Baltimore CASH, Maryland CASH combining to form single nonprofit

Two Baltimore-area financial literacy groups are merging in an effort to double down on outreach to families in need of money management support.

The Baltimore CASH Campaign and its sister organization, Maryland CASH Campaign, will operate as a single nonprofit called the CASH Campaign of Maryland, the groups announced Monday. By combining resources, the groups will be able to serve more families in need of their signature free tax preparation services and more effectively expand their other financial literacy and consumer advocacy initiatives, they said.

“It creates this backbone and strength,” said Sara Johnson, the former head of Baltimore CASH Campaign and chief operating officer of the combined group. “We know the demand outweighs our current capacity and our hope is that by bringing our work together under one umbrella, we’re able to do more.”

Founded in 2001, Baltimore CASH Campaign offers a range of financial planning and literacy programs for low-to-moderate-income families. Its annual free tax preparation service is among its most popular.

During the 2017 tax season, the organization was able to prepare taxes for about half of the 18,000 people who called for tax prep help.

Baltimore CASH’s sister organization, Maryland CASH Campaign, was founded in 2007.

The two organizations previously operated as programs of the Job Opportunities Task Force, a Baltimore workforce development nonprofit.

The combined group will operate as an independent nonprofit organization. Robin McKinney, who formerly led Maryland CASH Campaign, will take on the role of CEO.

On Monday, Bank of America named the newly formed group a Neighborhood Builder and awarded it a $200,000 grant.

“Bank of America is committed to increasing economic mobility for individuals and families and to improving financial lives across our community,” said Sabina Kelly, Bank of America market president for the greater Maryland region, in a statement. “We are pleased to partner with The CASH Campaign of Maryland and to recognize its outstanding work.”

The money will help the newly combined organization expand its reach. The Neighborhood Builder designation comes with business development and leadership training for CASH Campaign leaders.

“It couldn’t have come at a more perfect time,” McKinney said. “What the Bank of America funding will allow us to do is continue to strengthen our base of free tax prep financial coaching.”

The combined nonprofit has about 15 full-time employees with plans to continue hiring and will remain based on Redwood Street in downtown Baltimore.

sarah.gantz@baltsun.com

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