TGR: Diane Bell-McKoy, President and CEO of Associated Black Charities, to be honored with Black Wall Street Award

Diane Bell-McKoy, President and CEO of Associated Black Charities of Maryland, was honored with the Black Wall Street Award in East Baltimore on April 15.

By Doni Glover, www.bmorenews.com

(BALTIMORE – Monday, April 14, 2014) – It is with great humility and gratefulness that I announce Diane Bell-McKoy’s attendance to Black Wall Street EAST BALTIMORE. For me, this is full circle.

You see, I served under this lady before running my own shop, and so, it is always a beautiful thing to remember those who knew you when.

“Know your value,” she has said on countless occasions. “Follow your heart!”

Today, several years later, I still appreciate those directives. Back at the Empowerment Zone, this queen of a black woman ran a $100 million federally-funded HUD initiative called Empower Baltimore Management Corporation. Baltimore was one of a handful of cities that got this designation in the beginning. And, I believe our Empowerment Zone continues to serve as a national model on community organization.

In that time, I saw and reported on countless success stories of people moving from one level to the next.

And so, tomorrow night in East Baltimore, we are blessed to see the woman who has helped so many people in this city, including me. She has always, always, always helped empower young leaders. He mentees are all over the world, truth be told. And, by the way, she has done some wonderful work already in Africa.

Diane Bell-McKoy is the President and CEO of Associated Black Charities (ABC), Maryland’s leading African-American philanthropic organization, where she leads a team of “change agents” focused on closing the health and wealth gaps in the State of Maryland through strategic partnerships and investments for the development of healthier and wealthier communities. Their signature economic strategy is entitled More in the Middle focusing on a wealthier region by strengthening the assets of people of color specifically African Americans, low income, the working poor and the fragile middle class. Given the impact of health disparities in relationship to income security, this is also a core part of their mission. To achieve this vision, ABC seeks to leverage relationships, advocate, educate, inform public policy, organize and financially invest in research based strategies. Ms. Bell-McKoy came to Associated Black Charities after completing an 18 month term as a Senior Fellow at the Annie E Casey Foundation.

Prior to her service at Casey, Ms. Bell-McKoy was the President and now, Chair of Empower Baltimore Management Corporation (EBMC); the non-profit organization that managed the Empowerment Zone in Baltimore City. Since the Empowerment Zone designation in 1994, more than 15,000 residents were placed in jobs and more than 12,000 jobs came to the Zone through new business development and/or business expansions. Long after the Zone designation, as a result of investments, the Baltimore Empowerment Zone was able to yield a $16 million dollar return on their various loans.

Ms. Bell-McKoy has also held positions in the non profit sector of Baltimore City, where she created one of the first family development programs in the field of substance abuse; in DC Government as Deputy, Child Welfare Division, where she headed a major redesign of their child welfare system; in the D.C Mayor’s Office working in a four person research team in partnership with the Rockefeller Foundation on one of the country’s first data driven anti poverty initiatives; in Baltimore City Government under the leadership of Mayor Kurt Schmoke, Director, Mayor’s Office of Children and Youth, creating the City’s first–now annual–child care conference; Chair, Community Building in Partnership Sandtown/Winchester (Jim Rouse/Kurt Schmoke/BUILD initiative); Senior staff, East Baltimore Revitalization strategy; Chair of Human Services Sub-Cabinet, which she created; and Deputy, Chief of Staff.

Ms. Bell-McKoy is currently a Board member for Humanim, Board member for Downtown Partnership; Board member for the East Baltimore Development, Inc. (biotech park in association with Hopkins University); Board member, Regional Transportation strategy; and serves as the Chair, Empower Baltimore Management Corporation. She is also a Trustee, Baltimore Community Foundation; and a Board member, Association of Baltimore Area Grantmakers recently elected as Secretary for the Board. In her role as President/CEO for ABC, she is a Board member. She has served as a School Board Commissioner, Baltimore City; President, Job Opportunities Task Force; and Board member, GEDCO.

She lectures across the country on successful strategies to engage communities as partners in neighborhood/economic development, business development especially for small and minority businesses, workforce development for low income/low skill workers and building community capacity to produce specific outcomes.

Ms. Bell-McKoy attended the University of Maryland, College Park and Baltimore County, an Honors University and received a Bachelor of Arts in Social Work. She received a Masters Degree in Social Work from the School of Social Work and Community Planning at the University of Maryland. She has received Leadership/Management certifications from a number of organizations including Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.

Diane has received numerous awards among them being named the Daily Record’s Top 100 Women on three occasions, placing her in their “Circle of Excellence.” She has also been named one the Daily Record’s Most Influential Marylanders in two categories – Philanthropy in 2010 and just recently in 2014 for civic leadership. Other awards include the American Minority Contractors’ Business Association’s Award of Excellence; UMBC Alumni Association’s 2003 Distinguished Alumna of the Year; 2007 Woman of Excellence by the African American Business Forum; honored by the Greater Baltimore Chapter of Patuxent Women’s Coalition for her contributions towards improving life for families and children in the City of Baltimore; and, recognition of her outstanding leadership and commitment by the Maryland Legislative Black Caucus.

She is married to Richard McKoy, stepmother of three and grandmother of five, ranging in ages from 9 years old to 26 years old.