Q&A with Laura Gamble & Tom Buzzuto

BCF’s Board of Trustees elected new officers at the first quarter meeting of 2020. We thank Laura Gamble for her fourteen years of service on the BCF board, including the last four as board chair, and we welcome Tom Bozzuto as our new board chair. We caught up with both of them to talk about the role of the Community Foundation  in Baltimore.

Regional President Greater Maryland at PNC Bank

Laura Gamble

What initially inspired you to serve on the board of trustees?

My introduction to BCF came through an invitation to serve on the Community Development Committee, which was the forerunner of the Neighborhoods Committee. I really enjoyed the rigorous discussion and debate that the committee members had about Baltimore and the region’s redevelopment efforts. So, when [former board chair] Bob Kent and [former CEO] Tom Wilcox asked me to be on the board, I said yes.

Are there areas in which you think BCF has been particularly impactful during your time on the board?

I think there are a lot of areas where we have been impactful, but I would say that our efforts in early childhood education—advocating for universal Pre-K and our work with the Judy Centers—really stand out in my mind. Now, everyone sees early childhood education as a true game changer for children, but I don’t think you could say that ten years ago. I think BCF was instrumental in galvanizing the support and the dollars to make that happen.

You led BCF through its first executive transition in 17 years. How have you seen the organization change?

I think for most of its life, BCF operated at a distance from the community, convening partners and making grants. After Freddie Gray’s death, we saw the need to be working alongside and within communities, not as a distant partner. Our work with the three selected school communities is a great opportunity to get closer to and partner with people who we didn’t know before, and they certainly didn’t know us.



tom bozzuto
Chairman & Co-Founder, The Bozzuto Group

Tom Bozzuto

What inspired you to serve on the BCF board of trustees?

I joined and am proud to serve on the BCF board because I think the Community Foundation is uniquely positioned to encourage Baltimoreans to focus their extraordinary generosity on the various needs of the city and the region, from basic human needs to arts and culture. BCF helps guide and encourage philanthropy locally, bringing expertise you can’t find anywhere else to support donors’ charitable goals in Baltimore. And donors want to see Baltimore get stronger: for all its warts—or because of them—people love this city.

What do you see as the top issues and opportunities facing Baltimore today?

Baltimore has always been challenged, but there was a time when you had a sense of direction and purpose, shared by elected leadership and a number of businesses anchoring the city, with a real commitment to the community. We’ve seen a breakdown of that civic culture in recent years, but I think the way the community is coming together in response to the COVID-19 pandemic demonstrates how essential it is, and that we have the ability to work together to rebuild that civic culture and shared purpose. If we can do so, it will help us not only in the present emergency situation, but in the long term to live up to the legacy of Baltimore’s rich cultural history.

What role do you hope to see the community foundation play in the region going forward?  

BCF is pretty universally respected as an entity that exists to try to improve the quality of life for all Baltimoreans. To the degree that we can do that as well as can be done, we will have accomplished something. There is a role for BCF in channeling funds to organizations that are doing important things in the community, for helping cultivate those organizations, and helping improve neighborhoods and supporting schools.

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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:


I have not applied for BCF funding online in the past.
Select this option if you have never used our website to apply for a grant from BCF.


I previously applied for BCF funding online in the past.
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