New kid on the block Youth Foundation: Move from Michigan increases Baltimore's profile around the world.


IN THEIR EFFORTS to strengthen the city's profile, Baltimore boosters have been aggressively trying to lure headquarters of non-profit organizations here. The International Youth Foundation has now announced it will move next summer from Battle Creek, Mich., to downtown Baltimore, joining the billion-dollar Annie E. Casey Foundation and the worldwide Catholic Relief Services that already are headquartered here.

IYF's relocation comes at an interesting juncture in the five-year-old group's history. Started by activist Rick Little and initially bankrolled by the Kellogg Foundation, IYF has up to this point focused overseas, where it supports programs run by local foundations in Ecuador, Germany, Ireland, the Philippines, Poland, Slovakia, South Africa and Thailand.

But once IYF comes to Baltimore, it will also launch its first U.S. program activities. They will be headed by Karen Pittman, former director of the President's Crime Prevention Council under Vice President Al Gore.

Because the International Youth Foundation does not sit on hundreds of millions in assets, it is an activist organization involved in unceasing fund raising. Its board includes influential people from around the world.

Instead of setting up new charitable programs, IYF identifies and supports successful existing projects run by local foundations. In some cases -- Poland is an example -- it was instrumental in

creating a new local foundation because none existed that dealt exclusively with the needs of children and youth.

For years, the Johns Hopkins Institute for Policy Studies has been on the forefront in facilitating the global expansion of philanthropy by offering internship programs, seminars, workshops and training programs. We hope that IYF's move to Baltimore will create a productive new synergy between these institutions that are working toward similar goals.

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