Tag Archives: ABAG

ABAG Board Creates the Betsy Nelson Legacy Fund

In honor of Betsy Nelson’s extraordinary tenure as President of the Association of Baltimore Area Grantmakers, the ABAG Board of Directors has announced the establishment of the Betsy Nelson Legacy Fund to support the organization’s efforts to promote charitable giving and involvement in addressing community issues and challenges.

The 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.


RA CEO Transitions

Last week, two regional association CEOs announced their departures. Betsy Nelson, president of Association of Baltimore Area Grantmakers, will retire at the end of 2012 and Sushma Raman, president of Southern California Grantmakers, will leave SCG in July to attend a mid-career Master’s program at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. Both these leaders will be sorely missed by the Forum Network. We thank them for their invaluable contributions over the years and wish them the best in their future endeavors.

Since 1990, Betsy has led ABAG to a leadership role in the region and within the Regional Association of Grantmakers movement nationwide.  Her expertise in facilitating partnerships and collaboration and in enhancing family dynamics through philanthropy has been a key component in the growth of the organization.


Over the past five years, Sushma has shepherded SCG to become the sophisticated, responsive membership association it is today. SCG has steadily enhanced member services, programs, fundraising strategies, public policy work, operations and communications. With Sushma at the helm, membership has grown by 12 percent and membership retention rates have exceeded 95 percent. During her tenure, SCG’s operating budget increased to approximately $1.6 million, with several major foundations and corporations providing general operating support and sponsorships for the first time in SCG’s history.

10 Questions or Less for Adam Donaldson

10 Questions or Less is a feature here on the Forum’s Forum in which we get to know regional association staff members a little better—their work, what drives them, and more. This week,  Adam Donaldson, Member Services Director at Association of Baltimore Area GrantmakersIf you would like to suggest someone for a profile through 10 Questions or Less, contact Dan Brady.

You have a Masters in Public Policy and have played an active role in Foundations on the Hill. As we head into 2012, an election year, what issues should be at the forefront in regional associations staff’s minds?

All politics is local, which in this context is my way of saying regional association staff always have members at the forefront of their minds! So the questions are what are your members concerned about and what are you doing to engage and to listen to them? Have you established policies with your Board and members that allow you to advocate or lobby when opportunity or need knocks? In the Baltimore area, our members are anxious about government budget cuts and reduced private giving to nonprofits as a result of the economy. We are monitoring carefully the national conversation on charitable deductions and other efforts to gain government revenue from nonprofits and foundations.

You recently shared ABAG’s member renewal “thank you” letter on the Member Marketing listserve. ABAG seems to have a great relationship with its members, partially because of special touches like this. As the Member Services Director who also has a lot of other duties on his plate, how do make sure you get these important details right?

If I do get things right, it is precisely because I turn to the Forum network for best practices and rely on feedback from ABAG staff and long-time members (I believe in group writing). To focus my attention I rely on writing a fairly detailed annual plan and then pour my brain into my outlook calendar (my ring tone is “If I only had a brain”). Everything from reaching out to an unengaged member to taking my toddler to gymnastics happens because my iPhone buzzes. Send me a meeting maker anytime. Continue reading

Tips for the Social Media Manager

by Buffy Beaudoin-Schwartz, Communications Director, Association of Baltimore Area Grantmakers

As a membership organization of foundations and corporate giving programs ranging in size, staff, resources and capacity, we at The Association of Baltimore Area Grantmakers are continually looking at how to better our communications with and on behalf of our members.

As The Resource on Grantmaking, we provide critical information and services to the philanthropic and nonprofit communities. As The Network for Givers in our region, we convene grantmakers and others to address issues and create lasting solutions. And, as The Voice for Philanthropy, we represent the philanthropic sector to key audiences, including the media, legislators, and national organizations, raising public awareness and understanding about the role and impact of philanthropy on our society.

In order to enhance our ability to be the resource, network and voice of and for our members, we have been utilizing social media, and in particular Facebook and Twitter for four specific reasons: To Communicate, Disseminate, Concentrate and Participate. Continue reading

Mark Sedway Goes Outside for ABAG’s Annual Meeting

At last week’s Association of Baltimore Area Grantmakers Annual Meeting, keynote speaker Mark Sedway, Director of The Philanthropy Awareness Initiative, encouraged ABAG’s members to “go outside,” beyond their usual spheres of influences and peer networks to tell their stories about the impact of philanthropy.

Below is a video from Sedway’s presentation. View the whole thing on our YouTube Channel.

ABAG Launches New Website and Blog

The good folks over at the Association of Baltimore Area Grantmakers never rest! They recently launched a snazzy new website, including an online member community, at www.abagrantmakers.org. In conjunction with the launch of the site, they’ve also launched a blog called Adventures in Philanthropy. I told you! They’re tireless workers over there.

This is ABAG’s new public website for members and others interested in philanthropy, which aims to provide relevant and useful information to the broader public about philanthropy and the important work of our members while also providing the online member community for ABAG members to learn, share and communicate in a private setting.

There’s lots of good stuff so be sure to check it out and subscribe to the blog.

Working Better with Online Tools

Yesterday morning, I drove up to Baltimore for a morning presentation at ABAG with Buffy Beaudoin-Schwartz on online tools that can make your work life easier.  We didn’t get to cover all of these with the group, but I wanted to share them with you because they all have value when it comes to lightening your workload.

Organizing Your Day

Doodle.com – easy meeting scheduler
Dashboards – manage what you want to know about
Mobile Apps – mobile management via smartphones
Google Desktop – search and organize your computer desktop Continue reading