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By special to AFRO

BALTIMOREThe Baltimore Community Foundation (BCF) is proud to announce the launch of the Black Philanthropy Circle. The Black Philanthropy Circle is a donor-advised 501(c)3 nonprofit fund focused on charitable giving to nonprofit organizations that directly support Black people and communities in the Baltimore metropolitan area. The Circle has begun its first scholarship cycle and is accepting applications until February 28, 2022.

The Black Philanthropy Circle was formed by a group of more than 30 Black business and civic leaders to foster an inclusive philanthropic community, build the capacity of Black nonprofits in Baltimore, and impact the Black community in the Baltimore area at large. The Circle builds on a deep tradition of charitable giving in the black community. According to a report by the WK Kellogg Foundation, African Americans give 25% more of their income than white Americans annually.

“Baltimore has a rich history of black philanthropy by individual men and women. The strength of the Black Philanthropy Circle lies in the pooling of our funds to support Black-led charities and those that impact the Black community,” he said Alicia Wilson, Esq., Co-Founder of the Black Philanthropy Circle and Vice President for Economic Development at Johns Hopkins University and the Johns Hopkins Health System.

Most of the founding members have contributed $10,000 or more to found the fund, which sets the group apart from other contributors where the typical starting contribution is around $2,500.

“The Black Philanthropy Circle is an undeniable example of black success and wealth thriving in Baltimore.” said Shanaysha Sauls, President and CEO of the Baltimore Community Foundation. “At BCF, we are proud to partner with this incredible community of changemakers who are investing their time and collective resources to pave the way for a stronger and fairer Baltimore.”

For its first grant cycle, the county plans to award $25,000 in grants to nonprofits led by black people or based in black communities in the Baltimore area. Funding decisions will be made by spring 2022.

The Circle will prioritize organizations with the following areas of focus:

  • Art and culture;
  • Economic welfare (employment services, workforce training, etc.);
  • education, leisure and youth;
  • community organization (non-political) and community service;
  • Environment;
  • human services;
  • health and wellness

“Supporting organizations with such focuses will have a significant impact in improving black communities in the Baltimore area.” said Savonne Ferguson, Esq., co-founder of the Black Philanthropy Circle and senior vice president, chief compliance officer (mutual funds) and associate general counsel at Neuberger Berman. “This support is critical to strengthening and moving Baltimore forward.”

More than $550,000 has already been raised in support of Black Philanthropy Circle’s mission. The Circle plans to use its inaugural year to continue to grow the fund and its membership base.

“The most exciting thing about the Black Philanthropy Circle is the sheer diversity within the group. It is a powerful convergence of an older generation of black philanthropists with a new generation of black philanthropists who want to use their resources, power and influence to positively impact a community that has given them so much.” continued Wilson. “A significant portion of the members of the Founding Black Philanthropy Circle are in their late 30s and early 40s and are in many ways first generation. Simply put, the Black Philanthropy Circle represents Black Baltimore’s greatest ideal—that we are better when we give, support, and care for one another.”

For more information on the Black Philanthropy Circle, visit bcf.org/fund/bpcirc/. For nonprofit organizations interested in applying for a Black Philanthropy Circle grant, visit bcf.org/black-philanthropy-circle/.

About the Baltimore Community Foundation
For 50 years, the Baltimore Community Foundation (BCF) has connected people who are passionate about their city and single-minded in their philanthropy. BCF amplifies donor philanthropy with strategic grants, impact investing, special initiatives and advocacy to strengthen schools and neighborhoods. Visit http://www.bcf.org to discover ways to give, invest your funds wisely, and join a diverse community dedicated to making Baltimore a better place.

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The article “AFRO Exclusive: Black Philanthropy Circle Launches in Baltimore, Announces First Grant Cycle” first appeared in AFRO American Newspapers.

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