Board Meeting Minutes November 18, 2020

Date: November 18, 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 November 18, 2020 via video conference.


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


Board Members Absent: Catherine Benton-Jones and Earl El-Amin


The meeting of the Transition Board of Directors was called to order by the Chair, Dion Cartwright, at
6:37 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. (BCYF, Inc.). She 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 reiterated BCYF, Inc.’s core values of racial equity, community ownership,
intergenerational leadership, and collective decision making. She highlighted that the organization’s
commitment to racial equity comes in response to the failure of public, private and philanthropic
sectors to adequately invest in Baltimore’s people and communities of color, causing sharp disparities. As such, BCYF, Inc.’s commitment includes funding and providing hands-on support to nurture Black-led community organizations and supporting high-quality programming for children and youth of color.

Cartwright then shared the meeting’s focus: BCYF, Inc.’s grantmaking and operational work to
support the creation of a strong institution that lives its values. Cartwright outlined the following items of the meeting agenda: a review of the September 16 meeting’s minutes, a status report of the
organization’s work and development, a financial report, a discussion and vote on changing the
organization’s fiscal year, and updates from the standing Board committees. She also introduced BCYF, Inc.’s first grantee spotlight, which will become a permanent part of every Board meeting. This meeting spotlighted the organization Beadly Speaking. She also introduced BCYF, Inc.’s first grantee spotlight, which will become a permanent part of every Board meeting. This meeting spotlighted the organization Beadly Speaking.

Meeting Minutes from September 16th Board Meeting – Dion Cartwright, Board Chair

Cartwright reported that the Board had received the draft of the meeting minutes from the September

16th Board meeting. She asked if there were any amendments or comments, and there were none.
Seth Davies moved for approval of the minutes. Caldwell seconded the motion. The September 16th
BCYF, Inc. Board meeting minutes were unanimously approved.

Transition Status Update – Kera Ritter, Transition Manager

Ritter gave an overview of the work that has been done in the past two months and the
transition/institution building and technical assistance/grantmaking work that will continue over the
next year as BCYF, Inc. develops its permanent organizational structure.

Ritter shared that there has been complete disbursement of over $5 million in grant funds; all current grantees have received their final disbursements. Ritter then highlighted the following events:

BCYF, Inc. held the Grantee Sustainability Conference on November 18, 2020, and received positive
feedback from grantees. The conference focused on the “cliff effect” that occurs when grant funding
ends for any organization. Ritter stated that this conference is representative of the type of public
technical assistance that will happen moving forward.

The BCYF, Inc. Grantee Showcase was held on October 22 and 23 and featured grantees describing
their mission, vision, and programming. This is the first grantee showcase, which Ritter stated will also become a regular part of BCYF, Inc.’s work. Ritter told attendees they may visit the BCYF, Inc.
Facebook page to see the recording of the Grantee Showcase.

Treasurer’s Report – John Morris, Board Treasurer

Morris reported on BCYF, Inc.’s financial management status and stated that BCYF, Inc. is committed to transparency and public accountability in the use of public dollars. He shared 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.

Morris then introduced Chuck Adkins, Chief Financial Officer for the Fund for Educational
Excellence, one of BCYF, Inc.’s partners, to give an overview presentation of BCYF, Inc.’s Finances. 

Adkins reviewed BCYF, Inc.’s balance sheet and profit and loss statement highlighting the first
disbursement of City Youth Funds to support grantmaking and technical assistance, community
engagement, and administration of BCYF, Inc.

Morris then reported on BCYF, Inc.’s grant disbursements to date. BCYF, Inc. is supporting 78
organizations with more than $9.2 million in continuation grant funding in 2020. Many of the grantees received an initial disbursement from the interim fiscal agent prior to July 1.

BCYF, Inc. started its role as the permanent fiscal agent on July 1 and has since completed the final
disbursements to all grantees totaling $5,052,853 in continuation grants since July 1, 2020. These funds are direct grants to organizations. In addition, BCYF, Inc. provides technical assistance and tailored financial technical assistance to each grantee.

Morris concluded that BCYF, Inc. has completed the disbursement process and stated that the current grant cycle ends April 30, 2021.

Vote to Change Fiscal Year – John Morris, Board Treasurer

Morris stated that as a part of the review of BCYF, Inc.’s fiscal policies, he recommends to the Board
that BCYF, Inc. changes its fiscal year from a calendar year to July 1 to June 30 to match the City’s
fiscal year. This change would be effective beginning in 2021 with the filing of our 990 to change the
fiscal year.

In discussion of the recommendation, Cartwright asked about the pros and cons of this shift. Morris
indicated that the shift would align BCYF, Inc.’s fiscal year with the City’s fiscal year, which would
make accounting easier going forward.

Seth Davies moved for approval of the change to the BCYF, Inc. fiscal year to July 1 to June 30. Baez
seconded the motion. The motion was unanimously approved.

Committee Reports – Dion Cartwright, Board Chair; Committee Members

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


a. Community Engagement & Communications Committee – Jacqueline Caldwell

Caldwell shared the Community Engagement & Communications Committee’s charge: Elevation, Community Building, and Innovation. Caldwell described the Committee’s charge as follows:

  • Elevation – BCYF, Inc. is committed to elevating local leaders who are working with Baltimore youth. In the coming months, the Committee will be more proactively creating platforms for our community to give youth access to the programs available to them.
  • Community Building – Partnering with local leaders and organizations to create networks and opportunities for Baltimore practitioners. BCYF, Inc. wants to support our community’s ability to provide for young people – beyond grants. The Committee will help to create an ecosystem of opportunities that create a more sustainable infrastructure for youth development.
  • Communication – BCYF, Inc. is actively seeking opportunities to give the community more access to the work BCYF, Inc. is doing with local leaders, along with grants. Caldwell encouraged attendees to look out for upcoming opportunities via social media and the BCYF, Inc. email list.

Caldwell then updated the group on the Committee’s work. The Committee was engaged in the

planning and evaluation of the first BCYF, Inc. Grantee Showcase. Caldwell stated the Committee will continue showcasing grantees as a regular part of their community engagement work.
The Committee is also working with the Community Engagement & Communications Team to
develop and revise its plan for 2021. In addition, the Committee is providing feedback on how to share BCYF, Inc.’s mission and activities, and how BCYF, Inc. will listen and gain input from communities about how it should move forward.


b. Race Equity & Inclusion Committee – Julia Baez


Baez first shared Race Equity and Inclusion Committee’s charge: to annually review the policies and
practices of the Corporation for alignment with the Corporation’s values detailed in the Preamble of
the Bylaws and produce a report for distribution to the Board and general public. 


The Committee is also is tasked with ensuring that BCYF, Inc. has a youth-centered culture and makes
recommendations for how to achieve this through the Board structure, creation of youth
councils/advisories, and onboarding for youth and adult Board members. 


Baez then provided an update on the Committee’s work. The Committee is focused on assessing the
organization’s alignment with race equity in its internal operations and engagement in the community
through an Annual Equity Assessment. The Committee will be developing a request for proposals in
2021 to carry out the Annual Equity Assessment. 


Baez highlighted that youth engagement and creating a youth-centered culture are parts of the
committee’s work, which includes the development of a Youth Council to support youth Board development. The Committee will be working with the Community Engagement & Communications Team to create meaningful youth participation and voice in all of BCYF, Inc.’s operations.


c. Audit Committee – Erika Seth Davies 


Seth Davies shared the Audit Committee’s charge: to annually retain or renew the retention of an
independent auditor to conduct the audit and, upon completion thereof, shall review the results of the audit and any related management letter with the independent auditor review and review any matters requiring an audit or independent review of internal practices of the Corporation, including any conflicts of interest. 


Seth Davis stated that the Audit Committee is currently in the process of creating a request for
proposals (RFP) for an independent auditor to perform BCYF, Inc.’s first audit and subsequent annual audits and state and federal tax filings. This work will continue through the end of 2020 with the selection of an independent auditor at the beginning of 2021.


d. Executive Committee – Kirsten Allen 


Allen shared the Executive Committee charge: to make recommendations to the Board for its

consideration, and this committee is to evaluate the Executive Director, once this position is hired.

The Executive Committee also has the ability to make decisions when the Board is not in session.


Allen stated that the Executive Committee is now beginning the process of creating a hiring committee to develop the process for hiring BCYF, Inc.’s first Executive Director or Chief Executive Officer. This process will continue through the beginning of 2021 with the goal of hiring an Executive Director in the first half of 2021. 

Grantee Spotlight: Beadly Speaking – Dion Cartwright, Board Chair

Cartwright introduced BCYF, Inc.’s first 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 noted that BCYF, Inc. will have a Grantee Spotlight as a permanent part of every Board
meeting and 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, Beadly Speaking, and its representative, Dyon
Davidson, founder and Program Manager.

Dyon provided an overview of the vision, mission, origin of Beadly Speaking, and Beadly Speaking’s
activities to promote girls’ and young women’s self-esteem and self-empowerment.

Adjournment – Dion Cartwright, Board Chair

Cartwright adjourned the Board meeting at 7:16 p.m. The next Board meeting will be on Wednesday, January 20, 2021, at 6:30 p.m. via Zoom.