Clementine Peterson: a modern-day philanthropist remembered

September 12, 2013

Clementine Peterson was born in Connecticut and raised in Iowa, but she became one of Baltimore’s great modern-day philanthropists and art patrons. During her lifetime, she supported most of the city’s major cultural institutions and many of its smaller ones. She loved music, and was particularly fond of opera. 

The Baltimore Community Foundation was founded in 1972, and in 1973 the board—all men—named a distribution committee to oversee grants. That committee included Clementine Peterson, who thus became the first woman named to a decision-making position at BCF. 

“Clemmie,” as she was known, quickly grasped the value of designated endowments at the Community Foundation, and established BCF’s first such fund in 1984 for the benefit of the Baltimore Choral Arts Society. She loved the idea of supporting an organization in perpetuity through a protected endowment that enjoyed professional investment guidance, and subsequently set up three more designated endowments during her lifetime: for the Baltimore Chamber Orchestra, the Concert Artists of Baltimore, and for the Girl Scouts. 

Through her estate, Mrs. Peterson set up two additional designated endowments, benefitting the Baltimore Opera and Peabody Conservatory, and created an unrestricted endowment of significant size. 

Clementine Peterson recognized the importance of these cultural institutions, and of BCF, to the life of our city, and her legacy is helping to ensure their long-term health. 

Clementine Peterson lived to be 102, proving that she knew a thing or two about long-term health! 

Find out how you can show your love for Baltimore.

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