Board Meeting Minutes March 17, 2021

Date: March 17, 2021

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 March 17, 2021 via video conference.


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


Board Members Absent: Earl El-Amin


The Meeting was called to order by the Chair, Dion Cartwright, at 6:34 p.m.

Welcome & Review of the Agenda – Dion Cartwright, Board Chair

Cartwright welcomed the Transition Board of Directors and public to this meeting of the Baltimore Children and Youth Fund, 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 then shared the meeting’s focus: BCYF, Inc.’s grantmaking and operational work to support the creation of a strong, permanent institution. Cartwright outlined the following items of the meeting agenda: a review of the January 20th Board meeting minutes, a status report of BCYF, Inc.’s work and status of the organization’s work and development, a financial report, updates from the standing Board committees, an overview of the hiring process of BCYF, Inc.’s first President, and a Grantee Spotlight on Lakeland STEAM Center

Video Recap of BCYF, Inc. – Dion Cartwright, Board Chair

Cartwright played a video recalling BCYF, Inc.’s work in its first six months. She then thanked
the Board and Communications team for their support in developing the video.

Meeting Minutes from January 20th Board Meeting – Dion Cartwright, Board Chair

Cartwright stated that the Board had received the draft of the meeting minutes from the January
20th Board meeting. She asked if there were any amendments or comments, and there were

Seth Davies moved for approval of the minutes. Allen seconded the motion. The January 20th,
2021 BCYF, Inc. Board meeting minutes were unanimously approved with no abstentions at
6:41 pm.

Transition Status Update – Kera Ritter, Transition Manager

Ritter gave an overview of the work that has been done this year, from January 1, 2021 to
February 28, 2021. She covered community technical assistance, portfolio management,
communications, and general operations.

Community Technical Assistance
BCYF, Inc. hosted a “Understanding Baltimore’s Fiscal Sponsorship Landscape” panel, on
January 28, 2021 via Facebook Live. Ritter stated that BCYF, Inc. identified fiscal sponsorship as
a key component to serving grassroots organizations. More than 70 participants attended the
virtual event.

Ritter announced that BCYF, Inc. will host another session on fiscal sponsorship in March,
focused on programs currently in fiscal sponsorship relationships and programs thinking about
fiscal sponsorship. BCYF, Inc. is in the process of testing topics and presentation styles to best
serve the community with its technical assistance programming and will have a particular focus
on youth development in the future.

Portfolio Management
Ritter also updated the attendees on BCYF, Inc.’s portfolio as it enters the closeout process with
grantees. Ritter shared that some grantees have completed their programs and begun the
closeout process, which BCYF, Inc. created during this time period. Ritter briefly described the
steps of the closeout process.

Ritter reminded the group that the grant cycle was scheduled to end January 31, 2021; however,
all grantees were given a 90-day extension until April 30, 2021 to accommodate potential
disruptions caused by COVID-19. She shared that BCYF, Inc. will provide a closeout webinar
for grantees later in March.


Ritter shared that the Communications Team is now onboard and integrated into BCYF Inc.’s
management and leadership teams. They finalized an About Us video and have rolled out a
YouTube Channel. The Team regularly updates BCYF, Inc.’s social media channels and is
working on building Communications infrastructure for the organization.

General Operations
Ritter shared updates on the two goals BCYF, Inc. prioritized in the first two months of 2021:
planning and learning.

In the former, BCYF, Inc. co-created organizational goals for the calendar year, and each team
or function used the collective goals and their strategic framework to inform their goals and
priorities for the year. Each team began to identify areas of overlap and connection as well as
potential areas of concern. Ritter stated that this process will continue into March, culminating
in a team project plan for calendar year 2021.

In terms of the learning goal, Ritter said, BCYF, Inc. focused on lessons learned from its own
operations and from aligned organizations nationally. BCYF, Inc. connected with South
Baltimore Gateway Partnership and Family League to discuss their practices around several
topics, including contracting and vendor management, grantee closeout and grantee onboarding.

Treasurer’s Report – John Morris, Board Treasurer

Morris began his report on BCYF, Inc.’s financial management status by stating that BCYF, Inc.
is committed to transparency and public accountability in the use of public dollars.

Morris stated that BCYF, Inc. supports 78 organizations, offering programmatic support as well
as one-on-one technical assistance—in addition to over $9.2 million in continuation grant
funding. Morris reminded the Board that the grant cycle ends on April 30, 2021.

Morris stated that BCYF, Inc. is continuing to be a good steward of public resources through its
internal controls and collaboration with the Fund for Educational Excellence. Kera Ritter
provided an overview of BCYF, Inc.’s current finances.

Committee Reports – Dion Cartwright, Board Chair; Committee Members

Cartwright introduced the Committee Reports. BCYF, Inc. has five Board committees that are
charged with different aspects of the organization’s mission. Cartwright stated that committee
members will share status updates with the attendees regarding their current work. Cartwright
also introduced each committee and the member presenting.



a. Community Engagement & Communications Committee – Jacqueline Caldwell

Caldwell updated the group on the Committee’s work, in collaboration with the Community Engagement and Communications Team, to implement its 2021 community engagement strategy. This includes a series of grantee showcases, as well as community-based technical assistance. BCYF, Inc. hosted two TA events: the January 2021 fiscal sponsorship landscape panel, and the March 11 discussion and group session focused on fiscal sponsorship processes and models. 


Caldwell reminded the group of the Committee’s focus areas for 2021:

  • First quarter: fiscal sponsorship/infrastructure. The Committee emphasized the importance of understanding and strengthening the fiscal sponsorship landscape in Baltimore.
  • Second quarter: youth development/leadership.
  • Third quarter: safety/violence prevention. 
  • Last quarter: youth employment/entrepreneurship.

Finally, Caldwell stated that the Committee is focused on shifting the narrative of who is considered an “expert,” to position the contributions and expertise of Black people and other people of color, in community, as the driving force in youth-serving activities in Baltimore.


b. Race Equity & Inclusion Committee – Dion Cartwright

Cartwright shared that the Committee has met to develop core definitions, a framework for
establishing a youth-centered culture, and reviewing possibilities of race equity governance
models. The Committee will be developing recommended definitions that will guide BCYF,
Inc.’s work and a proposed learning plan and framework for building a youth-centered culture.


c. Audit Committee – Erika Seth Davies

Seth Davies stated that the Audit Committee has drafted a request for proposals (RFP) for an
independent auditor. The RFP includes two audit periods for the organization’s first audit,
annual audits following the first audit period, annual filing of the 990 federal tax return, and
annual filing of the Form 1 Maryland state tax return. The Committee will share the RFP with
the Board and begin the process of soliciting proposals by April 2021. The Audit Committee
hopes to engage its first auditor in the second quarter of 2021.


d. Executive Committee – Kirsten Allen

Allen shared that the Executive Committee met to consider fiscal and grantmaking policies for
calendar year 2021. The Committee will be making recommendations for the Board’s
consideration regarding discretionary grantmaking policies and contracting policies.


e. Hiring Committee – Dion Cartwright

Cartwright reviewed the Hiring Committee’s status to date. The Committee has met twice and will continue to do so regularly. The Committee developed a survey to identify the priority skills for the first President and sent it to current grantees, Board members, and current members of the consultant team. Members of the Committee have also interviewed search firms to potentially serve as the firm to lead the hiring process for the President. 

Grantee Spotlight: Lakeland STEAM Program– Dion Cartwright, Board Chair

Cartwright introduced the Grantee Spotlight, which provides an opportunity for the public to
learn about the work of a BCYF, Inc. grantee and hear directly from the organization.
Cartwright encouraged attendees to tune in to future meetings hear from organizations doing
important work to support children and youth in Baltimore City.

Cartwright introduced the grantee organization, Lakeland STEAM, and their representative,
Center Director Brian Francoise.

Lakeland STEAM staff provided an overview of their work and team.

Adjournment – Dion Cartwright, Board Chair

Cartwright adjourned the Board meeting at 7:36 p.m. The next Board meeting will be on Wednesday, May 19, 2021, at 6:30 p.m. via Zoom.