Clementine Peterson: a modern-day philanthropist remembered

September 12, 2013

Clementine Peterson was born in Connecticut and raised in Iowa, but she became one of Baltimore’s great modern-day philanthropists and art patrons. During her lifetime, she supported most of the city’s major cultural institutions and many of its smaller ones. She loved music, and was particularly fond of opera. 

The Baltimore Community Foundation was founded in 1972, and in 1973 the board—all men—named a distribution committee to oversee grants. That committee included Clementine Peterson, who thus became the first woman named to a decision-making position at BCF. 

“Clemmie,” as she was known, quickly grasped the value of designated endowments at the Community Foundation, and established BCF’s first such fund in 1984 for the benefit of the Baltimore Choral Arts Society. She loved the idea of supporting an organization in perpetuity through a protected endowment that enjoyed professional investment guidance, and subsequently set up three more designated endowments during her lifetime: for the Baltimore Chamber Orchestra, the Concert Artists of Baltimore, and for the Girl Scouts. 

Through her estate, Mrs. Peterson set up two additional designated endowments, benefitting the Baltimore Opera and Peabody Conservatory, and created an unrestricted endowment of significant size. 

Clementine Peterson recognized the importance of these cultural institutions, and of BCF, to the life of our city, and her legacy is helping to ensure their long-term health. 

Clementine Peterson lived to be 102, proving that she knew a thing or two about long-term health! 

Find out how you can show your love for Baltimore.

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Building Stronger Neighborhoods Regionwide

We have a nearly 30-year history of offering grants to resident-led groups and community projects in Baltimore City and Baltimore County. These grants give residents the resources they need to accomplish a small project, get more people involved, and encourage the next generation of neighborhood leaders. We also fund programs that support the development of leaders of all ages who are working to improve their neighborhoods and schools. Our support is intended to help identify, activate, inform and network leaders. And finally, we believe when schools and neighborhoods team up to improve their school and community, meaningful and lasting change can be made. We are interested in funding proposals in which the students and adults in schools collaborate intentionally with community residents, neighborhood associations, and other individuals, groups, and institutions in the area surrounding a school.

School Leadership

We believe that attracting and retaining effective and diverse school leaders is a key lever for change in Baltimore's educational landscape, and so we fund school leadership development efforts at the district and individual school level. We are interested in funding proposals that focus on principal coaching, mentoring, peer networking, wellness/self-care, as well as pipelines that identify and develop new leaders. We will also continue to support efforts that build a culture of appreciation and encouragement for school leaders.

How Can We Help?

Melissa McC. Warlow
Director, Baker Fund Grants Program
410-332-4172 x150

Apply for a Grant

Our on-line application system provides applicants with a portal to start a new grant application or to continue updating an application already in process. Please be sure to select the “Save and Finish Later” button when you are finished working on your application in order to save your current session’s work. At any time during the application process you can select the “Contact Us” button in the top right corner of the screen and you will be able to send an email to the Baltimore Community Foundation staff with specific questions. 

To be considered for funding, proposals must be submitted through the online application portal, however, we provide a PDF version of the application along with other useful forms here for your reference:   

When you are ready please select one of the following options:


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Select this option if you have never used our website to apply for a grant from BCF.


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Select this option if you have applied for any of BCF’s grants using our website. Your profile may still be in our system and you may login using your account.

Place-based Grantmaking in Selected School Communities

We have allocated funds for two geographical areas that bookend a crucial corridor on the Westside of Baltimore City: Howard Park /Forest Park area (served by Calvin Rodwell Elementary Middle School and Liberty Elementary), and Reservoir Hill/Penn North area (served by Dorothy I Height Elementary). In these three schools and their surrounding neighborhoods, we will support projects and activities designed to make the communities safe, clean, green and vibrant; and improve the quality of the schools. Some projects may be neighborhood-focused, some school-focused and others collaborative projects between the schools and their respective communities.

Early Learning & Judy Centers

High quality early childhood education has a lifelong effect on students. Through our Early Learning grant program, we are interested in system-wide early childhood education proposals that will help Baltimore City and County's youngest learners, and their families, get the start they need. Nonprofit organizations that offer programs and/or services to Judy Centers are encouraged to contact the centers directly to explore partnership opportunities.

How Can We Help?

John A. Gilpin


Director of Planned Gifts
410-332-4171 ext. 132

How Can We Help?

Kate Sam

Communications Officer
410-332-4171 ext. 181

How Can We Help?

Cathy Brill

Executive Director
Leonard and Helen R. Stulman Charitable Foundation