacked access to conventional bank mortgages.

Baltimore's Two Cross Keys Villages: One Black. One White

James Holechek, iUniverse, Inc., 2003.

Baltimore’s Two Cross Keys Villagesis about two communities virtually next door to one another. As one was dying, the other was born. Cross Keys Village (named after a nearby inn) was established by African Americans in north Baltimore. Forty years ago, in a surprise rush to urban renewal, the city condemned and tore down most of the homes to make room for a high school parking lot. Author Jim Holechek interviewed many of the former residents of the old Cross Keys Village to learn what life was like in their disappearing enclave.

Articles and Reports

The Danger Outside

Jeannine Amber,Essence,2012.

"After unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin was shot dead by neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman in Sanford, Florida, ESSENCE's Jeannine Amber interviewed his grieving family and explored the question: What should we be telling our young men about how to keep themselves safe? Below, as the nation reels from Zimmerman's acquittal, read her award-winning story.”

The Roots of the Widening Racial Wealth Gap: Explaining the Black-White Economic Divide

Thomas Shapiro, Tarjana Meschede, Sam Osoro, Institute on Assets & Social Policy, Brandeis University, 2013.

"The authors’ "analysis found little evidence to support common perceptions about what underlies the ability to build wealth, including the notion that personal attributes and behavioral choices are key pieces of the equation. Instead, the evidence points to policy and the configuration of both opportunities and barriers in workplaces, schools, and communities that reinforce deeply entrenched racial dynamics in how wealth is accumulated and that continue to permeate the most important spheres of everyday life. ”

Structural Racism & Community Building

Aspen Institute Roundtable on Community Change. 2004.

This publication describes the problem of structural racism in the United States and highlights its implications for community building.

America’s Tomorrow: Equity Is the Superior Growth Model

Sarah Truehaft, Angela Glover Blackwell, and Manuel Pastor, PolicyLink, 2011.

The face of America is changing, and the fate of America hinges on how we react to – and invest in – those changes. Written by PolicyLink and the University of Southern California's Program for Environmental and Regional Equity,America's Tomorrowmakes the case that racial and economic inclusion is critical to succeeding in the global economy.

Implicit Bias Insights as Preconditions to Structural Change

john powell and Rachel Godsil, Poverty& Race Research Action Council, 20:

Tags:  ABAG Committee news  Adventures in Philanthropy  Diversity  Inclusion  July/August 2013 Members' Memo 

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Exploring Race Matters

Posted By Elisabeth Hyleck, Monday, May 20, 2013
Updated: Thursday, May 16, 2013

May 20, 2013

By Elisabeth Hyleck, ABAG Strategic Initiatives Director

Last month, ABAG’s staff, board and Diversity and Inclusion Committee came together to discuss why race - racial equity - matters for us as individuals, our community, and for our organization.

We met for a day-long session about the Race Matters/Responsive Philanthropy in Black Communities framework and introduction to core tools.

The Association of Black Foundation Executives (ABFE) coordinated the training funded with support from the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

The Race Matters/Responsive Philanthropy in Black Communities Training:

  1. Promotes evidence based decision making about the racial disparities that exist in our nation/communities;
  2. Allows stakeholders/participants to engage in deeper conversations about the unequal opportunities that exist; and
  3. Provides tools that can help lead to effective organizational and programmatic actions to advance equity, diversity and inclusion goals.

This training worked toward one of the goals of ABAG’s Diversity and Inclusiveness Policy:

ABAG will provide learning resources and support for ABAG member organizations to increase diversity and inclusiveness in their own programs, activities, outreach, staffing, governance, and grantmaking.

Further, it provided us with a shared language and knowledge base and gave us many ideas about how to further infuse ABAG's values of diversity, inclusiveness and respect throughout our work.

An introductory workshop is like speed dating – the best outcome is that the parties want to meet again and/or act on what they learned. Some further activities we are discussing include:

  • Testing some of the tools with an ABAG affinity group and with key ABAG policies, operations, and practices;
  • Continuing to help our members learn together and from one another via educational programs and peer exchanges; and
  • Being more consistent and intentional in our communications about our work in this arena.

ABAG recognizes that achieving equity, diversity and inclusion is an ongoing process and must be intentional.

We will continue on this journey and invite others to come along with us.

You can read more about this in Nonet Sykes' Adventures in Philanthropy blog this month, "Ensuring Racial and Ethnic Equity"

Tags:  ABAG's Eye on Philanthropy  Adventures in Philanthropy  Affinity Groups  Annie E. Casey Foundation  Core Values  Diversity  Equity  Inclusion  May 2013 Members' Memo  Race Matters 

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Ensuring Equitable Opportunities for Children and Families

Posted By Nonet Sykes, Monday, May 20, 2013
Updated: Thursday, May 16, 2013

May 20, 2013

By Nonet Sykes, Senior Associate, Annie E. Casey Foundation & Co-Chair, ABAG's Diversity and Inclusion Committee 

Ensuring equitable opportunities for children and families is of great importance to The Annie E. Casey Foundation.  Casey has a long history of implementing programs, supporting research, promoting understanding and sharing data on issues of racial equity aimed at increasing equitable opportunity for all children, families and communities.

Why does the Foundation invest in race equity and inclusion?  

Casey seeks to develop solutions to build brighter futures for children, families and communities.  We foster public policies, human-service reform and community supports to help vulnerable children and families succeed.  Racial disparities exist in virtually every indicator of child and family well-being and span the areas of child welfare, juvenile justice, income, wealth, housing, education and health - all areas that are of utmost interest to the Foundation.  These disparities have made it more difficult for people of color to gain a foothold in mainstream society.

As the country’s demographics shift and communities of color become the fastest growing group of Americans, the very same racial and ethnic groups who have traditionally been underserved in America are quickly growing in number and population share. Unless current trends are reversed, the situation is likely to worsen. Casey recognizes that achieving our results at scale requires that we heighten our effectiveness in addressing issues of racial equity.  

We believe that ensuring equitable opportunity for children, families and communities of color is fundamental to achieving our mission.

Tackling issues of racial equity and inclusion in policy, advocacy and at the programmatic level is integral to the success of our mission and has required greater focus and intentionality.  

Casey’s Race Equity and Inclusion (REI) portfolio serves as an "engine” and driver of this work and aims to provide the data, tools and supports needed to achieve our long term desired result that a child’s race or ethnicity will no longer be a predictor of their well-being or future.  

To help advance our work around race equity in the field, Casey developed the Race Matters Toolkit which is designed to help decision-makers, advocates and elected officials to get better results in their work by dismantling the systems and structures that prevent kids and families of color from reaching their full potential.  

The Race Matters Toolkit provides tools and strategies for engaging in a deeper analysis, dialogue, and messaging about racial inequities that will ultimately lead to improved outcomes for children and families of color. In January 2011, Casey supported the launch of the Race Matters Institute to broaden the knowledge, awareness and application of the Race Matters Toolkit. 

We are funding partners of the D5Coalition, a five year effort to increase diversity, equity and inclusion within philanthropy and the Race and Equity in Philanthropy Group (REPG), a group of funders dedicated to strengthening organizational policies and practices to advance racial equity. 

These investments are all aimed at leveraging Casey’s opportunity to partner with the philanthropic community to align our thinking, build collective action, disseminate best practices and increase equitable opportunities for children and families.

In addition to my work at The Annie E. Casey Foundation, I am pleased to share my experience and expertise as chair of ABAG’s Diversity and Inclusiveness Committee where we work with ABAG staff and members to ensure that ABAG’s values of equity, inclusiveness and respect are apparent in our work. 

You can read more about our recent workshop on Race Matters in Elisabeth Hyleck’s Adventures in Philanthropy blog this month, "Exploring Race Matters”.

Tags:  Adventures in Philanthropy  And Now a Word from Our Members  Annie E. Casey Foundation  Diversity  Equity  Inclusion  May 2013 Members' Memo  Race Matters 

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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

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

Tags:  associated  black  charities  diversity  foundations  giving  philanthropy 

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