A nonprofit in trying times

The Baltimore Sun

Salary: $84,000

Age: 55

Time on the job: 15 months

How he got started: After moving from Detroit to Baltimore to take a teaching position, Doran found that his job had been given to a recently laid-off teacher. So instead he went to work for a nonprofit organization as its director of camping and recreation. He then worked part time for another nonprofit, the Maryland Center for Independent Living, while attending the University of Baltimore to earn his master's degree in public administration. He then took a job for three years as a community planner for the Baltimore County government.

Before coming to Baltimore Neighborhoods Inc., Doran worked at Community Assistance Network in Baltimore County for 16 years, the past eight years as its executive director.

Typical day: As executive director of BNI, a statewide nonprofit group focused on fair-housing issues, Doran said his daily tasks "involve a little bit of everything."

He oversees a staff of about 12 people who are split between two programs that focus on fair housing and on tenant and landlord relations.

His day involves checking and returning e-mails and phone calls, attending meetings and administrative work. He's often sending out thank-you letters to recent donors and working with budget issues. When the Maryland General Assembly is in session, Doran will often head to Annapolis to testify on fair-housing bills.

BNI offers a help line where tenants and landlords can call in to receive information about their rights and responsibilities. More than 10,500 calls have come in since July. Landlord calls into the help line are on the rise, making up about 40 percent of the total calls. The increase, Doran said, may be because more people got into rental properties as an investment during the hot housing market a few years ago.

Although he works normal business hours, Doran often attends events and meeting in the evenings or on weekends. These include speaking at various group meetings to explain fair-housing laws and tenant-landlord relations.

Of late, fundraising in difficult financial times has taken a front seat in running the organization. Grant writing and grant management takes a large part of his day. "The biggest concern right now is the budget," Doran said. "I think every nonprofit is wondering what's going to happen this year."

Most common call into the help line: Eviction questions.

50th anniversary: As one of the oldest fair-housing nonprofits in the country, BNI turns 50 this year with two celebrations planned. On April 3, it will co-sponsor a public forum, "The Modern Face of Discrimination," with the University of Baltimore School of Law. On May 12, a birthday party for BNI will take place at the American Visionary Art Museum.

The good: "The successful resolution of a fair-housing complaint."

The bad: "E-mail," said Doran, who prefers communicating in person.

Philosophy: "Take what comes next and deal with it."

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