The BWGC Adapts to COVID-19

Monday, March 23, 2020

The BWGC has been keeping an eye on the ever-changing situation with the covid-19 virus.  We recognize how much we as a Circle - of more than 450 woman - enjoy getting together to do our grant-making, education, and many other activities. Nonetheless, 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 information:

To our Circle:

We care about you, our families and friends, our grantees, and our community so we are applying an approach of common sense and "social distancing" towards our Circle activities.  In light of concerns raised by this virus, the Circle's Steering Committee met by phone on March 12 and made the following decisions regarding Circle activities scheduled for March and April:

1) The March 25 Full Circle Meeting will be postponed. If you invited a guest to the meeting, please be sure to let them know the meeting will not occur. We hope to reschedule it as the first Full Circle Meeting to be held in Septemberhttps://www.osibaltimore.org/2020/03/covid-19-information-and-resources/ .

2) The April 21 Grants Presentation Meeting will be cancelled.  Information about the recommended grant proposals and the voting process will be circulate to all Circle members by email early next month. Voting will still occur electronically via Survey Monkey. (This means that April 20 "Practice Your Pitch" is also cancelled.)

3) There are several Circle events scheduled in April and early Mary that are being postponed and rescheduled.  This includes the upcoming April 22 Prospective Member Event; April 23 Circle Reads; April 25 Circle Works event; and May 5 Grantee Connect event. More information to come as it develops.

A decision about the May 13 Full Circle Meeting will be made by early April and we will be in touch.

4) All Circle committees with meetings scheduled for the coming months are strongly encouraged to meet via telephone using the Circle conference call number or use other virtual meeting tools such as Zoom, Skype, Facetime, etc. 

On March 13, 2020, the Circle co-chairs participated on a conference call this morning led by the Maryland Philanthropy Network, that included the Baltimore Community Foundation, companies, organizations, and other foundations to determine if, and how, we all could play an important and helpful role in our community in response to the repercussions of the virus on our community.  As the ways we can help become clearer, they will share that information. 

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

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