Complementing our grantmaking and impact investing, we also engage in advocacy for public policies to create a better future for the people of our region. Through advocacy, we can accomplish more than through grants alone.
At BCF, we define “advocacy” broadly, including not only lobbying for or against specific legislation or budget measures, but also building productive relationships with elected and appointed officials, convening stakeholders around a common purpose, leveraging our grants to secure public and private investments and informing and mobilizing our donors and other friends on issues of importance.
We advocate on issues that are aligned with our priorities in education and neighborhoods, and where BCF’s voice can make a difference.
Since the 2016 creation by the Maryland General Assembly of the Commission on Innovation & Excellence in Education (the “Kirwan Commission”), BCF has engaged in an ongoing effort to use race equity as a framework for advocating for adequate funding and innovation for Maryland public schools.
Our advocacy for the Kirwan Commission recommendations was informed by research BCF commissioned from The Education Trust to examine disparities in educational achievement between Maryland’s students of color and white students. These disparities are a reflection of how we organize our schools and shortchange certain students when it comes to critical educational opportunities from early childhood through high school. Find the data here in the full Ed Trust Report.
Throughout 2019, BCF CEO Shanaysha Sauls worked with other corporate and civic leaders to rally support for the Commission’s recommendations. Grants to Strong Schools Maryland and BUILD helped mobilize grassroots support across the state and city. When the 2020 General Assembly session began, BCF submitted testimony in support of the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future—the legislation introduced to enact the Commission’s recommendations—and deployed our communication channels, from our website to social media to email alerts, in support of the legislation’s passage.
The Blueprint for Maryland’s Future became law in February 2021. BCF hosted a donor update with our grantee Strong Schools Maryland to discuss what the Blueprint means for the future of education in Maryland, and what lies ahead as we turn to implementation.