The Foundation undertook a strategic planning process in 2020, and one of the results is the focus on two new giving areas moving forward:
We are strategically focusing on these two priorities in order to have as much impact as possible on systemic racism and poverty, which have plagued Baltimore—where the Foundation has always geographically focused our giving—for decades.
Our giving priorities are purposely broad to maximize learning about local, community needs and identifying the most effective ways to address these needs.
In addition, the Foundation is developing a social justice and racial equity lens with which to carry out our work. We understand that racial equity practices are continuously evolving because equity is not restricted to a set of practices but is an approach to philanthropy rooted in inclusion. As part of this effort to be more inclusive, we understand the importance of participatory grantmaking since it centers the voice of the community most impacted by issues affecting economic mobility as well as trauma on its youth.
Toward this effort, the Foundation has modified its grantmaking process to incorporate elements of trust-based philanthropy. Starting in 2021, we incorporated a Community Advisory Committee (CAC) into our grantmaking. The CAC members currently provide insight and input not only on the Foundation’s two strategic priority areas, but also evaluate applicant proposals and grantee progress.
In addition, as part of this intentional focus on using a racial equity lens and employing trust-based philanthropy best practices, the Foundation provides general operating support so community partners may best determine how to use the funds provided. Furthermore, we have simplified both the application and subsequent grants management process for grantees. We are also increasing opportunities for interaction and learning between the Foundation and our funded community partners, which includes collaborating on metrics for outputs and outcomes that are both program specific and broader as it relates to the ecosystem within which each organization operates.
The Foundation is committed to learning and evolving as a funding partner in the greater Baltimore community. We hope to collaborate with your organization in one of our strategic priority areas when the next request for proposal process occurs.