Relationships Make the Difference

Frank Lidinsky first met Bertha and Cooper Hoddinott in 2016 after their neighbors at Oakcrest Senior Living referred him for estate planning assistance. “They really hadn’t done any planning up until then,” says Frank. “He had worked for BGE and the State of Maryland and she was a former legal secretary. They enjoyed life and had a lovely home in Phoenix, Maryland, but they didn’t live extravagantly, they saved and invested wisely and did not have children. By that point in life, they had built up a significant estate.”

Bertha and Cooper, who originally grew up in West Baltimore and in Ashburton in Northwest Baltimore, respectively, knew they needed financial liquidity for assisted living and medical expenses in the present; however, the couple also wanted to establish a plan for their assets upon their death. Because Bertha suffered from cardiovascular disease and Cooper from lung cancer, they were passionate about supporting care for fellow patients and research into cures. “I believe they were grateful to the doctors and nurses who were taking care of them,” says Frank, “and they wanted to contribute after their death, so others could receive the kind of care they were getting.”

Their wishes took on new urgency in 2016, when Cooper passed away. By this point, the couple had become very close to Frank, who visited Bertha at Oakcrest every week and occasionally brought his wife and grandchildren along. Bertha trusted Frank to create a plan to fulfill their wishes and, says Frank, “due to the size of their estate and what they hoped to accomplish, I knew we needed the Baltimore Community Foundation.”

Frank was very familiar with BCF and the resources it could provide from serving on a committee for the Richard A. Lidinsky, Sr. Fund, which was established by the City of Baltimore to reward outstanding city employees. The fund is named for Frank’s father, a dedicated public servant who worked in a variety of capacities under eight Baltimore City mayors. “We grew up in a household where community service was strongly encouraged,” says Frank. “That’s why I went into the legal profession—I saw it as an avenue to help people.” In addition to his service on the committee, Frank is a member of BCF’s Professional Advisor Recognition Society, a prestigious group of financial and legal advisors who have encouraged and advanced philanthropy in the Baltimore region.

Frank occasionally brought his wife, Mary Carol, and their grandchildren, Jude and Helena along on weekly visits with Bertha Hoddinott.

In consultation with BCF’s then-director of gift planning, Frank gathered a paralegal colleague, an oncology doctor, and a nurse recruiter to discuss the benefits of various fund and grantmaking structures, as well as potential uses for the funds. The group established preliminary guidelines and goals, which Bertha then approved for inclusion in her estate plan.

When she passed away in 2021, the group reconvened, now with the knowledge that $2.5 million remained from the estate and would be established as an endowed fund with $125,000 available for grantmaking every year. “It’s nice to know it will have a permanent existence thanks to BCF,” says Frank. “I know Mr. and Mrs. Hoddinott would be very pleased.”

The group will meet to further refine the grantmaking guidelines this fall, taking into consideration such factors as the geographic location of individuals and institutions and the purposes, ranging from research stipends to intensive care programs to scholarships for doctors and nurses who want to specialize in oncology. The group hopes to emerge from that meeting with clear direction and will then codify the decisions with BCF to ensure the fund lives on in perpetuity according to the Hoddinotts’ wishes.

“Most of my clients don’t have the resources to establish private foundations, but it’s a relief to know that when something like this comes along, I know where to go,” says Frank. “The resources are there at BCF to help me help my clients, and I’m out there knowing that I can add to BCF’s mission.”    ν

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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