The Association of Baltimore Area Grantmakers and many foundation colleagues in Central Maryland created and participated in The Baltimore Giving Project (BGP), a 5-year effort promoting philanthropy in the region that was part of the national New Ventures in Philanthropy initiative at our national organization, The Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers.
The mission of the BGP was to promote, encourage and expand philanthropy in the greater Baltimore area by fostering the creation and expansion of new foundations, charitable funds and corporate giving programs. The BGP inspired and educated donors about giving and helped to facilitate a public conversation about philanthropy by working with the media, writing and speaking about philanthropy, organizing activities and developing materials that emphasized a wide-range of giving vehicles. The BGP also helped catalyze the growth and development of giving circles, and sought to encourage more giving among people with inherited wealth, professionals with earned wealth, entrepreneurs, women, and professional advisors.
Jan Rivitz, chair of the BGP, encouraged us to view the project as a time to try new efforts, understanding that some would be more successful than others, such as our work with giving circles. The important part for us was the opportunity to ‘think big’ and the freedom to experiment.
Promotion of philanthropy remains important to ABAG and other BGP participants. Efforts that beginning with the BGP, like giving circles and the Maryland Community Foundation Association, continue to grow and thrive today. In fact, when the BGP sunset after five years, Director Buffy Beaudoin-Schwartz became a member of ABAG’s core professional staff as the Communications Director, and she continues promoting the good work of philanthropy today.
BGP leveraged almost 1.2 million dollars to promote philanthropy in our region, more than half from the following local funders: Aaron and Lillie Straus Foundation, Annie E. Casey Foundation, Open Society Institute-Baltimore, Jacob and Hilda Blaustein Foundation, Henry and Ruth Blaustein Rosenberg Foundation, Joseph Meyerhoff Family Charitable Foundation, United Way of Central Maryland, Dillon Fund, Hoffberger Foundation, New Ventures in Philanthropy, THE ASSOCIATED: Jewish Community Federation, Brown Investment Advisory & Trust, Reginald F. Lewis Foundation, Baltimore Community Foundation, Eddie C. and C. Sylvia Brown Family Foundation, Hubbard Family Foundation, Irving and Lois Blum Foundation, Jonan Foundation, Allfirst Wealth Management (now M&T), and the Maryland Community Foundation Association.
There are a number of resources that are still relevant today that BGP helped to create, including the Giving Circle Knowledge Center and many of the resources within; A Plan of One’s Own: A Woman’s Guide to Philanthropy (PDF); The Art of Charitable Planning; and the Maryland Community Foundation Association marketing materials.
We invite you to read the new publication about the New Ventures in Philanthropy initiative, Celebrating 10 Years of Philanthropic Innovation (PDF). And, if you are interested in promotion of philanthropy work, the Forum is creating a network of colleagues who have or are continuing to undertake efforts to promote philanthropy. You can contact Michael Litz at the Forum to sign up as part of this network. Plans are to connect via a listserve and hold two conference calls annually to share our progress, successes and challenges as we continue to build the philanthropic capital within our regions.
If you have any questions about the Baltimore Giving Project or current efforts promoting philanthropy, contact ABAG Communications Director Buffy Beaudoin-Schwartz at: firstname.lastname@example.org.