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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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Top tags: Adventures in Philanthropy  philanthropy  ABAG By the Numbers  Recent Reports from the Field  Workforce  BIP  public policy  ABAG members  Baltimore  Baltimore Integration Partnership  nonprofits  Affinity Groups  July/August 2014 Members' Memo  Diversity  giving  March 2015 Members' Memo  Maryland Nonprofits  Equity  Inclusion  MdeHN  Education Funders  July/August 2015 Members' Memo  March 2014 Members' Memo  Maryland Environmental Health Network  November 2013 Members' Memo  October 2013 Members' Memo  the giving life  ABAG  april 2014 Members' memo  Baltimore Workforce Funders Collaborative 

Baltimore Integration Partnership Update

Posted By Kurt Sommer, Tuesday, April 22, 2014
Updated: Monday, April 28, 2014

April 22, 2014

By Kurt Sommer, Director, Baltimore Integration Partership

The Baltimore Integration Partnership (BIP) is a collaborative effort to expand opportunities for low-income residents and communities in Baltimore by unifying job opportunities with revitalization investment. Partner communities include the neighborhoods represented by the East Baltimore Development Initiative; the Central Baltimore Partnership; and West Baltimore communities adjacent to the proposed Red Line. The BIP is supported by Living Cities and includes a range of stakeholders aligning resources and activities while working to strengthen the linkage between physical and human capital development. BIP is a project housed at the Association of Baltimore Area Grantmakers.

BIP Shifts Gears into 2.0
The BIP has moved forward with a new phase of work focused on increasing economic inclusion in Baltimore.  This phase is focused on advancing inclusion through educational and medical institution (anchors) hiring, purchasing and community reinvestment activities.  Nine anchors are participating in the initiative as well as a range of philanthropic, government, and financial partners.  By working with these significant employers, the BIP hopes to identify barriers to local hiring and purchasing, support changes in policy to remove barriers and develop an implementation model that can be adopted by other businesses throughout the region. The BIP is supported by Living Cities, the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the Goldseker Foundation, Associated Black Charities, and the Baltimore Workforce Funders Collaborative.  

Pilot Food Purchasing Study Launched

The BIP has contracted with Karp Resources to help identify specific opportunities to redirect anchor food spending to Baltimore businesses.  The study will examine anchor purchasing policies and barriers as well as the readiness and capacity needs of local businesses to meet anchor purchasing demands.  The report is expected to be completed this summer and builds on the successful work "Anchor Institutions and The Food Cluster in Baltimore.” This BIP Phase 1 work was recently highlighted by ICIC in their report "Anchor Institutions and Food Systems: A Recipe for Economic Growth.” 

TRF Closes Financing on Chesapeake Phase 2
With a few projects still in the hopper from the prior round of work, The Reinvestment Fund closed financing recently on phase 2 of the Chesapeake Building. An earlier investment helped local partners reopen the doors to the famed restaurant after being closed for 25 years. This new phase will help restore the upper floors into commercial and residential space. Several additional projects funded with predevelopment resources in BIP Phase 1 are anticipated to move into construction in 2014. 

From the Anchor News Desk

Accomplishments, Outcomes and Lessons Learned from the BIP 2011-2013

Community Science completed its 2011 – 2013 evaluation of the Baltimore Integration Partnership providing an assessment of the initiative’s project and system level efforts to link job opportunities to revitalization investment. The report captures the totality of investments and outcomes of the BIP and its partners in the first round.  Outcomes included supporting more than 500 job training opportunities for area residents, over $150 million of new investment in Baltimore neighborhoods, and over 800 job opportunities.These investments were focused in on targeted neighborhoods in the City helping local partners move forward both place based and people based outcomes.  The report also explores the systems level work that the BIP and its partners completed including a range of executive orders at the City and State level, new funding for workforce training as well as new policies and practices to advance economic inclusion in Baltimore. Finally, the report outlines a series of recommendations for broader economic inclusion efforts in Baltimore.


Tags:  Adventures in Philanthropy  april 2014 Members' memo  BIP  Workforce 

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Regional Associations Learn and Share Together

Posted By Celeste Amato, Monday, April 21, 2014
April 21, 2014
By Celeste Amato and Adam Donaldson
Every year staff from regional associations across the mid-Atlantic come together for a self-organized professional development day. The Association of Baltimore Area Grantmakers organized and hosted this year’s "The Mid-Atlantic Gathering” at the Annie E. Casey Foundation.
Regional associations had the opportunity to share successes and lessons learned in member relations, grantmaker education, communications, promoting diversity and inclusion, and technology infrastructure.

Every region develops a unique association to serve its philanthropic members, but all regional associations have in common a goal to promote the growth and effectiveness of philanthropy in order to improve life in their communities. Our recent gathering focused conversation on how regional associations facilitate members’ collective action toward a measurable impact.
Through special initiatives, affinity groups, networks, and working groups, regional associations seek to identify a common agenda and support member action. And increasingly, this is the demand of our members.

This effort requires leadership from association members, established trust and relationships, staffed facilitation, a common purpose, and often a new opportunity. Opportunities can come from new leadership, external funding, and public policy changes.
This is the unpublished, association version of a Collective Impact© model.

One association president identified the core tension for us at this gathering as maintaining our value as a neutral convener while bringing leadership to community issues. As she stated, "You cannot be a "neutral leader.”
Click here for more information on Regional Associations of Grantmakers

Tags:  Adventures in Philanthropy  april 2014 Members' memo  Collective Impact  Giving Forum  Regional Associations 

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ABAG Members Value the Content, Vehicles and Frequency of ABAG Communications

Posted By Buffy Beaudoin-Schwartz, Monday, April 21, 2014
Updated: Tuesday, April 22, 2014
April 21, 2014
By Buffy Beaudoin-Schwartz, ABAG Communications Director
ABAG's mission is to maximize the impact of philanthropic giving on community life through a growing network of diverse, informed and effective grantmakers. As the Resource on Grantmaking, Network for Givers and Voice for Philanthropy, we take great pride in communicating with our members, and promoting the good work of philanthropy.

We are proud to implement a strategic communications plan each year in order to best connect with our diverse membership in a variety of ways. In addition to our in-person meetings, and occasional paper mailings, ABAG primarily communicates with our members through email, our website, a variety of eNewsletters, and social media. The landscape for communication needs and opportunity is ever-changing, for ABAG staff and for our members.

We invited ABAG’s full membership to participate in our anonymous, 20 question 2014 ABAG Member Communications Survey, with the goal of continually enhancing our communications to best meet member needs. We had a total of 63 respondents.

Here's What We Learned:

The majority of survey respondents value the content, vehicles and frequency of ABAG’s Communications.
  • CONTENT: Members value ABAG's communication about programs, services, news, issues, resources, grantmaking & philanthropy.
  • VEHICLES: Members value ABAG's electronic and online communications.
  • FREQUENCY: Members value the amount of information ABAG sends - and primarily read it during the workday, on a computer or laptop.
More specifically:

The majority of survey respondents value:

• The monthly Members’ Memo and the Program Update (all members receive).
• The monthly eNewsletters - Philanthropy News Online email, Business Giving Digest, Family Philanthropy Digest and Education Funders eNewsletter (specific groups of members receive).
• The specific, ongoing communication from ABAG’s projects (some members receive).
• The suggestion for ABAG to "go green” by sending membership renewal information electronically.

About half of survey respondents visit:

• ABAG’s website several times per month or more, and primarily visit to register for programs.
• ABAG’s Adventures in Philanthropy blog and Baltimore Business Journal column regularly.
• ABAG’s social media pages – a growing number are connected with ABAG on Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin.
• Other social media sites – and would like to see ABAG on sites like Google+, Instagram, and YouTube.

Here's a Snapshot of What We Heard:

When asked how we might improve ABAG’s communications we heard sentiments such as: "we appreciate the valuable role you play in connecting our philanthropic community", "the program update might be organized differently", "the website could be streamlined for ease of use", "ABAG does great work and we are pleased to be your partner", and "communications are full of good content and attractive to read - great job!"

Here Are Our Opportunities Moving Forward:
  • Connect members more to information on the website and streamline the content.
  • Continue to highlight ABAG programs and services to members.
  • Highlight regional and national philanthropy news and information more.
  • Engage members more through social media.
  • Invite members more clearly to share news and information to share and promote through various vehicles.
  • Connect members to and involve them more in developing the Adventures in Philanthropy blog and BBJ column.
  • Provide information primarily during the 9-5 work day.
  • Continue to focus on principles of responsive design for readership using all types of devices.
  • Communicate via email regarding ABAG membership and renewal.
  • Reach new ABAG member staff with all communication opportunities.
  • Establish enhanced systems to allow members to manage their website and email user experience.
We are already moving forward on this list!

Connecting and communicating with our members continues to be of utmost importance to our staff, and we truly appreciate the strong participation among our membership! The thoughtful, valuable feedback we received is helping to guide our communication efforts moving forward.

For further information and to share any thoughts or ideas on ABAG's communications, please contact Buffy Beaudoin-Schwartz at

Tags:  2014 communications survey  april 2014 Members' memo  Communications 

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What is PolicyWorks?

Posted By Buffy Beaudoin-Schwartz, Monday, April 21, 2014

April 2014

ABAG is proud to participate in a national partnership of regional associations of grantmakers which envisions that policymakers will recognize regional associations of grantmakers as among the most valued voices and expert resources on issues critical to philanthropy and society.

For questions about PolicyWorks, please contact ABAG’s liaisons, Member Services Director Adam Donaldson and Board Member Kevin Griffin Moreno.


Policy Works LogoPolicyWorks for Philanthropy is a multi-year initiative that seeks to build the capacity of regional associations of grantmakers’ staff, board and volunteer leaders to engage policymakers in support of a vibrant and effective philanthropic sector.

Our vision is that policymakers will recognize regional associations of grantmakers as among the most valued voices and expert resources on issues critical to philanthropy and society. There are 28 regional associations participating in this initiative.


The PolicyWorks Community is committed to building their individual and collective capacity to achieve the PolicyWorks vision and goals. That commitment is based on the belief that:

  • Policy work is essential to achieving our missions and helping our more than 3,000 foundation members; and
  • As a network serving foundations in 39 states, the PolicyWorks community offers the best and only coordinated national system for building effective relationships with elected and appointed officials at all levels of government.

By "policy work" we meangovernment relations—related to legislation and regulations affecting the work of charitable foundations; andpublic policy engagement—supporting the achievement of charitable foundations’ mission and goals.

Building and maintaining relationships with policymakers is essential to the philanthropic sector’s ability to: educate policymakers about the work, value and impact of foundations; advise policymakers about potential legislation or regulation that could harm the sector and decrease much needed philanthropic dollars; gain policymakers’ support for legislation that could support the growth and effectiveness of philanthropy; and build partnerships with policymakers to achieve policy reforms that improve the quality of life for those foundations seek to serve.


PolicyWorks is designed as a three-stage, multi-year engagement involving regional association executives and senior staff with members of their boards of trustees and volunteer leaders such as committee chairs.

Click here to learn more ...

Tags:  april 2014 Members' memo  forum  policyworks  public policy  regional associations 

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Recent Reports from the Field

Posted By Buffy Beaudoin-Schwartz, Monday, April 21, 2014
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ABAG’s Work with Affinity Groups Highlighted in the Nonprofit Times

Posted By Elisabeth Hyleck, Monday, April 14, 2014
Updated: Monday, April 21, 2014

April 14, 2014

By Elisabeth Hyleck, ABAG Strategic Initiatives Director

Recently, I was pleased to speak with the Nonprofit Times for an article highlighting how regional associations are working with affinity groups within their memberships.

At ABAG, Affinity Groups allow members with common interests to learn and share together. Their main purpose is to combine members’ knowledge and expertise with the focus on impacting a community concern.

I, along with Wil Sherk, President of Delaware Grantmakers Association, was interviewed for the piece, which includes anecdotes and wisdom from our experiences, such as this one:

Hyleck pointed to the education funders group as an example of what affinity groups can do when working in concert. In 2011, the group convened on the federal Investing in Innovation grant. It committed $900,000 in matching funds, which helped secure about $5.5 million in federal funding for Baltimore city schools. "The established infrastructure of the Education Funders Affinity Group enables ABAG to quickly convene meetings on time-sensitive topics, such as federal funding opportunities like Race to the Top and Investing in Innovation grants,” said Hyleck.

The article goes on, "We’re proud that our members do find value in the affinity groups, and they’re really interested in deepening understanding of the issues and acting in a catalytic way to effect change,” she said. "We’re happy to nurture that and continue this great way of leveraging our members’ knowledge, expertise and resources.” All members are invited to participate in the affinity group programming. We hope to see you at a program soon.

Read Affinity Group Members Find Common Ground, or Not at the Nonprofit Times.

Tags:  Adventures in Philanthropy  Affinity Groups  April 2014 Members' Memo 

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3 Questions With ... Mary Ann Scully, Chairman, President, Chief Executive Officer, Howard Bank

Posted By Buffy Beaudoin-Schwartz, Monday, April 14, 2014
Updated: Monday, April 14, 2014
April 14, 2014
3 Questions With ... Mary Ann Scully, Chairman, President, Chief Executive Officer, Howard Bank

1. Why did Howard Bank choose to become a member of The Association of Baltimore Area Grantmakers?

Howard Bank is committed to making the communities that we serve healthy in countless ways so that as they thrive, we too will thrive. We are recognized in the community by many not for profits as being a good partner and receive many requests for assistance , support and grants. The Association of Baltimore Area Grantmakers is the trusted advisor in this space and we are honored to be a member and work with you.

2. What are Howard Bank’s major funding areas?

Howard Bank is deeply committed to many causes that both strengthen a community and provide its businesses and residents with access to a better future. We are passionate about the role that financial literacy can play in a brighter and safer future for our neighbors. We value educational endeavors that support the next generation of business leaders . We applaud the community foundation model of philanthropy and have supported that model in many ways in different communities. And we believe that the arts are vital to the well rounded success of a community.

3. What are you most excited about as a new member of ABAG?

We are excited by the opportunities to learn, to share – knowledge and contacts –and together to lead our region forward.
We welcome Howard Bank as a new member of the Association of Baltimore Area Grantmakers!  Mary Ann can be reached at:
Mary Ann Scully
Howard Bank

Tags:  april 2014 Members' memo  BAG member news  dventures in Philanthropy  oward Bank 

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The Giving Life: Stories About the Purpose, Passion, and Power of Generosity and Service

Posted By Buffy Beaudoin-Schwartz, Tuesday, March 25, 2014
Updated: Tuesday, March 25, 2014
March 25, 2014
Several months ago we held an inspirational evening showcasing individual stories of generosity and service.

Seven people - philanthropists, activists, community, and public service workers – each told a 5-minute true, personal tale about the transformative power of leading a "giving life.” Three audience members shared stories as well.

Presented by The Association of Baltimore Area Grantmakers’ Betsy Nelson Legacy Fund and The Stoop Storytelling Series, the evening highlighted giving and honored the goal of the Betsy Nelson Legacy Fund – to encourage and promote philanthropy in our community.
Everyone Has a Story. What’s Yours? 
This is the full series of blog posts designed to bring each story to life. Our hope is that this event and these help to catalyze more giving in our community.

Read the 7 Giving Life Series Blog Posts: 
  1. The Giving Life: Jilliane Shear - 3/4/14
  2. The Giving Life: Mary Klopcic - 2/12/14
  3. The Giving Life: Danista Hunte - 1/27/14
  4. The Giving Life: John Provenzano - 1/15/14
  5. The Giving Life: David Warnock - 1/8/14
  6. The Giving Life: Chris Wilson - 12/19/13
  7. The Giving Life: Annette March-Grier - 12/11/13

Listen to the 7 Storyteller Stories: 

Listen to the 3 Audience Member Stories:

The Betsy Nelson Legacy Fund aims to share philanthropy's message beyond the ABAG membership and to build connections between charitably-minded people, organizations and institutions to strengthen our community. As the Resource on Grantmaking, Network for Givers, and Voice for Philanthropy, the mission of the Association of Baltimore Area Grantmakers is to maximize the impact of philanthropic giving on community life through a growing network of diverse, informed and effective grantmakers.

 Attached Thumbnails:

Tags:  Adventures in Philanthropy  april 2014 Members' memo  BNLF  The Giving Life 

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