Goldseker Foundation reaches $100 million in grants made over its 42-year history

The Goldseker Foundation has reached a milestone in its Baltimore community development efforts, announcing that it has distributed more than $100 million to 600 local groups and projects since it was founded in 1975.

The Mid-Town Belvedere-based foundation — which started with $11 million from the real estate fortune of Morris Goldseker, a Baltimore real estate broker and landlord who died in 1973 — helped launch the Waverly farmers market in the 1980s with $3,500; granted the female empowerment group Baltimore Women’s Giving Circle $10,000 this year; and contributed $1 million over the last decade to the Central Baltimore Partnership, which helped spur the development of the Station North Arts and Entertainment District.

Ellen Janes, who runs the partnership, said the foundation has provided the cash needed to knit together a variety of projects and endeavors, money she called “lifeblood funding.”

Unlike some foundations, she said, Goldseker is willing to provide money for operational costs. The foundation gave the partnership $150,000 in March to continue to build a community development strategy for Central Baltimore with neighborhood leaders, anchor institutions, businesses, nonprofits and governments.

“It is absolutely golden money, because it is so hard to raise,” Janes said. “Many are interested only in launching new initiatives. Goldseker has made a sustained commitment. They hang in there with you. They’re not looking for immediate results because they recognize that these things take time.”

Goldseker also worked with Charles Village neighborhood leaders to extend security patrols to North Avenue to improve safety for people walking in the area, Janes said.

Over four decades, the Goldseker endowment has grown to $100 million, putting the nonprofit among the top-10 Baltimore-area foundations, according to Matthew D. Gallagher, its president and CEO. The foundation contributes at least 5 percent of its assets each year.

Morris Goldseker, a Polish immigrant, left money for the foundation to “give aid and encouragement to worthy individuals to continue their education, establish themselves in business, overcome such adversities as accident or illness, or to maintain or support themselves or their families.” It became one of Baltimore’s first professionally staffed philanthropic organizations, said Sheldon Goldseker, the board chairman and a nephew of Morris Goldseker.

“The Goldseker Foundation is very proud to have supported so many strong and effective partnerships in the Baltimore community,” Gallagher said in a statement. “This is an important milestone in the Goldseker Foundation’s history and serves as a testament to our intention to be a perpetual asset for Baltimore.”

Among its contributions has been providing $12 million for scholarships at the Johns Hopkins and Morgan State universities and $4 million for more than 30 elementary and secondary public schools, according to Goldseker.

It also gave startup funds for the Baltimore Community Foundation, which it continues to help with the most recent grant of $40,000 in June. The foundation also was an early supporter of Associated Black Charities and Healthy Neighborhoods and helped create the Association of Baltimore Area Grantmakers, which helps a network of more than 135 nonprofits, corporations and donor funds find approaches to address common problems and and interests.

Celeste Amato, president of the grantmakers association, said a hallmark of Goldseker’s work has been helping build philanthropic collaborations to amplify the impact of donations.

“Goldseker has been a driver of the notion that philanthropies don’t operate in silos,” she said. “All of the issues that affect our city intersect.”

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