An Open Letter to Funders in Our Region

In an open letter to funders, Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker speaks out directly to the grantmaking community. This continues WRAG’s commitment to work with elected officials across the region toward a Region United.

By Rushern L. Baker, III
County Executive of Prince George’s County, MD

Since taking office on December 6, my administration has been exploring new opportunities to engage the philanthropic, business and nonprofit communities. Why? Because we cannot create the quality of life that the citizens and residents of Prince George’s County deserve without you.

It has been a pleasure for my staff and me to meet with various funders and service providers over the last few months. These meetings have provided a wonderful exchange of information, suggestions and ideas that have helped us as we begin to reshape these relationships and processes. We’ve made some critical proposals that will improve the grant process and monitoring of the nonprofits that provide great service.

  • The FY 2012 Proposed Budget eliminates the prior practice of earmarks for selected organizations, and instead provides for a more competitive process that will award grants based upon a set of criteria, including the value added to the identified community, overall program costs, organizational stability, and adequacy of other funding sources. In addition, the County will be ensuring that the funds we invest in organizations will be focused on achieving quantifiable results. Furthermore, organizations will be subject to reporting requirements, including itemization of how County funds were spent, the actual results accomplished relative to estimated results, and the ability of the organization to leverage County funds to obtain additional sources of funds.
  • The FY 2012 Proposed Budget contains no earmarks for specific organizations from on-going revenues. Thus, it provides for $4.0 million in competitive grants – an increase of $1.6 million or 68% over FY 2011 in competitive grants.

Additionally, we are exploring the possibility of an office that will be dedicated to addressing the needs of nonprofit and faith-based organizations that will streamline processes that can impose expenses on them. We are also working on ways to improve our grant research, writing and tracking efforts among agencies in coordination with the Office of Management and Budget.

We believe that these efforts show our commitment to creating an environment that is accountable to and responsible for our partners as we improve the quality of life in Prince George’s County. By implementing these practices, you will know that your resources are not being wasted. Everyone – from the employee who writes the grant to the person who receives the service – will be able to celebrate not only the investment of funds and talent but also the outcome.