Community Foundation gets noticed Joins top 50: The best way to marshal private resources for public needs.

November 23, 1996

THE BALTIMORE Community Foundation was late getting started and puny for too long. A community foundation is the bTC most effective means of putting to work resources left for good causes as the donors intended.

Now the Baltimore Community Foundation has, at least, reached the charts. It shows up on The Chronicle of Philanthropy's lists of Top 50 community foundations in the nation in 1995. It stood 40th in assets, with $66,350,953 (compared to the second place Cleveland Foundation's $900,625,208), 42nd in grants paid out with $3,853,472 and -- better yet -- 33rd in gifts received with $11,715,173.

While a fabulously wealthy person may endow a foundation to do good works, someone with $100,000 or $1 million or $10 million to leave has a problem. It wouldn't support staff and legal requirements with enough left over to accomplish its purpose. The answer is a community foundation with the staff and know-how to apply gifts to donors' intentions.

An example: Pam Shriver's celebrated tennis tournaments for charity, of which the 11th will be held Nov. 26. The money goes to the Tennis Challenge Fund at the Baltimore Community Foundation, which sees that it is distributed to children's causes. The television sportscaster Gerry Sandusky decided to award college scholarships in memory of his late brother. The Joe Sandusky Fund at the Baltimore Community Foundation can do that in perpetuity.

Such a foundation serves every conceivable purpose. When it gets large enough with unrestricted gifts, it can also act on its own. One sign of the Baltimore Community Foundation's coming of age was its initiative in bringing a settlement of the dispute between the Maryland Institute and the Baltimore Museum of Art that leaves the Lucas Collection of art permanently in Baltimore.

Another sign is the leading role the Baltimore Community Foundation took in organizing a community-wide grant proposal to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. "Safe and Sound, Baltimore's Campaign for Children and Youth" will be in place as a strategy for helping young people whether the coveted grant comes through or not.

The growth of the Baltimore Community Foundation owes much to the foresight of the Goldseker Foundation in boosting it. As the Baltimore Community Foundation raises its profile locally, it should also move up the national charts to somewhere nearer Baltimore's ranking among metropolitan areas. And that will be about time.

Pub Date: 11/23/96

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