Fifty-two enthusiastic representatives from 44 grantee organizations gathered at Bolton Street Synagogue with the Grantee Connect committee and other members of the Circle on November 14th to consider “Inspiring Innovations in 2017: Successful Strategies for Growth.” This event permitted grantees to meet each other, hear the strategies of the speakers and exchange ideas. Attendees were greeted by Grantee Connect co-chairs Lissa Abrams and Susan Brenner and Circle Co-Chairs Vivian Manekin and Jodi Dunn. Barbara Strouse and Joy Mandel assisted with registration.
Liz Briscoe, Executive Director of Action in Maturity (AIM), a 2016 grantee, led the speakers’ presentations. AIM, a senior center without walls providing transportation and social services to aging adults to enable them to live independently in their community as long as possible, experienced rapid growth of staff, budget and responsibilities after the unrest following the death of Freddie Grey in 2015. In particular, AIM saw an increase in demand from seniors in the community for transportation services. Ms. Briscoe pointed to a willingness on the part of AIM to step in and step up, collaborate with other service providers and adopt an external, future focus as factors that led AIM to expand its transportation fleet from 1 van to 17.
Violet Apple, CEO of Girl Scouts of Central Maryland, spoke next and urged grantee representatives to look at trends outside of their organizations and attend conferences out of their comfort zones to expand their thinking and become open to different funding sources. As a leader in Girl Scouts of Central Maryland, a 2007 grantee, Ms. Apple noted her responsibility to identify and participate in new challenges. She cited the Girl Scouts’ leadership for its role in helping scouts and their parents learn more about careers in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math.
Andrew Rosenberg of Baltimore Child Abuse Center followed Ms. Apple and acknowledged the value of strategic partners in growing an organization. Mr. Rosenberg noted the importance of making a case for why an organization is indispensable and for nurturing relationships with programmatic partners. Urging attendees to gather a round table of partners to anticipate problems and challenges helps an organization be part of solutions.
After speaker remarks concluded, grantees participated in round table discussions of the morning’s speakers’ suggestions, current challenges, and strategies for growth.