Supporting Racial Equity in Baltimore

  • Impact Stories
  • Network Leaders

Dec 10, 2019 Common Future

As CFO of the Baltimore Community Foundation, Patti Chandler joined the Foundation Circle to learn how to incorporate best practices in local mission-investing. Patti used her time in the Foundation Circle cohort to design an impact investing fund for BCF. Support from the other members of the cohort helped her think through structure and governance as she prepared to launch the fund.

Baltimore Community Foundation operates from the knowledge that profound disparities in opportunity exist between people of color and their white counterparts, and is committed to reducing racial disparities and fostering more equity and inclusion through its grantmaking, impact investing, and advocacy.

The support of the Foundation Circle cohort, along with the engaged leadership of a BCF Impact Investing Subcommittee, enabled Patti to develop and deploy a $4 million impact investment strategy (with plans for a $6 million commitment) allocated from the foundation’s $148 million endowment.

This initiative represents a 4% shift of the foundation’s endowment into impact investing in the local community. The idea is to put money to work addressing racial disparities in Baltimore by investing in Baltimore-based businesses. For example, a recent $500,000 investment in Baltimore Community Lending has been deployed to provide loans of $5,000-$150,000 to Baltimore-based entrepreneurs. BCF also invites donors with donor-advised funds to co-invest.

More than providing a blueprint for how community foundation endowments can be a critical tool for economic development, Patti’s experience with Common Future led her to sponsor two of her colleagues to our 2018 Foundation Circle cohort, so that this work could be instilled within the culture of BCF.

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