The B'MORE Fund Makes First Awards; Three Baltimoreans Honored
The B'MORE Fund at the Baltimore Community Foundation has announced
the first recipients of the BíMORE Fund Award.
The three awardees-Tisha Edwards, principal of The Baltimore Freedom
Academy; Joseph T. Jones, Jr., Executive Director of CFWD, Strive;
and Sean Smeeton, executive director of Sylvan Beach Foundation-were
honored for their commitment to the city at the first-ever B'MORE
Fund Awards Gala on Thursday, October 23 at the Rotunda Theater.
The award recipients were secretly nominated and selected by B'MORE
Fund members. Each received $5,000 with no restrictions on how the
award monies may be used.
The B'MORE Fund is a "giving circle" created by individuals who wish
to recognize the work of social entrepreneurs in the region. This
group is also working together to become better informed about
grantmaking, philanthropy, and the issues affecting the community.
Giving circles are a new trend in philanthropy where people pool
their resources- typically time, talent and/or money-and make
decisions as a group on how to use the resources to impact a specific
cause or interest area.
The 35-member B'MORE Fund was formed in 2002 when a group of young
professionals came together to think of a way they could make a
difference in Baltimore. The fund requires $500 per year from each
member for at least a two-year commitment.
Chuck Morton, co-chair of the B'MORE Fund, said in a statement to the
press: "We look for people making a real difference in the
city-people who are not afraid to try something new to improve
peopleís lives. By making awards to these kinds of people, we aim not
only to celebrate and recognize their achievements, but also to
inspire other Baltimoreans to make a difference too. I know that I
and others in the B'MORE Fund have already been inspired by them."
"My hope is that they catch the bug and become life-long donors,
volunteers, and activists," said Jan Rivitz, executive director of
the Aaron and Lillie Straus Foundation, and partner in establishing
the B'MORE Fund.
About the Honorees
Tisha Edwards, Principal of the Baltimore Freedom Academy
The Freedom Academy is one of the city's new innovation high schools,
focusing on civic engagement and service. Ms. Edwards, an attorney
with a passion for involving youth in their communities, seeks to
help students become critical thinkers with an understanding of
social and economic dynamics, in the expectation that they will
become effective civic leaders.
Joseph Jones, CEO of the Center for Fathers, Families and
Mr. Jones works to empower low-income families by increasing the
ability of men to be responsible fathers and wage earners. Mr. Jones
himself struggled with addiction and engaged in crime; having turned
his own life around, he is now devoting his time to changing the
lives of men with similar struggles.
Sean Smeeton, Executive Director of the Sylvan Beach
Sylvan Beach takes an entrepreneurial approach to workforce
development for disadvantaged young adult males. Mr. Smeeton's
organization gives them a place to live, education, and a business
experience, while at the same time fostering the development of a
community. The Foundation has created two businesses-the Sylvan Beach
Café and Sylvan Beach Homemade Ice Cream, both of which are operated
and managed by young men enrolled in the program, and by program
Visit the B'MORE Fund website for further information:
Copyright © 2003 The Baltimore Chronicle and The Sentinel.
All rights reserved. We invite your comments, criticisms and suggestions.
Republication or redistribution of Baltimore Chronicle and Sentinel content is expressly prohibited without their prior written consent.
This story was published on November 14, 2003.