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ABAG's Public Policy Role
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Understanding ABAG’s Public Policy Role

ABAG works to connect members to policymakers and to be a voice on local, state, and federal public policy issues that promote effective philanthropy and build stronger communities. For current information on policy priorities and activities, policymakers and grantmakers should contact, Jonalyn Denlinger, Member Engagement Director.

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As a membership organization of private and community foundations, donor advised funds, and corporate giving programs, the mission of the Association of Baltimore Area Grantmakers (ABAG) is to maximize the impact of philanthropic giving on community life through a growing network of diverse, informed and effective grantmakers.

ABAG recognizes that philanthropy is affected by public policies that relate directly to charitable giving and the nonprofit sector, as well as those that relate to specific social issues addressed by grantmaking. ABAG desires that government appreciate philanthropy and provide an environment for giving to thrive. In turn, philanthropy may wish to leverage its giving and expertise by working with government to maximize our collective impact. As a service to our members, therefore, ABAG will work to connect members to policymakers and be a voice on local, state, and federal public policy issues that promote effective philanthropy and build stronger communities.

ABAG members have a variety of grantmaking interests and differ in type from large, staffed foundations to corporate giving programs and to smaller, family-run funds. The organization appreciates that members are independent entities who may act on their own or hold a variety of opinions regarding policy issues. Members may be impacted differently from each other by specific laws and regulations. Members have elected the Board of Directors to represent their interests and the Board has established specific guidelines to ensure that all members’ points of view are safeguarded. ABAG’s Public Policy Protocols are available to members by request. The guidelines detail possible activities to be undertaken by ABAG staff and members, including the procedure for making a public statement on legislation.


ABAG may choose to advance policies that promote charitable giving and volunteerism, preserve the independence of private foundations, or prevent excessive regulation of the philanthropic and nonprofit sector that would impede the ability to carry out charitable activities. To promote effective philanthropy, the organization may make public statements about legislation, join coalitions, and meet with elected officials among other activities.


ABAG recognizes that systemic community change requires partnership with government and other leaders, leveraging resources and public authority, to understand complex problems and scale promising solutions. In service of building stronger communities, the organization will provide opportunities for members to convene with policymakers, inform members about regulations governing advocacy and lobbying for foundations and other tax-exempt organizations, and support member affinity groups and projects addressing specific community needs.


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