Did you hear our incredible Baltimore Symphony Orchestra performing the end of Mahler’s Symphony No. 3 virtually to lift our spirits? Did you read about our entrepreneurial maker community mobilizing to make face shields for medical workers? Did you see the grassroots community leaders jump into action to ensure seniors and vulnerable families have food in their pantries? Did you donate to our COVID-19 Evolving Community Needs Fund or another local nonprofit to support our neighbors in need during this difficult time? The generosity, ingenuity, and determination of our Baltimore community is boundless. It is what sustains us at BCF, and makes our work both possible and effective. With the generosity of our donors and the ingenuity of the communities we serve, we will get through this together.
The Baltimore County COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund will support the County’s efforts to promote public health and support residents during the COVID-19 pandemic. By creating a fund that is managed by an external partner (BCF), the County will be able to accept donations from individuals as well as foundations and corporate donors in furtherance of its efforts to help County residents during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Contributions to the fund may be used to support various efforts, including providing groceries to food-insecure families and seniors, ensuring first responders and public health workers have adequate personal protective equipment, and other things the county is doing to prevent the spread of the virus and support residents.
By now, we are all aware of the magnitude of the public health crisis that our city, region, and indeed nation and world are facing due to the novel COVID-19 virus. BCF’s leadership made the decision on March 12, 2020 to move to a remote working situation beginning Monday, March 16, 2020. At the close of our first two days of teleworking, we can report that our systems are all functioning as needed, and staff are carrying on with the regular work of the foundation, including processing grants awarded last week in support of our strategic plan’s place-based grant making in selected school communities; processing donor-advised grant making; monitoring the progress of legislation to enact the Kirwan Commission recommendations in the Maryland General Assembly (which the Senate passed late last night); and carrying on with committee work.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the recent announcement that Maryland has identified its first cases of community transmission of the virus, BCF is establishing the COVID-19 Evolving Community Needs Fund to enable rapid response to mitigate the effects of the public health emergency our region is currently facing. One hundred percent of all donated funds will go directly to address the negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on our region’s communities, workforce, and vulnerable populations.
Six local organizations have received grants totaling $775,000 from the Baltimore Small Business Support Fund in a collaborative effort to help entrepreneurs of color overcome obstacles to starting and growing businesses in Baltimore City and the surrounding region. “Baltimore Community Foundation has committed a portion of our investment portfolio to impact investing in Baltimore, but to deploy those funds effectively we need a CDFI community that can meet the needs of small businesses in Baltimore. The Small Business Support Fund will enable the technical assistance and credit enhancement needed for a thriving small business community, particularly those businesses created by people of color who have been denied access to traditional forms of capital,” says Patti Chandler, vice president of finance at BCF.
We are (mostly) packed and saying our goodbyes to our longtime home at 2 E. Read Street. BCF offices will close at 2:00 p.m. on Thursday, February 13 for our move, and reopen at 9:00 a.m. on Monday, February 17 in our new location at 11 E. Mount Royal Avenue. Please keep in the mind the following as we undertake this office relocation:
2019 marked the first year of implementation of a new strategic plan for BCF, with goals that reflect BCF’s role in the community and our aspiration to bring various constituencies together to build a better Baltimore. Together, the goals articulate the interdependent relationship among donors, community engagement, and programmatic efforts. BCF’s endowment allows for approximately $2 - $2.5 million in discretionary grant making annually (in addition to the funds distributed from designated and donor advised funds, which totaled approximately $15 million in 2018).
On January 6, 2020, students of Calvin Rodwell Elementary Middle School returned from winter break to a brand new 21st Century school facility. BCF staff were there to celebrate with the community at a ribbon cutting and open house the Saturday before classes resumed.