Board Meeting Minutes July 15, 2020

Date: July 15, 2020

Time: 6:30 p.m.

Via Zoom:

The meeting of the Transition Board of Directors of the Baltimore Children & Youth Fund, Inc. was held on July 15, 2020 via video conference.

Board Members in Attendance: Catherine Benton-Jones; Dion Cartwright, Chair; Erika Seth Davies, Vice Chair; Jacqueline Caldwell; John Morris, Treasurer; Julia Baez, Secretary; and Kirsten Allen, Vice Chair

Board Member Absent: Earl El-Amin


The meeting was called to order by the Chair, Dion Cartwright, at 6:33 p.m.

Welcome & Overview of BCYF – Dion Cartwright, Board Chair

Cartwright welcomed the Board and public to the first meeting of the Baltimore Children and Youth Fund, Inc. as the permanent intermediary for City’s dedicated fund to support Baltimore’s children and youth. She provided a history of the City’s Children and Youth Fund beginning with the 2015 charter amendment spearheaded by then City Council President Bernard “Jack” Young. The charter amendment was passed in 2016 by 80% of Baltimore City residents voting in the November 2016 election. This charter amendment would ultimately establish the Baltimore City Children and Youth Fund (“BCYF”).

Cartwright continued with an overview of the 34 member BCYF Task Force convened in February 2017 to establish the initial direction of BCYF and setting the standard for public participation and institutional values of racial equity and community empowerment. The Task Force recommended an independent entity with a strong emphasis on capacity building and technical assistance for community-based organizations not traditionally supported by philanthropy.

Cartwright introduced the Baltimore Children and Youth Fund, Inc. (“BCYF, Inc.”) and its work to transition into a thriving organization that continues to grow, improve, and support grassroots organizations that are vital to meeting the needs of Baltimore’s children and youth. She emphasized the role of community engagement and reviewed the history of community input through community design sessions, development of the first RFP with the funding priority areas determined by community input, community capacity building sessions, and grant review panel made up of community members. Cartwright described the significant mandate from the community and BCYF, Inc.’s commitment to multiple on-ramps for community involvement and participation. She described the weak city-wide infrastructure for supporting community-based organizations, the need for dedicated time and energy to develop this infrastructure, and the importance of BCYF, Inc.’ s time and focus on this difficult task of infrastructure development to support community-based organizations. 


Cartwright then introduced the 8 members of the Transition Board of Directors charged with developing the long-term structure and foundational policies and practices that will guide the first permanent Board of Directors. The Transition Board Members are the following:  

  1. Dion Cartwright, Board Chair
  2. Catherine Benton-Jones, Board Member
  3. Earl El-Amin, Board Member
  4. Erika Seth Davies, Board Vice Chair
  5. Jacqueline Caldwell, Board Member
  6. John Morris, Board Treasurer
  7. Julia Baez, Board Secretary
  8. Kirsten Allen, Board Vice Chair

See the BCYF, Inc. website ( for more information about the Transition Board.

Meeting Minutes from June 17th Board Meeting - Dion Cartwright

Cartwright reviewed BCYF, Inc.’ s history as receiving the designation from the City of Baltimore as the permanent fiscal agent for the BCYF as of July 1, 2020. Prior to July 1, 2020, Board members were developing the organizational foundation.

Allen moved for approval of the minutes. Morris seconded the motion. The June 17th BCYF, Inc. Board meeting minutes were unanimously approved.

Fiscal and Internal Controls Policies - John Morris

Morris reported on the fiscal controls that BCYF, Inc. has developed and the importance of fiscal controls for a community-driven grantmaking institution stewarding public funds. Morris summarized the fiscal controls and document retention policies’ goals of fiscal responsibility, consistency of operations, and alignment with BCYF Inc.’s commitment to good stewardship of public funds.


Baez moved adoption of the Fiscal and Internal Controls Policies. Seth Davies seconded the motion. The BCYF, Inc. Fiscal and Internal Controls Policies were unanimously adopted. 

Transition Status Update - Kera Ritter

Ritter reported on the organizational development and operational status of BCYF, Inc. to date. She reviewed the history of organizational development to date: system development for the filing and legal requirements for nonstock corporations, City requirements for fund management, assignment of grantee relationships from Associated Black Charities to BCYF, Inc., system development with grantees and , developing human resource policies, banking relationships, and work culture development. BCYF, Inc. has had two webinars with grantees and ongoing technical assistance support. The transition will continue to refine policies and practices, support grantees, and develop impactful community conversations while also being a fully operational grantmaking institution. Ritter described the participatory process and deliberative process that BCYF, Inc. in the transition period.

Treasurer's Report- John Morris

Morris reported on the selection of the first banking institution of the BCYF, Inc. as M&T Bank. He discussed a recommendation for a multi-financial institution approach over time.

Overview of Board Committees

Executive Committee – Julia Baez

    • Baez reported on the charge of the Executive Committee to make recommendations to the Board, evaluate the Executive Director, once hired, and make decisions when the full Board is not in session. She also stated the Committee’s role as working with other Board members to ensure strong organizational policies and practices.

Audit Committee – Erika Seth Davies

    • Seth Davies reported on the two-part charge of the Audit Committee as retaining or renewing the selection of an independent auditor for BCYF, Inc.’ s annual audit and reviewing the results of the audit. The second charge is to review internal practices of BCYF, Inc., including conflicts of interest.

Community Engagement & Communications Committee – Catherine Benton-Jones

    • Benton-Jones reported on the charge of the Community Engagement and Communications Committee as proactively partnering with and creating communications platforms for local community leaders of youth-serving organizations and creating networks and opportunities for grassroots youth-serving community organizations.

Equity & Inclusion Committee – Dion Cartwright

    • Cartwright reported on the charge of the Equity and Inclusion Committee as the annual review of policies and practices of BCYF, Inc. to ensure alignment with its values and the production of a report for distribution to the Board and the general public and the development of processes and practices to ensure a youth-centered culture and successful onboarding of youth and adult Board members.
Adjournment – Dion Cartwright, Board Chair

The meeting was adjourned at 7:12 p.m.