Our Funding Community's Initial Response to Recent Events in Baltimore
By Celeste Amato, President, Maryland Philanthropy Network
The local funding community has expressed deep sadness at the death of Mr. Freddie Gray and at the violence and destruction witnessed this week in Baltimore. Many local funders have deep and long lasting investments in the communities that suffered damage.
It was heartening to see residents of affected communities, joined by their neighbors and business volunteers from across the City, come together to clean up and support each other.
The Maryland Philanthropy Network has been reaching out to public sector partners to determine how we can be most helpful, to meet immediate needs and longer term needs. Our Maryland Philanthropy Network and its members stand ready to support the city and the Mayor’s efforts.
Our funders have also been reaching out to their grantees to assess the needs of those critical service providers on the ground in affected areas. Funders like the Annie E. Casey Foundation and the Open Society Institute-Baltimore already have plans to accelerate grantmaking to assist organizations and their capacity to reach as many affected community members as possible. You can read more in this Chronicle of Philanthropy article.
Associated Black Charities – a long time champion of the need for a deeper understanding of the structural barriers that have produced economic and health disparities along racial lines – will be working with neighborhood organizations and nonprofits to facilitate conversations about "institutional and structural racism” and how we can work together.
There have also been a number of funds established to assist our community:
- The Baltimore Community Foundation has established The Fund for Rebuilding Baltimore, to help repair the physical and emotional damage that has been done and strengthen our community for the future. They will work closely with partners in the community to determine how the fund can best be deployed.
- The ASSOCIATED: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore is collecting funds for immediate service to the neighborhoods affected most deeply by the recent unrest. They are working with area churches, community centers and civic organizations to ensure that the funds are distributed where they are most needed. One hundred percent of all funds collected will be given to assist in the restoration and recovery of Baltimore City.
- The United Way of Central Maryland has established the Maryland Unites Fund, to help restore stability to our communities. 100 percent of donations will go toward humanitarian relief and emergency support to nonprofits in affected Baltimore neighborhoods and no processing fees will be collected.
Maryland Philanthropy Network is a forum for philanthropy to lead and realize the power of intentional collaboration. In the coming days and weeks, we will work with our Mayor, our corporate and nonprofit partners, and our community leaders to facilitate dialogue and actions to address the policies and systemic issues that underlie these incidents.
Our membership is committed to helping our communities heal and to building a stronger, more equitable city in which all citizens can thrive.