Foundation employees get rare chance to fund local programs

Last week, almost three dozen employees from the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation – one of the largest private charitable foundations in the United States – got the rare opportunity to present $20,000 checks to local organizations doing work in areas from housing and health to education and community-related services.

The 12th annual Employee Giving Program started in the foundation’s Hawaii offices more than twenty years ago, and it allows for each employee of the foundation, from the receptionist to the Chief Investment Officer, the opportunity to make a $20K grant recommendation to an area nonprofit. Each employee also gets to handle each step of the grant-awarding process, including the selection of the grantee, visiting the site, collecting and reviewing their financials and preparing the final grant recommendation for board approval.

Local community activist and the foundation’s Controller, Kyle McNair, decided to award his $20,000 check to the Royal Theater and Community Heritage Corporation, in order to support their mentoring program and historic focus garden – both of which serve young people by providing a safe, relaxing environment to hear jazz performers and learn about local entertainers and activists.

McNair, who previously served as the fiscal administrator for the Mayor’s Office on Criminal Justice, as well as the Chief Financial Officer for the city’s State’s Attorney’s Office under the Gregg Bernstein administration, is a low-key but amazing community advocate within the realm of financial empowerment.

The foundation employees were able to hand each nonprofit their check at last week’s lunch hosted by the Center Club in downtown Baltimore. A total of $660,000 was awarded in a single day, the most ever awarded by the group’s employee giving program which has given more than $3 million to local nonprofits since the inception of the professional development and mission-focused initiative twelve years ago.

“This is always a very special day for the Foundation,” said Rachel Garbow Monroe, Weinberg Foundation President and CEO. “The grants our employees make never fail to reveal deep, personal stories of challenges and triumphs. Monroe added, “The fact that our Employee Giving distribution continues to grow with each event and giving new employees the opportunity to share in this process, only makes the day more meaningful.”

Here are this year’s grantees:

  1. A Revolutionary Summer Suzann Wilson, Executive Assistant  Baltimore     

to support an intensive critical reading and writing program with the goal of shifting harmful narratives about black women and girls, through both the study and creation of art and the deliberate application of self-inquiry

  1. Adelante Latina Angie Winston, Custodian/Maintenance Assistant Baltimore                

to support the general operations of this organization that seeks to help students improve school performance through a variety of services, including tutoring, cultural experiences, summer internships, and assistance with college admission


  1. Adoptions Together Quiona Turner, Program Assistant  Baltimore                                 

to support this organization’s Domestic Infant Adoption and AdoptionWorks programs, which work to find permanent families for infants with significant medical challenges and prevent the “aging out” of older youth from foster care

  1. Arundel House of Hope Yvonne Sporrer, Events and Special Project Manager Anne Arundel County                                                                         

to support the general operations of this organization that serves the homeless through urgent assistance, including shelter, food, and clothing, as well as transitional and permanent housing and workforce development

5. Asylee Women Enterprise Darius Graham, Program Director, Baltimore                    

to support the general operations of this organization, which provides comprehensive services related to housing, health, and economic stability for women and families who are seeking asylum

6. The Baltimore Station Jonathan Hook, Chief Investment Officer  Baltimore               

to support the general operations of this organization that provides housing and other services to homeless veterans and those who struggle with substance abuse disorders, as well as behavioral and mental health challenges

7. Beyond The Natural Foundation Jennifer Finch, Executive Assistant Baltimore    

to support the general operations of this organization, which seeks to expose young people to music industry careers through out-of-school time education and performance that also emphasizes exposure to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math)

  1. CASA de Maryland Marci Hunn, Program Director, Jobs Baltimore                      

to support the general operations of this organization’s new Regional Education and Training Center, which will provide essential programs and services to immigrant and refugee communities

  1. Christ Child Society of Baltimore Caleb Bowers, Program Assistant Baltimore         

to support the expansion of this organization’s “Book Buddies” program, which serves second-grade students at three elementary schools

10. CityWide Youth Development Frank Jarrell, Accounting Manager  Baltimore           

to support this organization’s EMAGE (Entrepreneurs Making and Growing Enterprise) program, which prepares and empowers young adults ages 14-24 for career opportunities

  1. Coldstream Homestead Montebello Community Corporation (CHMCC) Earl Millett, Program Officer, Health Baltimore                                         

to support this organization’s neighborhood redevelopment, cleaning, and jobs program, which works in partnership with the City’s Department of Public Works to create a year-round partnership to clean the Tivoly area in preparation for development while providing job training

  1. Dent Education Jonathan Hornstein, Program Associate, Israel and Jewish Community, US Baltimore                            

to support the general operations of this organization, which provides out-of-school time programs for high school youth focused on design thinking and entrepreneurship

  1. Drink at the Well Erin McManus, Grants Assistant Baltimore                                       

to support the general operations of this organization, which offers life-development and mentorship programs for women who have experienced trauma, trafficking, generational poverty, addiction, crime, and abuse and helps them find a way to discover their identity, purpose, and value

  1. Enterprise Homes Craig Mellendick, Chief Financial Officer  Baltimore                      

to support the general operations of this organization, which provides resident services for more than 100 properties and 12,000 units of housing for vulnerable individuals and families

  1. Family and Children’s Services Arlene Cox, Chief of Staff Carroll County

to support the general operations of this organization’s Family Support Center that provides an array of services, including integrated mental health, intensive case management, and housing                                                                                                                                                                  

  1. Fund for Educational Excellence Rachel Duden, Program Officer, Education Baltimore

to support the Heart of the Schools Fund, a program that allows principals to apply for funds for special projects at their City Schools

  1. Greater Baltimore Urban League Leisel Harry, Program Associate, Education Baltimore

to support the Saturday Leadership program, which works to develop community leaders with positive cultural identities by providing students with the skills and experiences necessary for college and career

  1. Holistic Life Foundation Megan Franey, Communications Specialist Baltimore

to support the Bridging Academics and the Mind (BAM) program and Holistic Me after-school program, both of which combine yoga, mindfulness meditation, and self-care practices to help students in elementary schools with conflict resolution, concentration, anger management, and stress reduction

  1. Homeless Persons Representation Project Kate Sorestad, Program Director, Priority Communities Baltimore

to support the Veterans Legal Assistance Project (VLAP), which works to eliminate barriers to employment, housing, and other supports for veterans who are homeless or at risk for homelessness

  1. Improving Education Nakia Horton, Manager of Administration Baltimore

to support the Bedtime in a Box program, which provides parents with the materials and training needed to foster bedtime routine and healthy habits with the goal of preparing children for school

  1. Itineris Foundation Brian Clark, Investment Manager Baltimore

to support a comprehensive program, which provides life-building and goal-reaching services for people impacted by Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

  1. Jewish Teen Advancement Program Miriam Retter, Senior Financial Analyst Baltimore

to support an out-of-school time program for Jewish young women, primarily from Haredi backgrounds, struggling with a range of issues, including self-esteem/anxiety, eating disorders, addiction, self-harm, and others 

  1. Job Opportunities Task Force Jack Meeker, Facilities & IT Manager Baltimore

to support Project JumpStart, a construction-training program for residents with a high school diploma or GED

  1. Kennedy Krieger High School Jen Banks, Graphic/Web Design Coordinator Throughout Maryland

to support a work-based learning program serving students, grades 9-12, with a wide range of disabilities

  1. LifeStyles Aaron Merki, Managing Director, Programs and Grants Southern Maryland

to support the general operations of this organization, which provides a range of emergency and transitional housing services for homeless individuals and families in rural communities

  1. MissionFit Amy Kleine, Senior Program Director Baltimore

to support the general operations of this organization, which provides free fitness programs for youth ages 11-24

  1. National Kidney Foundation of Maryland Chrissy Laumann, Grants Manager Throughout Maryland

to support the general operations of this organization, which conducts programs in research, professional education, patient and community services, public education, and organ donation

  1. Parkinson Foundation of the National Capital Area Geoff Abrahams, Investment Analyst Throughout Maryland

to support the general operations of this organization, which provides programs and services to improve the quality of life for those facing Parkinson’s disease and their caregivers

  1. Project Pneuma Rafi Rone, Program Director, Israel and Jewish Community, US Baltimore

to support the general operations of this organization, an out-of-school time program, which works to teach young men the art of forgiveness, self-control, and discipline

  1. The Royal Theater and Community Heritage Corporation Kyle McNair, Controller Baltimore

to support this organization’s mentoring program and Historic Focus Garden, both of which serve young people by providing a safe, relaxing environment to hear jazz performers and learn about local entertainers and activists

  1. Scripps Howard Foundation of Cincinnati Craig Demchak, Dir. of Communications Baltimore

to support the 2019 “If You Give a Child a Book” campaign that places books exclusively in Baltimore City Public Schools libraries, including libraries at schools that are part of the Baltimore Elementary and Middle School Library Project

  1. ShareBaby David Gilmore, Managing Director of Investments Baltimore

to support the general operations of this organization, which distributes diapers, clothing, and other essential items for children, birth to age five, to community organizations

  1. Sunflower Bakery Kallie Wasserman, Executive Assistant, Investments Gaithersburg

to support the general operations of this organization, which provides job training and employment in pastry arts and other bakery services for young adults with learning differences

For more information, please visit www.hjweinbergfoundation.org.

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