The BWGC Adapts to COVID-19

Monday, March 23, 2020

From the BWGC Co-chairs - The BWGC has been keeping an eye on the ever-changing situation with the COVID-19 virus.  We recognize as a Circle - of more than 450 woman - enjoy getting together for grant-making, education, and other activities. However, for the coming months it appears things will work differently because of this virus, and we will continue to adapt and communicate as needed.  We also want you to be aware of the communication we had with our Circle Grantees. To that end, we have included the text of their letter following the Circle message.

To our Circle:

We hope this message finds you and your loved ones healthy and managing well during this uncertain time. You have been in our thoughts. We miss seeing so many of you at our gatherings. Typically, this is the time of year we are excited about our upcoming May Full Circle Meeting when new grantees, officers, and Circle co-chairs are announced. But with COVID-19, we must adapt, and we have.  We write to let you know what the Circle has planned for May. 

What is happening in May -  as the saying goes: necessity is the mother if invention. Instead of greeting you in person at the May Full Circle Meeting, we will do so via a short video. We are currently recording our remarks using I-phone cameras, which will then be merged into a video for you all to see. During the week of May 18, an email to the entire Circle membership will list the 2020-21 Grantees and include a link to the video that introduce our new leadership.  

Sharing good news -  We hope you had a moment to read April 24th's letter to the editor in the The Baltimore Sun written by fellow Circle member Carol Rice. It begins, "Like just about everyone, I am tired of sheltering in place, wearing a mask, avoiding physical contact. But in the middle of all the suffering that COVID-19 is causing, I find myself filled with joy..." 

Helping our Grantees -  Every Friday along with 50-60 funders and government officials, we join a call hosted by the Maryland Philanthropy Network. The purpose of the call is to coordinate resources and responses in support of Baltimore area residents and the nonprofit community. On April 24, we sent a letter to our current and past grantees with helpful resources. For our members, this letter maybe found in Our Circle Library. You may share these resources, if you would like, with any organization that you are supporting in the Baltimore area. 

For updated information on COVID-19, The Maryland Department of Health is a useful resource. https://health.maryland.gov/pages/index.aspx

We wish you continued good health. We miss seeing you!

Dawna and Susannah

BWGC Co-Chairs

To Our Grantees:

In light of the ever-changing COVID-19 virus situation, we write to express the Circle's concern for you and your clients during this very stressful time. On March 18, our co-chairs participated on a conference call with 60 area funders and local government representatives about efforts being undertaken to support our grantees and the larger community. The Maryland Philanthropy Network has collected resources on its website including sources of additional funding. https://www.marylandphilanthropy.org/news/covid-19-outbreak The Open Society Institute also has collected a helpful list of resources, which can be found here. https://www.osibaltimore.org/2020/03/covid-19-information-and-resources/ These resources are updated on a regular basis.

The Circle will complete its grant-making process this Spring. We expect to award about $500,000 in grants in May. We look forward to announcing the news.

The May 5th CIrcle Grantee Connect Event will be postponed. We hope to hold it in the Fall.  We will be sure to send you information as our plans are finalized.

In the meantime, we encourage your organization to avail itself of the resources listed above and to let us know if you believe there anything our Circle can do to help. We hope that you and your staff remain healthy and safe.

Warm Regards

Dawna Cobb and Susannah Bergmann