Olszewski applauds passage of bill to enable community support fund

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TOWSON, MD—Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski on Tuesday applauded the passage of his proposed bill allowing County officials to partner with a nonprofit organization to establish a community support fund, and to solicit donations to the fund to support County projects.

With a community support fund managed by a not-for-profit fiscal sponsor, the County will be able to leverage corporate and philanthropic investments to provide more services to residents without adding costs to the County’s general fund.

“By building stronger relationships with our philanthropic community, Baltimore County can do even more to build vibrant communities and provide high quality services to its residents,” Olszewski said. “We look forward to working with our philanthropic and business partners to strengthen our neighborhoods and support our residents.”

In Fall 2020, the County Council passed a resolution calling for the creation of a fund to support Recreation and Parks projects. With the passage of this legislation, the County will be able to support those initiatives, in addition to other priorities across Baltimore County.

“When the Council passed its Resolution last year, we asked the Administration to look into how we could better leverage corporate philanthropy and charities to assist funding the facilities and programs that benefit County citizens, especially Recreation and Parks initiatives,” said Baltimore County Councilman Todd Crandell. “The Community Support legislation passed last night is a meaningful step in that direction.”

In 2019, Olszewski’s transition team recommended growing stronger relationships with the philanthropic community and leveraging private and philanthropic investments to meet Baltimore County’s needs. However, County law barred officials from soliciting monetary gifts, restricting the County’s ability to leverage support from philanthropic organizations.

Under this legislation, the County Executive and other designees may solicit monetary gifts to support the fund. The County Administrative Officer must publish on the County website an annual report of donations received no later than 30 days after the end of the fiscal year.

The community support fund would be modeled after the Baltimore County COVID-19 Relief Fund, which was managed by the Baltimore Community Foundation and used to purchase food, personal protective equipment, and other resources to support the County’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Monetary gifts are subject to the gift review procedure and must be used for the benefit of a County program or other governmental purpose, function, or activity, or be for the benefit of a charitable organization based in the County or that provides services to County residents. Officials may not solicit or facilitate the solicitation of a gift from a lobbyist.

The legislation will take effect on May 2, 2021.

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