Building and Strengthening Neighborhoods and People

Neighborhood Institute Workshop Spotlight – Fundraise for Community Change

tysonYou’ve got great ideas for your neighborhood, but who’s going to pay for them? Learn how to effectively fundraise and turn those ideas into reality with Kathleen Elliott, Development Director at Central Scholarships and Tyson Garith, Director of GHCC’s Partnerships and Business Services.

Tell us about your background and why you chose to lead this particular workshop?

Tyson: I have worked at GHCC for over 7 years, and have served as the Director of Partnerships and Business Services for almost 3.  In my role, I help our over 55 clients manage issues like the ones this workshop will cover on a daily basis.

I’m excited by the work that is happening in our communities – residents have such great ideas about how to make the city a better place – and I think it’s great that GHCC has the capacity to support all of that energy through its Non-Profit Business Services!

Kathleen: I have been a fundraiser for 15 years and have held the Certified Fund Raising Executive credential for 7 years. My first foray in fundraising was writing a proposal for a community garden, and I then spent two years as a full-time grant seeker. I now raise $2 million a year as Development Director for Central Scholarship.

What do you hope participants will gain from attending your workshop? What actions will they be more prepared to take?

We hope that workshop participants will gain a better understanding of the options for funding their ideas at the community level, and will be informed about the avenues they can take to make those ideas a reality. Furthermore, participants will learn concrete tips for raising money from anyone as well as specific resources for finding funding from foundations and local businesses.

Why do you love most about living in Baltimore?

Tyson: I like living in a place where I can make a difference.  Baltimore is a place that needs some help – but I think it’s easier to get involved in making Baltimore better than it is in most places.  And, when you get involved, you get to meet committed, passionate people that make every day more fun.

Kathleen: Baltimore is a city of neighborhoods, each with its own character. I love the walkability of my own community and the accessibility of cultural and culinary resources throughout the city. And, I love the great network of people I’ve built since choosing Baltimore as my home 15 years ago.

Tickets to the 7th Neighborhood Institute are sold out. If you would like to be added to the waiting list please email Emma Simpson at with the subject line “Neighborhood Institute Waiting List”

Supporter Stories: Interview with Matt Wyskiel

Tell us about yourself.

I grew up in Baltimore (Roland Park neighborhood). Went to Calvert School and Gilman School and then away to Williams College. Graduated from Williams in 1991, and then went to New York City for five years and worked on Wall Street. I returned to Baltimore in 1996 to work in Mercantile Bank’s Investment & Wealth Management Division (formerly known as the Trust Department) as an Institutional Fixed Income analyst and then portfolio manager. I left in 2007 to start-up my own investment management firm, Skill Capital Management, which had its three-year anniversary in March.

I served on the GHCC’s Board of Directors for about five years and primarily helped with fundraising. In addition to being interested in helping Baltimore City neighborhoods, my wife and I like to help non-profit organizations (e.g. Children’s Scholarship Fund Baltimore, Teach for America, K.I.P.P, B.E.S.T. and Samuel Ready Scholarships, Inc.) that support children, especially with their education.

When did you first discover Greater Homewood Community Corporation? What prompted you to become a supporter of our work?

I believe that I learned about GHCC via a long-time family friend, Ann Clapp, who had been on the Board of GHCC. She put GHCC and me in touch, and after I learned more about GHCC I realized that it was an organization worth supporting.

Why do you believe that it is important for individuals to support nonprofits like GHCC?

I very much believe that individuals who are able to support non-profit organizations like GHCC should do so. The phrase “to those whom much is given, much is expected” would seem to be applicable to all or most of the families living in the GHCC neighborhoods of Roland Park, Homeland, and Guilford. And one measure of success can be how much a person helps other people. Plus helping less well off nearby neighborhoods has a positive effect on the above mentioned neighborhoods.

What do you love most about living in Greater Homewood?

I always knew that I would return to Baltimore and live here, near family and friends. I currently live about a 1/2 mile from where I grew-up, so I am solidly in GHCC’s footprint. I like being close to all that it has to offer while also enjoying the “green” neighborhood feel of Roland Park and Guilford; it’s a perfect mix of city living and country living.

A Uniform for Every Student

Submitted by Kerri Hamberg

Margaret Brent Student Receiving UniformAs a relatively new resident of Baltimore and a new volunteer at GHCC, I want to spend some time getting to know the area and the organization. Since I’m a former public school teacher and a parent, Christy—GHCC’s Development Director and the supervisor for my volunteer work—recommended I start by talking to a fellow parent who’s been working with GHCC in the local public schools.

I sat down on August 26 with Jennifer DiFrancesco, a mother of two and minister at Second Presbyterian Church on N. Charles Street. This summer, GHCC helped her and other parents at Margaret Brent Elementary/Middle School use direct appeals and social networking to raise over $9000, enough to provide each student with a brand-new uniform for the 2010-11 school year.

“Originally, we’d just hoped to raise enough for a couple hundred second-hand uniforms,” she told me. “But then GHCC stepped up and offered us help with Facebook, Twitter, and Paypal, and suddenly the donations started rolling in. We could never have raised so much money without their help. Now we have more than enough for every child to have a free, brand-new uniform for the first day of school.”

Last week, the school hosted a back-to-school event, where each student was measured for their uniform and everyone went home with a brand-new shirt. GHCC’s Karen DeCamp helped make arrangements for five AmeriCorps*VISTA volunteers to assist with the celebratory event.

“Everything went so smoothly, thanks to all of the volunteers. We sold some hot dog plates for $2.50, fitted everyone for their new uniforms, and the kids had a great time,” Jenn said. “I think we’re all looking forward to the new school year.”

Kerri has been volunteering with GHCC’s development staff to help with public relations and fundraising efforts. This is her first blog post, but we’ll be hearing more from her as she settles in! To read more about Jenn DiFrancesco’s amazing fundraising efforts for Margaret Brent students, keep an eye on your inbox for this month’s GHCC Digest (or sign up if you haven’t already) or check out her feature in Great Kids Up Close.