https://www.marylandphilanthropy.org/resource/resmgr/new_staff_photos/betsy_small_cropped_headshot.jpgTen years and 240 columns with stories about the role philanthropy plays in our community and our world. Gives me pause as I reflect back on the Maryland Philanthropy Network of Baltimore Area Grantmaker's "Adventures in Philanthropy” bi-weekly column in The Daily Record.

In the initial 2001 column, I noted that while many of us are familiar with the activities of nonprofit organizations such as homeless shelters, human service agencies, and cultural institutions, few of us know about the foundations that fund these nonprofits and make it possible for them to do their work.

Today there are more than 1,400 foundations in Maryland (1,100 in 2001) and more than 76,500 (47,000 in 2001) in the United States. Their dollars, contributed annually, help support the many thousands of nonprofit groups in Maryland and beyond, that help, heal and inspire those in need.

Our charge for the column was to present the wide array of areas that philanthropy touches. My hope was that the column would not only help shed light on the efforts made by the funding community but would also capture the interest of those not actively involved in philanthropy and nonprofit organizations so that we might together improve the quality of life in our community.

Although much has changed since we started writing the column, there have been certain themes throughout, including stories of the exceptional generosity of individuals and foundations, as celebrated annually at the National Philanthropy Day events. Way too often were stories about natural and human disasters which called for, and usually received, outpouring of financial support.

Frequent too were articles about the fluctuating fortunes and futures of corporations/corporate giving. Many stories focused on how specific nonprofit organizations were addressing community needs. And, there were continuing articles which aimed to highlight the challenges nonprofit organizations face, giving hopefully helpful advice.

One consistent message throughout is that we are all ambassadors for the organizations we care about.

Whether a donor, staff member, or trustee of a foundation or nonprofit, we have a communication role to play. Our belief then, as now, is that through communicating about how foundations and nonprofit organizations tackle some of society's most pressing problems, we could bring increased attention to promising solutions and spark collaborations that might make our community a better place for all its residents.

When we started the column, we hoped there would be enough stories to share.Ten years later, the stories keep coming. I invite you to share yours.

I hope we have been successful bringing to light the work of the giving community and how it affects where we live. 


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