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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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Member Benefit: ABAG's Member Directory

Posted By Kim Snipes, Monday, July 20, 2015

July 20, 2015

By Kim Snipes, Member Information and Operations Manager 

As the premier resource on philanthropy in the region, we continue to publish our ABAG Member Directory for nonprofits interested in learning more about local funders. Our directory is unique in that the information we publish is provided directly from you, our members and does not rely on public databases.

Today, websites like allow grantseekers to view information about grants, asset size and trustees for all foundations. This access makes philanthropy more transparent and accountable, but often does not fully capture a foundations’ giving, mission or areas of interest.

The ABAG Member Directory is an excellent opportunity to give accurate information about your foundation to the grantseeking community. It also provides the opportunity to communicate your giving priorities, whether or not you may be contacted, and how you wish to be contacted.

An added benefit – many ABAG members have found that by clarifying the areas of interest and application process of their organization, they have experienced a decrease in inappropriate requests for funding.

Not to be confused with the ABAG Colleague Directory (see how the two publications are different below), the ABAG Member Directory focuses on providing clear, up to date information about a funder’s priorities, process and deadlines. Last year we partnered with Maryland Nonprofits and now offer their members a discount when they purchase the Directory.

Available as a PDF download, the Directory is $65 and is updated periodically throughout the year. Our next major update (i.e. we will be asking you to update your information) will be in early 2016.

Don't hesitate to contact me with any questions! 

Member Directory

Colleague Directory

Published by ABAG

Distributed to ABAG members only

Sold to the nonprofit community as THE RESOURCE on grantseeking in our region

Includes information on the mission statements, areas of interest and types of support for ABAG members

Contains an expanded contacts section to help make connections with your ABAG colleagues

Tags:  Colleague Directory  July/August 2015 Members' Memo  Member Directory 

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ABAG's Green Funders and Workforce Development Affinity Groups Visit Hidden Parts of Baltimore's Landscape

Posted By Rebecca Ruggles, Monday, July 20, 2015

July 20, 2015

By Rebecca Ruggles, ABAG Green Funders Affinity Group Coordinator

So much we take for granted in our daily lives is the result of complex operations just out of sight. This is true for both our water and wastewater systems, and for the continuous movement of goods in and out of Baltimore Harbor.

Members of the Green Funders and Workforce Development affinity groups at ABAG have recently gone behind the scenes to see hidden parts of our greater Baltimore landscape.

In May, the Green Funders and a few guests toured the Back River Waste Water Treatment Plant in Essex. This is where everything that goes down the drain ends up.

With the capacity to treat 180 million gallons of "influent” daily, the plant occupies a 466 acre site owned by Baltimore City on the west shore of the Back River, which flows to the Chesapeake Bay. It serves 1.3 million residents of Baltimore City and Baltimore County.

If you’ve ever looked out over East Baltimore from Clifton Park or while driving out Erdman Avenue, you’ve seen two strange gold domes on the horizon. These are anaerobic sludge digesters, and they stand over 150 feet high. We stood on a catwalk inside these huge edifices after having walked all over the complex, seeing each stage in the complex process of sewage treatment.

In June, undaunted by our foray into the dark corners of wastewater, the Green Funders took a tour of another somewhat hidden feature of metropolitan Baltimore – the port. This time workforce funders and environmental funders joined together for a bus tour of three port businesses. Hosted by the Baltimore Port Alliance, funders and guests visited the operations of Steinweg, Ruckert and CNX.

At Steinweg, we were oriented to the volume of product being moved in and out of huge warehouses lining the shores of the harbor. The unique holding and handling requirements of different types of product dictate the nature of the operations. Steinweg, for instance, is retrofitting a warehouse to meet USDA requirements for handling organic grain. At Ruckert, we saw mountains of salt and learned about the 24 hour response required during storms when road salt is in constant demand. At CSFX, we heard how run off is managed from the coal piles that are visible just north of the 895 harbor tunnel.

On a tour last winter of the Dundalk Marine Terminal and Seagirt facility, members of the Green Funders saw ocean-going vessels being loaded with new vehicles, cranes lifting containers from ships and plunking them onto the backs of cabs, and acres of agricultural machinery awaiting transfer to other countries.

Seeing what’s behind the scenes of major features of our greater Baltimore region stimulates new conversations about how communities can benefit from jobs and be protected from pollution.

If you have an idea for a "behind the scenes” tour, let us know.

 Attached Thumbnails:

Tags:  Affinity Groups  Green Funders  July/August 2015 Members' Memo  Workforce  Workforce Development  Workforce Funders 

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The Right to be Informed – 990 E-Filing

Posted By Adam Donaldson, Monday, July 20, 2015

July 20, 2015

By Adam Donaldson, Member Services Director

On June 16, 2015 Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and co-sponsors John Thune (R-SD) and Johnny Isakson (R-GA) introduced the Taxpayer Bill of Rights Enhancement Act of 2015, which was referred to the Committee on Finance. Among other provisions, under Title V – The Right to be Informed, the legislation mandates e-filing of nonprofit 990 tax returns and requires the IRS to make the returns public in machine readable format.

Mandatory e-filing of nonprofit tax records – a good idea?

There has long been interest requiring charitable nonprofits to file their IRS Form 990 annual tax returns electronically rather than submitting them on paper. For several years President Obama has proposed electronic filing. The IRS’s Advisory Committee of Tax Exempt and Government Entities (ACT) recommends mandatory e-filing in its current annual report (FYI Maryland Nonprofits’ Amy Coates Madsen is a member of ACT!).

Advocates say donors would have better information to inform their philanthropy if the IRS required all nonprofits to electronically file AND the information was in a machine readable format. Researchers, watchdog groups and nonprofit leaders would better understand financial health, the nonprofit capacity of communities and more. And besides, BIG data is now cool.

There is concern about the administrative burden to small organizations and to organizations with less technological capacity. The Grassley legislation addresses this directly by giving organizations under $200,000 in gross receipts two additional years to comply with the mandate. Advocates counter argue that e-filing can be simpler and less expensive than traditional paper.

Missing from the media coverage and inevitable march to technocratic transparency has been an overt conversation that private foundations are also nonprofit organizations that file the 990PF. Most likely legislation from Congress would apply to e-filing documents by all variations of tax-exempt organizations.

As a network of philanthropists, this realization resurfaces conversations at the Association of Baltimore Area Grantmakers about the transparency continuum from Glasspockets to Anonymity. There are strong arguments that transparency increases public trust, wins funding partners to your work and improves grantee relations. It also diminishes personal privacy and undermines the ethic of anonymous giving.

We will be tracking the progress of proposed regulations and preparing our members for what feels like inevitable change.

Mandatory e-filing of nonprofit organizations and private foundation tax records – a good idea?

Tags:  July/August 2015 Members' Memo  Nonprofits  Public Policy 

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Recent Reports from the Field - July 2015

Posted By Buffy Beaudoin-Schwartz, Monday, July 20, 2015
Updated: Monday, July 20, 2015
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The Network, Resource and Voice for Philanthropy

Posted By Carmel Roques, Thursday, July 2, 2015

July 2, 2015

By Carmel Roques, ABAG Board Member, and President & CEO, Keswick Multi-Care

I was recently invited to speak at the Annual Meeting of the Association of Baltimore Area Grantmakers about the work we are doing at Keswick Multi-Care and how it illustrates one of the goals’ of the Association’s newly presented strategic plan.

ABAG’s mission is to maximize the impact of philanthropic giving on community life through a growing network of diverse, informed and effective philanthropists. As an ABAG Board Member, I was happy to speak about our efforts at Keswick and about the new strategic plan, which underscores that we are all, as a network, the Voice of Philanthropy. The new plan highlights four main goals, and I helped illustrate Goal #3: "The Association will create a strong brand promoting the organization, members, and the philanthropic sector.”

Here are my remarks:

"It is such a pleasure to be here with all of you today to lift up the third Goal of the ABAG Strategic Plan.

When I came to serve as Keswick’s CEO three and a half years ago I took to heart the words of Charles Darwin, "in the long history of human kind, those who learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed” Notice he did not say the biggest, the strongest, the boldest, or even the smartest. It was the ones who learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively who prevailed.

Well, I knew I wanted Keswick to prevail, so I immediately went about looking for the people and organizations that seemed to be able to collaborate and improvise most effectively. It did not take long to find ABAG.

As some of you know, Keswick is a Baltimore institution with over a130 year commitment to enhancing the quality of life of chronically ill older adults and their families. In recent years the Keswick Board recognized that by leveraging our resources in collaboration with other philanthropic organizations and providers, there were opportunities to significantly expand Keswick’s mission impact.

As we have worked on collaborating and improvising, ABAG has been a tremendous support and resource for Keswick.

  • ABAG provides the forum for addressing the complex societal issues that we care about in the communities we serve. Keswick has historically had a fairly narrow focus as a long term care provider. But as the social determinants of health take an ever more prominent place in our common understanding of health outcomes, many other factors have become critical to the conversation. ABAG has provided the forum for taking the broader perspective as we sit with experts and longtime providers and funders in areas outside of the health care sector.
  • ABAG provides a robust peer network of philanthropic organizations and leaders focused on collective impact:

The aging affinity group, under Jim McGill’s leadership has proven to be an extraordinary resource for Keswick. We have formed relationships, connections, and deep bonds with the provider and funder community by being at the table for these tightly focused and expertly facilitated opportunities for education and dialogue around key issues facing older adults in Maryland. Together we can make Baltimore one of the best places to grow old.

  • ABAG provides the highest quality resource for informing and educating the member organizations about best practices in philanthropy:

Introducing the Keswick Board to the best practices in philanthropy was one of the goals that Celeste and I discussed early on when Keswick became a member organization. It was extraordinarily helpful to have Celeste provide board education at our corporate retreat this year because she is not only an expert in philanthropy but very importantly (and I know you all understand this) she is an expert in Baltimore philanthropy. The Board knows that Celeste and her team will continue to be available to them on their transformative journey.

Are you asking yourself; how does this tie into the goal of creating a strong brand promoting the organization, members and the philanthropic sector?

As community organizer once told me, if you are not sitting at the table you are probably on the menu.

I would say to you that ABAG provides the table at which every provider and funder wants to be sitting. It is the table where those who have learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have a seat. I am sure that Charles Darwin would agree that those who sit around the ABAG table will prevail.”

Tags:  #ABAGAM15  Carmel Roques  July/August 2015 Members' Memo  Keswick Multi-Care 

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The HEART of Workforce in Baltimore and Our Region

Posted By Linda Dworak, Wednesday, July 1, 2015

July 1, 2015

By Linda Dworak, Director, Baltimore Workforce Funders Collaborative

Last week I had the opportunity to speak before 500 people at the Opening Plenary of the National Fund for Workforce Solutions annual meeting held here in Baltimore. I am pleased to share my remarks that touch upon Baltimore, some of the amazing people who are at the heart of workforce innovation, and some of the amazing funders who are investing in this important work:

"Good afternoon and welcome to Baltimore!

We are so glad to host this meeting. We hope you’ll have a great visit - please explore some of our fantastic local restaurants, take a walk along the harbor out to Harbor East, Fells Point or up north to Mount Vernon! Eat some crab and have a great time here!

I’d like to take a moment to thank the team at the National Fund for Workforce Solutions for putting all of this together. They have worked really hard and have crafted a couple of days of incredible events and workshops. What a great team!

How wonderful it is that this meeting is here in Baltimore this year- not just because it’s a fun city to visit, but also because we believe that the opportunities and challenges we face here are emblematic of the economic and workforce situation that is shared by so many cities.

The Baltimore region is among the wealthiest in the country. In fact, this region enjoys among the highest levels of wealth and income in the world! We are ahead of the national average on educational attainment, median income, and unemployment. Our strategically located region is a center of innovation and technology, a home to fast growing companies, and as a major center for higher education, boasts a very highly educated population.

And yet, I am sure that many of you turned on the television last month and saw a very different picture of Baltimore. In the wake of the death of young Freddie Gray in police custody, you saw a Baltimore suffering with frustration, anger, and despair. You probably saw images of homes that had been boarded up – not because of recent violence - and left vacant for many years. You saw poverty, unemployment, and violence in communities where for generations, people have been left out or intentionally excluded from this region’s prosperity though policies and practices, resulting in striking disparities that run through our region on educational, racial and jurisdictional lines.

You saw some of this region’s best assets: men, women, parents and youth - with aspirations and unfulfilled potential, for whom opportunities to participate and gain the benefits of our thriving economy have been out of reach for too long.

And then there is yet a third side to this story of Opportunity and Exclusion… one that was so inadequately portrayed in the national news. I struggled to find a word for this third component of our local reality, so I’m going to call this third piece HEART. By HEART – I am referring to optimism, collaboration and commitment. A strong desire by MANY to work together to build a city and a region that is better – stronger – and that works for EVERYONE.

On the day after the violence where windows were smashed and businesses looted, I was blessed with the opportunity to join hundreds of Baltimoreans who spread out onto every street and vacant lot in the Sandtown neighborhood carrying shovels, brooms and garbage bags, looking for a way to participate and help. People of every race and age were working side by side, talking to each other, united in a common effort. And an UPRISING, not of violence, but of a desire to participate in positive change was so visible and tangible. I was never so proud to live here – to be a part of this place.

A fundamental component of the vast disparity in our region has been the lack of functional pathways to good jobs - middle skill jobs that pay a family sustaining wage. We need more of these types of jobs and better means for getting to them. Businesses in our communities need access to skilled workers and help to connect to the talent we have in our communities.

The work of the Baltimore Workforce Funders Collaborative has been to bring together a coalition of stakeholders- philanthropy, public sector actors, employers, non-profits and faith-based organizations to work together to recognize and raise up ALL of the human assets we have in our communities - making quality employment more accessible to more people –working to close that gap in employment opportunity.

Much of our approach has focused on supporting workforce development models that understand the labor market and the key industry sectors – and work with employers in those sectors to build pathways to middle skill jobs while enhancing the competitiveness of industry sectors.

While you are here – I hope you can meet some of the folks who represent this HEART I am speaking of- the ones who get up every morning with optimism and a determination to make our city better.

I hope you will meet:

  • Candace King, a current employee of the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine who prepared for her job at the BioTechnical Institute of MD where she accessed skills and work experience enabling her to become a Laboratory Technician in one of our region’s strongest industry sectors.

I hope you will also meet:

  • Representatives from a group of bold health care employers who lead the Baltimore Alliance for Careers in Healthcare – providing on the job coaching to hundreds of front-line workers and developing a new health care apprenticeship program
  • The Greg Richards, the CEO of a weatherization company called EcoMize USA, one of his outstanding employees and the program staff at the Baltimore Center for Green Careers who are working together to build more equitable and sustainable economy by training residents for quality jobs in the growing green economy.
  • Representatives from MD’s EARN program who will talk about how the State has now taken up the industry partnership charge, launching industry lead workforce approaches in Baltimore and throughout Maryland.

I also hope you get the chance to chat with:

  • Staff from our great sector partnerships who are helping individuals to obtain employment in construction, deconstruction, manufacturing, culinary/hospitality and transportation and logistics.
  • Members of our local philanthropic community like the Abell Foundation, the Harry & Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, the Annie E Casey Foundation, Bank of America, Wells Fargo and a list of so many others too long to read out loud, who provide critical support for this work.

To enable you to meet up with this outstanding group of funders, policy experts, employers, employees and providers – I am going to embarrass my local friends by asking all of our local Baltimore partners and colleagues with HEART to stand for a moment so you can identify them.

Now I have the opportunity to introduce one of our strong supporters, Judge Ellen Heller, Chair of the Harry & Jeanette Weinberg Foundation. The Weinberg Foundation helped found the Baltimore Workforce Funders Collaborative and has been a long time major funder of effective workforce practices in Baltimore. It is also a major investor in the National Fund for Workforce Solutions.

Judge Heller is retired from the Circuit Court for Baltimore City, where she was appointed the Judge in Charge of the Civil Docket and ultimately the Circuit Administrative Judge overseeing the entire court—the first woman in Maryland to hold that position. Judge Heller is the former President and Chair of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, an international relief organization operating in over 70 countries that has provided rescue, relief, and renewal activities for communities in need since 1914.

In 2009 Judge Heller was inducted into the Baltimore Jewish Hall of Fame and in 2008 named to the Maryland Women’s Hall of Fame. She is a board member of a number of philanthropic, policy and higher education institutions and has received a very long list of awards and recognitions for her exemplary work. She has been named one of Maryland’s top 100 Women for three consecutive years.

There is no way my words of introduction can adequately describe the extent and quality of service and leadership that Judge Heller has provided to Maryland. So I will take the honor and privilege of passing this microphone along."

 Attached Thumbnails:

Tags:  Baltimore Workforce Funders Collaborative  BWFC  July/August 2015 Members' Memo  Linda Dworak  Workforce 

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Next Generation of Philanthropic Leadership

Posted By Kate Powell, Monday, June 22, 2015

June 22, 2015

By Kate Powell, Trustee, Lockhart Vaughan Foundation

I was recently invited to speak at the Annual Meeting of the Association of Baltimore Area Grantmakers about the work we are doing at the Lockhart Vaughan Foundation and how it illustrates one of the goals’ of the Association’s newly presented strategic plan.

ABAG’s mission is to maximize the impact of philanthropic giving on community life through a growing network of diverse, informed and effective philanthropists. As an active ABAG member, I was happy to speak about the foundation and about the new strategic plan, which underscores the future and sustainability of our network, and our association.

The new plan highlights four main goals, and I helped illustrate Goal #2: "The Association will grow and strengthen a diverse network for philanthropy in Maryland” where I discussed the next generation of philanthropic leadership.

Here are my remarks:

"I have been asked to speak to the second goal of ABAG’s strategic plan, and put it onto context with my personal philanthropic efforts and those of the Lockhart Vaughan Foundation, on which I serve as a trustee.

I suspect my age is one of the reasons Celeste asked me to speak to this topic. Apparently, in certain circles, I am still considered young. (On the other hand, I have evenings where I am quite happy to go to bed by 9 pm, so I suppose it is all relative.) So I will be making my remarks from a "next-gen” perspective – both as a foundation trustee and a board volunteer for charitable organizations here in Baltimore City.

In a former life, I started a young donor group at the Enoch Pratt Free Library called the Pratt Contemporaries. About 10 years ago, the Board of Trustees looked around and noticed that only one board member was under the age of 50. So we created the Pratt Contemporaries as a way to not only engage new donors in their 20s, 30s and 40s, but more importantly, to attract the next generation of philanthropic leaders for the Pratt Library.

That ‘next-gen’ pipeline has worked: so far, five individuals from the Pratt Contemporaries leadership have either joined the Pratt board as trustees or become involved in a board committee.

And they are all under 40.

Engaging the next generation is also an important goal at the Lockhart Vaughan Foundation. Lockhart Vaughan trustees and their spouses are invited to join the foundation and start making grant decisions once they turn 30, and are encouraged to become as involved in site visits and grant reading as they are able.

Lockhart Vaughan has long been an active member of ABAG, and with pros like Pete and Susan Powell leading the foundation, I hadn’t personally felt the need to become directly involved in the association. But after attending an ABAG-sponsored family philanthropy roundtable, I realized how family foundations could learn from each other, despite (or maybe because of) their many differences.

That seminar, which I believe was a "next-gen” roundtable discussion, is just a small example of how ABAG is thinking beyond its current borders to diversify its network and engage new philanthropic partners.

I serve as a member of ABAG’s Member Services Committee, under Brooke Hodges’ leadership, and within our discussions, "growing a diverse network” has taken many forms, including:

  • Looking outside our current region for new foundation and corporate partners;
  • Engaging individual donors as members of ABAG; and
  • Attracting the next generation of philanthropists

To me, this second goal of the strategic plan, "Grow and Strengthen a Diverse Network for Philanthropy,” is a recognition by ABAG leadership that the association needs to continue to look beyond its current membership to new leaders, new partners and new opportunities.

As an association, we should welcome this challenge. We all know that it’s easy to just keep doing what you are doing. It’s harder to push yourself to change and embrace new opportunities.

I’m sure you’ll agree with me that it’s better for ABAG to forge that latter – albeit more challenging – path.”

Tags:  #ABAGAM15  July/August 2015 Members' Memo  Lockhart Vaughan  Next Gen  Next Gen Leadership  Next Generation 

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ABAG is Proud to Partner in #MDGivesMore on #GivingTuesday

Posted By Buffy Beaudoin-Schwartz, Monday, June 22, 2015

June 22, 2015

By Buffy Beaudoin-Schwartz, ABAG Communications Director

#GivingTuesday takes place on Tuesday, December 1, 2015 and it's time to start planning to launch the giving season with this exciting day of generosity! #GivingTuesday is the largest international giving day, having grown to millions of donors in countries around the world, in just the three years since the movement launched.

To celebrate a new tradition of generosity during the holiday season, Maryland is setting a goal to be the Most Generous State in America on 12.1.15, #GivingTuesday. Our partners at Maryland Nonprofits are again spearheading the #MDGivesMore campaign in 2015,

Individuals, nonprofits, foundations and corporations can participate in various ways.

Nonprofits: Gear up for #GivingTuesday 2015 by participating in a free webinar - July 14 at noon - register here

#MarylandGivesMore is supported by a committed group of partners, including:

  • The Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore
  • The Association of Baltimore Area Grantmakers (ABAG)
  • The Association of Fundraising Professionals, Maryland Chapter
  • The Association of Fundraising Professionals, Western Maryland Chapter
  • The Center for Community Technology Services (CCTS)
  • The Community Foundation of the Eastern Shore
  • Connelly & Assoc. Fundraising, LLC
  • CrowdRise
  • What Works Studio

To join the campaign or learn more, visit #MDGivesMore.

Questions? Contact:Allison Albert, Maryland Nonprofits, 443.438.2346,

 Attached Thumbnails:

Tags:  #GivingTuesday  #MDGivesMore  Giving Tuesday  July/August 2015 Members' Memo  Maryland Gives More  Maryland Nonprofits 

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Transaction to Transformation

Posted By Stuart Clarke, Friday, June 19, 2015

June 19, 2015

Transaction to Transformation

By Stuart Clarke, ABAG Board Member and Executive Director, Town Creek Foundation

I was recently invited to speak at the Annual Meeting of the Association of Baltimore Area Grantmakers about the work we are doing at the Town Creek Foundation and how it illustrates one of the goals’ of the Association’s newly presented strategic plan.

ABAG’s mission is to maximize the impact of philanthropic giving on community life through a growing network of diverse, informed and effective philanthropists. As an ABAG Board Member, I was happy to speak about the foundation and about the strategic plan that I helped develop, which acknowledges the long standing roles of our Association as a convener and leader for collective and transformative action and how we will seek to elevate that role, maximizing our unique ability to convene a broad range of stakeholders, to be a voice, to lead public discourse and to influence governance and policy affecting the issues and communities we serve.

The new plan highlights four main goals, and I helped illustrate Goal #1:

"The Association will lead, with and for its members, efforts to influence critical issues and improve community conditions.” I discussed transaction to transformation and how the Town Creek Foundation thinks about our work and our collaboration with other members to encourage more systemic change.

Here are my remarks:

"It’s fun to be up here talking to you this morning, at least partly because – for at least two reasons – it’s sort of an odd place for me to be. First, Town Creek is a thirty-four year old environmental advocacy funder that, until pretty recently, has had a pretty low profile in Baltimore. Our more significant distinguishing characteristic, however, is that we are sun-setting. We are in the middle of the fourth year of a ten-year spend down. We plan to make our last grants, throw a big party, and bounce the caterer’s check at the end of 2021.

I’m here to tell you that self-imposed mortality can have an urgently clarifying influence on institutional thinking. Our decision to sunset was made in 2011, after a period of significant environmental progress in Maryland on issues of primary concern to us. This was a period that culminated in the establishment of relatively ambitious goals, strategies and plans to reduce the state’s contributions to Bay pollution and global warming.

Rather than basking in that glow, however, our decision to sunset prompted us to confront three questions about our work and our partnerships:

  • Is the scale and pace of change that we were seeing sufficient in view of the political, economic, and ecological headwinds that appear to be on the way?
  • Are the strategies that are producing incremental pollution reductions also building sufficient political power to sustain and accelerate those reduction sunder change political and economic circumstances?
  • Can we sustainably address Maryland’s major pollution challenges by reforming the practices that generate that pollution but leaving unchanged the purpose, logic, and structural relationships of the systems in which those practices are embedded?

It probably won’t surprise you that we emerged from this confrontation convinced that the answers to these questions are probably no. That we probably haven’t done enough of the right things to earn the self-satisfied retirement we’d been planning.

So we jumped into our last decade intent on encouraging our partners to augment their transactional strategies focused on incremental change with transformational strategies focused on systemic change.

  • We think we know what that means, but we know that we don’t know precisely how it works. We do think that five things are probably critical. The first three have to do with our grantmaking:
  • We think we need to invest in vision – in work that produces narratives of fundamentally different futures for the state and the region;
  • We think we need to invest in leadership – especially leadership with an appetite for boldness; and
  • We think we need to invest in examples, in pilot projects – real live pieces of the future that we need to build.

The last two things are about where we invest our time and our commitment, rather than where we invest our funds.

We need to be present with folks that are struggling with our toughest problems – not just environmental problems, but the full panoply of social and economic problems that we need to overcome. And, we need to engage that struggle in the state’s center of gravity, here, in Baltimore, where the challenges and the opportunities present themselves in the rawest and ripest forms.

So that’s why we are showing up at ABAG, and that’s why I am standing up for this strategic plan.”

Tags:  #ABAGAM15  2015 Annual Meeting  July/August 2015 Members' Memo  Strategic Plan  Stuart Clarke  Town Creek Foundation 

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