Transition Board

BCYF has established an eight-member Transition Board. Over time, the board will be expanded and will include youth members.
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Kirsten Allen


Kirsten Allen, an East Baltimore resident, is the founder of Meraki Community Uplift, which focuses on East Baltimore. She was a first-year project advisor to BCYF on community engagement and design and is consultant who supports organizations and change agents who are passionate about equity in communities of color. She has a commitment to creating and implementing innovative and holistic solutions to problems in under-resourced communities. She has a commitment to grassroots community development initiatives as a local neighborhood advocate and community leader. Ms. Allen has experience with comprehensive community development initiatives and workforce and economic inclusion strategy as an Impact Investment Associate with Port Covington Impact Investments, LLC.

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Julia Baez


Julia Baez is a Baltimore resident and the Executive Director of Baltimore’s Promise. She was a first-year strategic partner for BCYF, responsible for providing in-kind data analysis capacity to the grantmaking effort. She was also a first-year BCYF project advisor in Technical Assistance and Grantmaking Strategy. She brings a focus on collective impact, cross-systems alignment and ways of connecting systems and community partners. Mrs. Baez’s prior experience includes working for local intermediaries, children and youth-serving programming, citywide strategy, institutional management, and organizational development.

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Catherine Benton-Jones

Board Member

Catherine Benton-Jones served as a first-year grant review team member and community advocate for BCYF. She is the President of Change4Real, a resident-led development effort in Oldtown, and President of Chick Webb Recreation Center. She has a long career working for the City of Baltimore, including 20 years in the City Hall Law Department and 15 years at the Housing Authority of Baltimore City in Resident Services as the Manager of Resident Staffing Program. Ms. Benton-Jones managed the support group It’s Your Turn for five years, and she is founder and pastor of New Creations Ministries, Inc. Ms. Benton-Jones is an advocate for those in low-income areas and continues this work advising the Douglass Homes Tenant Council and the Village of Love and Resistance (VOLAR). She holds a Bachelor’s degree from North Carolina College of Theology.

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Jacqueline Caldwell

Board Member

Jacqueline Caldwell is a Community Leader in Greater Mondawmin, serving as the past president of the Greater Mondawmin Coordinating Council. She has a commitment to and experience with grassroots community development initiatives as a local neighborhood advocate and community leader.

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Dion Cartwright


Dion Cartwright is the director of Equitable Initiatives and Leadership Development with The Funders Network for Smart Growth and Livable Communities, where she manages a national fellowship focused on leadership development in advancing racial equity in philanthropy. She was the first volunteer with BCYF, providing capacity building and technical assistance, including applicant support and advisement. She has served as a program officer with the Baltimore Community Foundation, leading the foundation’s Neighborhood Grants Program and strategic priorities for neighborhoods. She has 20 years of experience in the philanthropic sector focused mainly on neighborhoods and community development.

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Erika Seth Davies


Erika Seth Davies is the founder of Racial Equity Asset Lab. She was a first-year advisor to BCYF in grantmaking and institution building. She is a thoughtful, strategic leader with a proven track record for fundraising, program design and delivery, partnership management and creative problem-solving. She has deep experience and leadership in nonprofit and philanthropic institutions and dedication to advancing Diversity, Inclusion and Equity through policy and practice. She is skilled in Nonprofit Management to include Fundraising, Budget Oversight, Event Planning, Program Design and Evaluation, Strategic Planning, and Volunteer Management. With more than 10 years of experience in nonprofit development, she is an engaged community leader and professional with a B.A. in English Language and Literature/Letters from Georgetown University. She was previously the Chief of Staff with the Baltimore Community Foundation, Vice President of External Affairs (Development, Membership & Communications) for the Association of Black Foundation Executives and worked with Credo Capital Management.

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Earl El-Amin

Board Member

Imam Earl El-Amin served as a BCYF first-year community advisor and advocate. Imam Al-Amin is a graduate of Morgan State University and Sojourner Douglass College. For well over 30 years, he has served in various capacities of leadership in the Muslim community as well as the community at large. He has conducted numerous workshops, forums and trainings throughout the United States and abroad to educators, theologians, social workers, and human service practitioners. Imam El-Amin is the Resident Imam at the Muslim Community Cultural Center of Baltimore and serves as Vice President of Program Development at the National Centers on Institution and Alternatives, a human services organization comprised of more than 600 employees.

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John Morris


John Morris is the former Dean of the School of Urban Planning & Community Economic Development at Sojourner Douglass College. He is an attorney with a long track record of community development work. He is co-founder of Change4Real, a resident-led development effort in Oldtown. He was a founding and long-serving Director on the Board for Associated Black Charities.

About the Board

The BCYF Transition board serves through December 2021, per the ordinance passed by the Baltimore City Council in July 2020. The Transition Board will determine the permanent governance framework for the organization.

Joining the BCYF Board

On October 4, 2021, the Transition Board announced an open call for applications to the permanent Board of Directors.  



Applications to the board are currently under consideration and will be apart of an open and public process that allows for Baltimore residents to join the permanent board.

Board Meetings

The Transition Board will meet at 6:30 p.m. on the third Wednesday of every other month in 2021.

The meeting agenda will be posted the week of the board meeting.

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Note: A portion or all of each meeting may be held in a closed session in accordance with the Annotated Code of Maryland State Government Article 10-508 et seq.


Public Information Act Requests: For information requests, contact Dorcas R. Gilmore via email at or 410-870-5082 or at Baltimore Children & Youth Fund, Inc., 10 E. North Ave., Baltimore, MD 21201.