Associated Black Charities names new chief

November 03, 2006|By Allison Connolly | Allison Connolly,Sun reporter

Associated Black Charities, the state's largest African-American philanthropic organization, said yesterday that it has named Baltimore city school board member Diane Bell McKoy its new chief executive.

She replaces Gary Officer, who resigned in July after only 18 months on the job, after being told by the charity's board chairman to either quit or face a termination vote by the board.

Bell McKoy most recently was a senior fellow at the Annie E. Casey Foundation, which supports community initiatives for disadvantaged children and their families.

In her new role, she wants to make Associated Black Charities more prominent. "Most people don't know African-Americans give as much as they do in terms of talent and philanthropy," she said.

At the same time, she wants to help close the wealth gap between blacks and whites, which she calls the "civil rights issue of the 21st century."

Barbara Blount Armstrong, chief operating officer and interim CEO, said Bell McKoy garnered national attention for her work as CEO of Empower Baltimore Management Corp., which promoted investment in the city's economically-depressed neighborhoods.

The 21-year-old Associated Black Charities awards more than $20 million worth of grants each year, much of it in the form of federal funding for poor HIV and AIDS patients. It recently established the Legacy Fund, with the aim of raising $50 million from corporations and institutions.

Besides her work with the Annie E. Casey Foundation and Empower Baltimore, Bell McKoy was deputy chief of staff to former Baltimore Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke and held a number of other positions in city government, including chairwoman of the Human Services Sub-Cabinet. She received a bachelor of arts degree and a master's degree in social work from the University of Maryland.

Bell McKoy said she's coveted the Associated Black Charities position for more than a decade.

"Ask anyone who knows me, they'll say, `She finally got the job,'" she said.

allison.connolly@baltsun.com

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