Beyond grant-making, we support non-profits by encouraging collaborations and exploration of larger issues. Specifically, we host roundtable lunches involving non-profit educators and our Target Neighborhoods. The format of confidential, free and open discussion fosters information sharing among organizations, communities and leaders, and has proven to have results.
Non-Profit Educators and Funders
This roundtable convenes executive directors of leading educational non-profits and staff of many Baltimore foundations who are working towards a better city-wide educational system. Discussions and resulting efforts include innovation in the Baltimore City Public Schools, increased charter school activity, and support of groups that enhance public education.
In the Northeast communities of Belair-Edison and Hamilton-Lauraville, we host roundtables with community development organizations and educational non-profits to improve communication and the quality of life. Partners include Morgan State University, the Morgan Community Mile initiative, and the Goldseker Foundation’s neighborhood/schools partnership, with charter, parochial, and public schools working together.
In Patterson Park, a strong middle neighborhood Southeast of the center of Baltimore, we convene partner organizations to work collaboratively using the park, local schools, and non-profit resources to improve the quality of life around Patterson Park. Some partners include the Creative Alliance, Banner Neighborhoods, Baltimore Community Foundation, the Southeast Community Development Corporation, and Patterson Park Public Charter School.
In building relationships with non-profit leaders in these Target Neighborhoods, we were surprised to find a significant gap. Although the organizations were familiar with each other’s work, they did not necessarily know one another well and had few occasions to gather. We realized we could play a new role beyond philanthropy by sponsoring informal, but intentional, regular roundtable lunches in Northeast and Southeast Baltimore.
These gatherings have no agenda beyond providing opportunities to get to know each other and encouraging deeper connections, strengthening the network of relationships, and collaborating on shared issues. The concept of the roundtables is simple and the cost is nominal, but the impact is deep. Outcomes of these lunches include home buyer tours in Northeast Baltimore and increased youth summer job opportunities in Southeast Baltimore. These roundtables are now a key element of our investment in these Target Neighborhoods.
Left Banner: Photo courtesy of Southeast Community Development Corporation
Right Banner: Photo courtesy of Belair-Edison Neighborhoods, Inc.