Changing The Future: A Message From Diane Bell-McKoy

 

Associated Black Charities is moving its’ office, and to us, it is so much more than a physical move.

1114 Cathedral Street, now our former “home”, was a building once owned by ABC as a result of a sharp and savvy ABC Board member, who was also one of its founders. It represented a legacy of moving ABC upward and onward to its next level of greatness.

And for many years, it was indeed home and witness to so many of ABC’s “firsts”. 

It also served to buttress ABC in difficult financial times by using the value of the property to secure a short term line of credit and when needed, to refinance debt so that we could continue our service to Baltimore communities.

It sustained us during a time of one of our greatest challenges: eleven years ago, shortly after I arrived at ABC, when I had to offer the Board a choice – honor the legacy related to property ownership versus the legacy related to the values, principles, and goals of ABC’s founders. These values, principles, and goals were about greater access for African Americans, better outcomes for families, and a better community for all of the region as the numbers of economically contributing African Americans grew.

This was a hard choice for an organization that began as an anchor for the African American community but that found itself -- after years of revenue decline – over $2 million dollars in debt, including a building in need of major repairs. 

We chose to remain committed to the vision of ABC’s founders; we chose to honor the legacy of expanding opportunities for African American people before holding on to the legacy of the property. It took several years to find a buyer and begin to restore ABC to a healthier fiscal position.

We have now come to another crossroad, five years after selling and leasing back. It is not a good fiscal choice to stay given the pricing shift in the Mount Vernon community, we have once again decided to put ABC’s legacy of expanding opportunities for African American people beyond the legacy of holding on to place. We have decided to move.

As we prepared to move, I found myself weepy and could not find the cause but then I realized I was mourning. It feels sad to leave a building that represents legacy for African Americans. However, We, all of us at ABC are looking forward. For we are at  another crossroad for ABC; we have launched a focused agenda as a foundation. Deciding to actively engage donors, launch an endowment campaign, identify new revenue sources, and create a new fiscal agent entity, we are doubling down on a collaborative agenda to “Change the Future”.

Changing the Future means an investment in an economy in Baltimore and throughout Maryland where structural and institutional racism is dismantled and provides equitable opportunities for all people - to work, advance and build financial security and generational wealth to benefit their families and communities.

ABC  works across Maryland as educator, advocate and supporter in eliminating race-based structural barriers and advance long-term solutions that create new opportunities for African Americans to thrive financially and build a stronger economy for all.

So the fundamental values and principles of ABC stand stronger than ever. We believe we choose wisely in selecting a location more economically feasible. We believe we choose wisely in all that we are about to embark upon. We believe our choice honors our founders. Nevertheless, I grieve our departure and the ancestral spirits who gather at 1114 Cathedral Street. At the same time, we are looking forward to the next chapter for ABC and we hope you will join us. 

 

Sincerely,

 

Diane Bell McKoy

President & CEO

Maryland Congressional Delegation Holds Lively Discussion on Racial Equity and Pathways to Closing the Racial Wealth Gap  

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

June 14, 2018

CONTACT:

Sue Walitsky/Tim Zink (Cardin) 202-224-4524

Annaliese Davis (Hoyer) 202-225-4131


Maryland Congressional Delegation Holds Lively Discussion on Racial Equity and Pathways to Closing the Racial Wealth Gap

 

WASHINGTON The Maryland congressional delegation, led by Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and Congressman Steny Hoyer (D-Md.-05), today gathered for a roundtable discussion with experts from the Maryland Center on Economic Policy and Associated Black Charities to discuss potential federal policies that could help close the growing racial wealth gap in Maryland and nationwide. Lawmakers heard case studies of successful local and state partnerships, along with essential questions that can increase the likelihood of developing racially equitable policies. Public policy, historically, has played a role in both creating and dismantling structural and institutional barriers that disproportionately impact marginalized groups, including racial groups.

 

“Congress can do more to mitigate the widening of race-based income inequality by ensuring that quality education, housing and health care are available to all Americans regardless of race,” said Senator Cardin. “I thank my colleagues, as well as the Associated Black Charities and Maryland Center on Economic Policy, for taking time to share some of the proven ways to increase income and wealth for Marylanders, especially the minority community that has historically been locked out of so many of these foundational economic opportunities. Team Maryland recognizes that this is not a new phenomenon but the wealth gap has been growing and we must do all we can to knock down the institutional barriers that have helped perpetuate this divergence.”

 

“Increasing economic opportunities for all Marylanders is my top priority. We must continue to work together – at the federal, state, and local level – to make lasting changes to reduce inequality. The Maryland Center on Economic Policy and the Associated Black Charities are doing vital work to address this issue, and I appreciated the opportunity to join them in this discussion today,” said Senator Van Hollen.

 

“I appreciated the opportunity to join with my colleagues from Maryland in a wide-ranging discussion on ways we can work to close the racial wealth gap in our state,” said Congressman Hoyer. “Congress must be doing all that it can to ensure every American has access to economic opportunity, regardless of race or socioeconomic status. I will continue to work with my colleagues in the Delegation to break down barriers to opportunity for all Marylanders.”

 

“Not only do minority families earn less, studies show it’s often harder for them to get bank loans, rent homes and buy health insurance,” said Congressman Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Md.-02). “Public policy undoubtedly has a role in creating these barriers to the American Dream for certain groups, and public policy can play a role in fixing it. All lawmakers are called to honor a commitment to fairness and equality.”

 

“Too often, minority communities in Maryland and around the country are locked out of good-paying jobs, high-quality education, affordable health care and the chance to fully participate in our democracy,” said Congressman John Sarbanes (D-Md.-03). “We must eliminate these barriers – wherever they exist – and improve outcomes and opportunities for every community in America. It was encouraging to meet with leaders in Maryland today to discuss these important issues and highlight key policies and reforms that can help create a more just and equitable nation.”

 

“We must do more across the nation to reverse the racial wealth gap, and Maryland should be at the forefront of that effort. As policymakers, we should ensure we’re putting in place the systems necessary to promote economic equality and broaden opportunity for all of our communities,” said Congressman John Delaney (D-Md.-06). “I’m grateful to the Maryland Center on Economic Policy and Associated Black Charities for today’s discussion and leading on this critical issue.”

 

“From segregation in federal housing and the armed forces to race discrimination in farm policy and federal employment, the U.S. government was a key and deliberate actor in promoting apartheid in America over the course of our history,” said Congressman Jamie Raskin (D-Md.-08). “We have made dramatic progress in our country only at times — like the Civil War, Reconstruction and the Great Society — when Congress and the federal government champion racial justice and economic opportunity and inclusion for all. We need a resurgence of federal action to make America its best self.”

 

“Far too many people of color are still not participating in our state’s growth or benefiting from our nation’s success, and this racial injustice impacts us all,” said Congressman Elijah E. Cummings (D-Md.-07). “We must address the effects of historically unjust public policy and implement inclusive strategies that will empower disenfranchised communities and narrow the wealth gap.”

 

“The Maryland congressional delegation once again proves how far ahead they are in their thinking and desire to maintain Maryland as a competitive state by exploring the use of tools that provide a racial equity framework,” said Diane Bell-McKoy, President and CEO of Associated Black Charities. “We know with the increasing and projected demographic growth of Brown and Black people in Maryland and across the country, it will be important that our policies support their economic advancement which in turn benefits all of Maryland’s citizens.”  

 

“Our economy will be stronger if everybody has a chance to succeed. We have a long history in this country of public policies that have created barriers to success for certain groups,” said Benjamin Orr, Executive Director, Maryland Center on Economic Policy. “Analyzing the policies we have today and policies proposed in the future using an equity lens is the only way we can ensure we’re removing those barriers and working towards a future with broadly shared prosperity.”

                    

 

###