How To Join Donate My Circle

Members Engage with Local Non-Profits

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Part of the Circle’s mission has always been to educate our members and to help connect them to local non-profit organizations in ways other than financial. Whether it’s joining the board of a local non-profit or volunteering time to mentor or tutor, the exposure the Circle provides to a vast number of community organizations has proven to be an important pipeline to service for many of our members. Read the stories of our members connecting with grantees, below.

“Through the Circle’s grant-making and educational programming, you get exposed to a broader world,” says Christie Coe, a former Co-Chair of the Circle. Christie, along with fellow Circle members Ann West and Nanny Warren, sits on the board of Baltimore Outreach Services, which was first awarded a Circle grant in 2005 for its culinary training program and has since received funding every year they were eligible. Christie also serves on the board of the Advocates for Children and Youth (ACY), another organization she learned about through the Circle, although one that did not receive our funding. It was at an ACY luncheon, just after the unrest in the wake of Freddie Grey’s death, that she became inspired to start a food pantry for residents of the poverty-stricken West Side.

When Laurie Kelly first joined the Circle, she was a member of both the Grants and Education committees. It was at an Education Committee meeting several years ago that she first heard Sarah Hemminger (who at the time was also a member of the Circle) speak about her organization, THREAD. Laurie was so inspired by Hemminger and what her organization was doing to help struggling, at-risk high school students in Baltimore City that she immediately made a donation and also offered to volunteer. With her background in communications, she began by helping out with the organization’s annual report and newsletters, and then she was asked to work with recent graduates on speeches, resume writing, and interviewing skills. Laurie now is a volunteer “Grandparent” to four THREAD “Families” and is working directly with several THREAD graduates. Laurie says that being personally involved with this organization has opened her eyes to what true poverty is all about and what people can do to rise above it.

Susan Fleishman also volunteers her time with THREAD. She was introduced to the organization when she was reviewing grant recipients as a member of the Circle’s Post-Grants committee. At the time, Susan was not familiar with THREAD, but like Laurie once she met Hemminger and saw what the organization was accomplishing, she immediately decided she had to be part of it. Susan, whose background is in marketing and communications, volunteers her time to assist the THREAD administrative staff on special programs, and also is a member of its Communications and Community Engagement Committees.

Dawna Cobb has two organizations she became involved with thanks to the Circle. While evaluating the Goucher Prison Program as a member of the Post-Grant Committee, she was so moved and impressed by what the nonprofit was doing to help educate incarcerated women that she became a board member. She served on the board for several years and recruited fellow Circle member Ann Donahue to join the board.

Like several other Circle members, Dawna is a mentor with Sister’s Circle, an organization that was the recipient of one of our 2-year pilot grants. She learned about the girls-only mentoring program from fellow Circle member Peggy Shapiro who had been volunteering as a mentor with Sister’s Circle for many years.

Undoubtedly, there are many other Circle members who also have been inspired to volunteer their time, energy, and expertise to organizations they have been exposed to through the Circle. We would love to hear about your involvement. Please contact us at and tell us where you are involved.