Board Meeting Minutes June 7, 2022

The meeting of the Board of Directors of the Baltimore Children & Youth Fund, Inc. was held on June 7th, 2022, via video conference.


Board Members in Attendance: Dion Cartwright, Chair; Kirsten Allen, Vice Chair; John Morris, Treasurer; Jacqueline Caldwell, Secretary; Keiona Gorham; Jon Gray; Larry Carlton Simmons, Jr.; Louis Williams III; Marcus Pollock; and Lisa Molock (arrived 7 pm).


Board Members Absent: Catherine Benton-Jones; 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 finances, hear organizational updates from BCYF, Inc. President Alysia Lee. She outlined the following items of the meeting agenda: a review of the previous Board meeting minutes, and the President’s report, including a hiring update, an update on the Grassroots Fund, and a presentation of the FY23 BCYF, Inc. Budget.

Meeting Minutes from April 12th, 2022, Board Meeting – Dion Cartwright, Board Chair

Cartwright announced that the Board had received the draft of the meeting minutes from the April 12, 2022, meeting of the Board. Cartwright asked if there were any amendments or comments on the minutes, and there were none.


Morris moved for approval of the minutes. Caldwell seconded the motion. The April 12, 2022, BCYF, Inc. Board meeting minutes were unanimously approved by all Board members in attendance.

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 then turned this portion of the agenda over to Lee, to provide an update on hiring, the Grassroots Fund, and the presentation of the FY 2023 budget.


Lee provided an update on the hiring of BCYF, Inc.’s executive team. To date, BCYF, Inc. has filled three executive leadership positions (75% of executive positions): Vice President of Finance and Administration (Kera Ritter), Vice President of Community Engagement & Strategic Partnerships (Kieta Iriarte-Amin), and Vice President of Learning, Evaluation & Data Management. BCYF, Inc. has also filled 25% of full-staff positions, through hiring the Executive Assistant to the President (Sarita Edwards), Grants & Contracts Manager (Maria Lay), and Director of Communications. Board members asked questions about the Learning, Evaluation & Data Management staff, hiring next steps, and budget to which Lee responded that a Vice President had been hired and would soon begin in the role, and highlighted the role of evaluation and learning in all of BCYF, Inc.’s activities.


Lee then introduced Kera Ritter, Vice President of Finance and Administration, to review the BCYF, Inc. Draft Budget for Fiscal Year 2023. Ritter highlighted that 80% of the budget supports Grantmaking, with 75% of that 80% going to direct grantmaking, and 25% to technical assistance.


Lee shared an update on The Grassroots Fund, to which BCYF, Inc. has received 78 applications. In order to have a Fund recipient selection process rooted in transparency, stewardship, and public accountability, BCYF, Inc. will have an external panel of community members review and score these applications. BCYF, Inc. conducted an open application process, to which 41 community members applied, and 18 were selected to the panel, prioritizing community members with familiarity with the local youth landscape and experience designing or operating youth programming. Following an eligibility screening process, applications were handed off to the external panel for review.


Currently, stated Lee, the external panel is reviewing the applications, which will be complete by June 15, 2022. There will be a final review/due diligence by the Strategic Investments review team, made up of BCYF, Inc. Staff and consultants, followed by applicant focus groups, and a Grantee Celebratory Announcement of the final selected Grantees.


Pollock asked that BCYF, Inc. note how many successful applicants classify themselves as faithbased organizations, and to consider how to best incentivize and support their efforts. Lee responded that BCYF, Inc. would produce this information in a future review of applicants.


Lastly, Lee highlighted the upcoming BCYF, Inc. People’s Assemblies, offered virtually on June 21, and in-person on June 25, 2022. These assemblies will provide Baltimore residents an opportunity to share their perspective on a wide range of issues, including BCYF, Inc.’s priorities, and assessing the current youth service landscape.


Cartwright thanked Lee for her report, and reminded the attendees that BCYF, Inc. is presenting the draft budget for FY 2023 to the general public, as required by City ordinance, at the Annual Financial Plan meeting. The meeting will be held via Zoom on Thursday, June 16 at 6:00 p.m.

Adjournment – Dion Cartwright, Board Chair

Cartwright adjourned the Board meeting at 7:13 p.m. The next meeting of the BCYF, Inc. Board of Directors will be Tuesday, June 28, 2022, at 6:30 p.m. via Zoom.