The meeting of the Board of Directors of the Baltimore Children & Youth Fund, Inc. was held on
June 28th, 2022, via video conference.
Board Members in Attendance: Dion Cartwright, Chair; John Morris, Treasurer; Jacqueline
Caldwell, Secretary; Catherine Benton-Jones; Keiona Gorham; Jon Gray; Larry Carlton Simmons,
Jr.; Louis Williams III; Marcus Pollock; and Lisa Molock (arrived 7 pm).
Board Members Absent: Kirsten Allen, Vice Chair; Lanaye Drake; and Darius X.
The Meeting was called to order by the Chair, Dion Cartwright, at 6:33 p.m.
Welcome & Review of the Agenda – Dion Cartwright, Board Chair
Cartwright welcomed the Board of Directors and public to this meeting of the Baltimore
Children and Youth Fund, Inc. (BCYF, Inc.).
Cartwright reminded the attendees of BCYF, Inc.’s purpose: to create new opportunities for the
city’s young people to learn, thrive and succeed. Cartwright also stated BCYF, Inc.’s status and
responsibility as a nonprofit organization stewarding public funds.
Cartwright shared the purpose of the meeting: to update the Board and the public on BCYF,
Inc.’s operations, the FY 2023 budget and grantmaking, and hear from BCYF, Inc. President
Alysia Lee. She noted that that the order of agenda items had been adjusted for the meeting,
such that the Treasurer’s report and approval of the FY23 Budget will happen before the
President’s report. She outlined the following items of the meeting agenda: a review of the
previous BCYF, Inc. Board Meeting Minutes, a Treasurer’s report, including a vote on a
recommendation regarding BCYF, Inc.’s internal and fiscal controls policy, a vote on the FY23
budget, and a President’s report and update and vote on grantmaking.
Meeting Minutes from June 7, 2022, Board Meeting– Dion Cartwright, Board Chair
Cartwright announced that the Board had received the draft of the meeting minutes from the
June 7, 2022, meeting of the Board. Cartwright asked if there were any amendments or
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comments on the minutes. Williams noted that the minutes should be amended to remove
Aaron Brown’s name from the absent attendees list, as Brown had resigned from the Board of
Directors at the time of the meeting.
Morris moved for approval of the minutes with this amendment. Pollock seconded the motion.
The June 7, 2022, BCYF, Inc. Board meeting minutes were unanimously approved by all Board
members in attendance.
Meeting Minutes from February 8th, 2022, Board Meeting – Dion Cartwright, Board Chair
Cartwright announced that the Board had received the draft of the meeting minutes from the February 8, 2022, meeting of the Board. Cartwright asked if there were any amendments or comments on the minutes, and there were none.
Allen moved for approval of the minutes. Morris seconded the motion. The February 8, 2022, BCYF, Inc. Board meeting minutes were unanimously approved by all Board members in attendance.
Treasurer’s Report – John Morris, Board Treasurer, and Kera Ritter, Vice President of Finance and Administration
Morris stated that BCYF, Inc. is committed to transparency and public accountability in the use
of public dollars and is continuing to be a good steward of public resources. He introduced Kera
Ritter, Vice President of Finance and Administration, to review recommended changes to the
BCYF, Inc. Internal and Fiscal Controls Policy, followed by a review of the FY23 Budget
proposal for a vote on approval.
Ritter reviewed her memo and three-part recommendation for guidelines on contracting and
disbursements. This recommendation included a requirement for documentation and approval
by the President and Vice President for expenditures over a certain threshold, a requirement of
two signatures before disbursement of funds, and the implementation of a credit card limit for
operational use by BCYF, Inc.
Ritter asked if there were any amendments or comments regarding the recommendation, and
there were none.
Pollock moved for approval of the recommendation. Williams seconded the motion. The June
28th recommendation regarding BCYF, Inc.’s Internal and Fiscal Controls Policy was
unanimously approved by all Board members in attendance.
FY 2023 Budget Approval – John Morris, Board Treasurer, and Kera Ritter, Vice President of Finance and Administration
Morris reminded the Board that the proposed BCYF, Inc. FY23 Budget was presented to the general public, as required by the Baltimore City Ordinance, on Thursday, June 16th at 6 pm at the Annual Financial Plan meeting. Following this meeting, the BCYF, Inc. Finance Committee.
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met to review the budget and make additional recommendations considering the feedback and suggestions of BCYF, Inc. staff, the public, and the Finance Committee. Morris introduced Kera Ritter to review the revised proposed FY2023 Budget in detail for the
Board’s consideration and approval.
Ritter reviewed the proposed Budget, focusing on the following items: Revenue, Expenditures, Salaries, Fringe Benefits, Professional Fees (including Accounting, Legal, Marketing/Communications, Stipends, IT/Computer Services, Management Consultants), Advertising, Bank & Payroll Fees, Insurance/Corporate, Grants and Grantee Disbursements, Technical Assistance (Community and Grantee), Meals and Catering, Membership Dues, Postage and Shipping, Printing & Copying, Rent, Professional Development & Trainings,
Technology Supplies, Furniture, Other Supplies, Subscriptions & Publications, and Telecommunications & Publications.
Ritter highlighted that 82.5% of BCYF, Inc.’s total funding is allocated to grants, which is a
much higher percentage than most organizations are able to allocate.
Morris thanked Ritter for the presentation and asked if there were any amendments or
comments regarding the proposed FY23 Budget. Williams asked for clarification regarding the
Budget’s target percentages. Ritter replied that BCYF, Inc., per the City Ordinance, must use at
least 80% of its funds for grantmaking, and no more than 15% for administration and 5% for
public engagement respectively. Morris suggested that a footnote explaining this could be added
to the budget.
Pollock moved to approve the FY 2023 BCYF, Inc. Budget. Caldwell seconded the motion. The
Fiscal Year 2023 BCYF, Inc. Budget was unanimously approved by all Board members in
President’s Report – Alysia Lee, President
Cartwright introduced Alysia Lee, BCYF, Inc.’s President, and explained that the President’s Report is an opportunity for the Board to learn about the organization and for Lee to highlight key priority areas and engage in dialogue with the Board about current operational policies.
Cartwright stated that tonight’s President’s Report would involve voting on the slates of grantees recommended by the Grant Review Panel for Board approval. Cartwright explained that, while discussing the slates, potential grantees were be referred to by a number, rather than by name.
Cartwright stated that Lee would review the participatory grant-making process that BCYF, Inc. has adopted, as well as the profiles for each grant portfolio. Following this, said Cartwright, the Board would vote on each slate of grantees.
Cartwright shared that this a vote would cover two non-discretionary funds that BCYF, Inc. is distributing this fiscal year: the Grassroots Fund and the Aligned Grant-making Fund. The third
fund that will be disbursing funds is the President’s Fund, which is a discretionary fund.
Cartwright reminded the Board that it has approved the President’s authority to make
independent decisions regarding these funds and shared that Lee would report on how she went
about making grantee selections for the President’s Fund.
Finally, Cartwright stated that the voting procedure during the meeting would demonstrate how BCYF, Inc. upholds its Conflict of Interest Policy in the grant decision making process. Prior to the meeting, BCYF Inc. surveyed the Board members to identify any member’s conflicts of interest with the votes of this meeting. Cartwright explained that Board members that do have a conflict of interest with any proposed grantee will recuse themselves, leaving the call, from the portion of the meeting discussing and voting on these grantees.
Cartwright then turned to Lee to provide updates on hiring, grantmaking, and technical
assistance for grassroots organizations and the Baltimore City community.
Lee first reviewed the purpose of the President’s Fund, which aligns with the BCYF, Inc.
mission, vision, and values, and offers flexibility to address pressing issues at the discretion of the President. She provided an overview of her current plan for the use of this fund.
Lee then reviewed the prospective grantee organization for Aligned Grantmaking. Cartwright
asked if there were any questions or comments regarding the prospective grantee, and there were
Caldwell moved to approve the grantee for Aligned Grantmaking. Morris seconded the motion. The Aligned Grantmaking grantee was unanimously approved by all Board members in attendance.
Next, Lee provided an overview of the applicants and reviewed the slate of prospective grantees
for the Grassroots Fund. Cartwright introduced the vote on these prospective grantees, which was split into two sections: non-conflicted slate, and conflicted slate.
The non-conflicted slate of prospective grantees did not include any grantees for which a BCYF,Inc. Board member held a conflict of interest, therefore all Board members in attendance remained in the meeting.
Lee presented the non-conflicted slate. Cartwright asked if there were any questions or comments
regarding this slate of prospective grantees for the Grassroots Fund.
Pollock asked about organizations that will not receive a grant from the Grassroots Fund and what, if any, measures could be taken to improve the capacity of organizations to participate in
Lee responded that all organizations that began an application for the Grassroots Fund would receive communications from BCYF, Inc. about future opportunities. BCYF, Inc. has plans to conduct focus groups with these people and organizations and share the results across different areas of the organization to improve the application and selection process.
Cartwright asked if BCYF, Inc. will use the same external review panel for the next iteration. Lee replied that the current plan is to open it up to a new panel. However, the current panel created a very positive, collegiate environment, and BCYF, Inc. in FY23 will be running in two grant cycles, so it may be helpful to use the same panel again.
Pollock moved to approve the nonconflicted grantee slate for the Grassroots Fund. Caldwell
seconded the motion. The Grassroots Fund nonconflicted grantee slate was unanimously
approved by all Board members in attendance.
Cartwright then shifted the meeting to vote on the remaining recommended grantees. Those members of the Board who had a conflict of interest with any of the recommended grantees in
this slate left the meeting. Cartwright announced that these Board members would return following the vote on these grantees.
The meeting paused while the relevant Board members recused themselves. Once all had left the
meeting, Cartwright asked if there were any questions or comments regarding this slate of prospective grantees for the Grassroots Fund, and there were none.
Pollock moved to approve the conflicted grantee slate for the Grassroots Fund. Simmons
seconded the motion. The Grassroots Fund conflicted grantee slate was unanimously approved by all Board members in attendance.
The recused Board members then returned to the meeting.
Cartwright thanked everyone for their work to ensure that the first grantmaking cycle to
grassroots organizations, the launch of the President’s Fund, and the continuation of the aligned grantmaking strategy all enable BCYF, Inc. to achieve its mission. She then turned the meeting back to Lee to provide a hiring update.
Lee reported that 100% of positions on the Executive Team have been filled, with the hiring of
the Vice President of Grantmaking & Technical Assistance. This staff member joins Lee, President, Kera Ritter, VP of Finance & Administration, Kieta Iriarte-Amin, VP of Community
Engagement & Partnerships, and the VP of Learning, Evaluation & Data Management. Lee also
announced that BCYF, Inc. had hired a Director of Communications.
Cartwright thanked Lee for her report.
Adjournment – Dion Cartwright, Board Chair
Cartwright adjourned the Board meeting at 7:55 p.m.
The next meeting of the BCYF, Inc. Board of Directors will be Tuesday, September 13, 2022, at
6:30 p.m. via Zoom.