Associated Black Charities losing longtime director

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Donna Jones Stanley is stepping down after nearly 15 years as executive director of the Associated Black Charities.

Stanley, who will become president and chief executive officer of the Greater Cincinnati Urban League this fall, is credited with transforming a small organization into an agency that administers millions of dollars in grants each year to address Baltimore's social ills.

"It's an organization that's now widely recognized as an entity in Baltimore that people have to deal with," said Michael Cryor, a communications consultant and former ABC board chairman.

When Stanley became director in 1989, ABC had four employees and a $700,000 budget. This year, ABC had 40 full- and part-time employees and a $20 million budget.

In an interview, Stanley said ABC's growth and reputation are her greatest achievements. "We've been instrumental in almost every major initiative in the city in the past 15 years," she said.

Stanley, whose departure was announced last week, is scheduled to begin her new job Nov. 1. A successor has not been named.

In her new position, Stanley will direct a staff of nearly 40 and administer at least 15 programs in Cincinnati and nearby communities in Ohio, eastern Kentucky and southeastern Indiana.

Osborne Payne, the former ABC board chairman who hired Stanley, said running ABC has never been easy.

The job requires working with foundations to secure funds, finding volunteers to serve on boards and committees, convincing city officials that projects are worth support and hiring adequate staff to keep track of grants and projects.

"She's carried it far beyond what we ever thought it would do," Payne said. "She's been a whiz at finding money, and programs to go with it, and I'm very, very saddened to see her go."

The Rev. Marion Bascom, a founding member of ABC, credited Stanley with finding a variety of sources for funds. "She's made a significant and almost unbelievably imposing contribution to our community," he said.

ABC, with offices in the 1100 block of Cathedral St., is credited with helping to address a number of social needs, ranging from school mentoring programs to banning billboards advertising liquor.

The organization administers $20 million in federal grants to combat AIDS, and for the past five years has distributed up to $350,000 a year in cigarette restitution funds to Hispanic, Asian and African-American communities.

ABC also funded or helped secure funds to mentor students at St. Frances Academy, a parochial school in the inner city; pay for a vehicle to bring X-rays, CAT scans and similar services to poor black women; and give a startup grant for Umoja Kids Inc., a greeting card company established to teach city youth entrepreneurial skills.

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