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Black-led nonprofits launch Baltimore Legacy Builders Collective

Black-led nonprofits launch Baltimore Legacy Builders Collective

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Three Black-led Baltimore nonprofit organizations — B-360I am MENtality and The — today launched The Baltimore Legacy Builders Collective, a unique partnership created to build capacity, sustainability and impact for their youth development organizations.

The Collective uses an innovative model of sharing strategic fundraising resources to break funding barriers and strengthen Black-led organizations in Baltimore.

The group’s goal is to provide 100 hours of training, transferable skills and empowerment to 1,300 youth and young adults in the Baltimore metro area over the next year. Brittany Young, founder and chief executive officer of B-360, an organization utilizing dirt bike culture to end the cycle of poverty, disrupt the prison pipeline and build bridges in communities, Darren Rogers, founder and executive director of I am MENtality, an organization that enlightens the minds of male youth through mentoring and leadership development and Tonee Lawson, founder and executive director of The Be. Org, an organization that nurtures youth to live above their socially imposed limitations, formed The Collective to help their organizations and others facing similar capacity challenges succeed.

The Collective was born out of a shared passion for youth development in Baltimore and years of collaborating and supporting each other’s success. In 2019, Young, Rogers and Lawson developed the idea for The Collective and later that year, secured a grant from the T. Rowe Price Foundation for the hiring of a joint fundraising and strategic leadership position and other material and programming costs like stipends and programming space. This funding, spread out over three years, paired with matching gifts from each of the three organizations has made The Collective possible.

Young, Rogers and Lawson are developing The Collective’s joint fundraising team and plan to announce the chief development officer in early 2021. Three volunteer junior advisers — Chelsea Brown, a graduate student at The University of Maryland’s School of Public Policy; Robbin Lee, the executive director of Baltimore Homecoming; and Matthew Reeds, the founder and executive director of The Reeds Fund – have been engaged and are actively collaborating with each executive director and utilizing their networks to help facilitate connections with the Baltimore philanthropic community.

The ongoing pandemic has also highlighted the growing educational and digital disparities in Baltimore’s communities and reinforces how vital these organizations are in providing STEM, mentoring, workforce development and social and emotional learning programs for youth in predominately Black communities. According to a study published in May 2020 by Echoing Green and The Bridgespan Group titled “Racial Equity and Philanthropy: Disparities in Funding for Leaders of Color Leave Impact on the Table,” the average revenues of Black-led organizations are 24 percent smaller than the revenues of white-led counterparts. The Collective’s collaborative and innovative model seeks to address this disparity. Once The Collective builds capacity and stronger sustainability for its organizations, its goal is to help other Black-led organizations replicate the shared fundraising and capacity building model. The Collective plans to provide both technical support to organizations and direct funding to one chosen organization by the end of 2021.

The Collective’s goal is to raise $30,000 through its Giving Tuesday and end of year campaigns to support its youth development programming and help build capacity within Black-led organizations in Baltimore.

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