By Adam Andrzejewski
A sampling of organizations that do business with the City of Baltimore has revealed that at least $21 million in grants, contracts, loans and property agreements were awarded to nonprofits that are not in current compliance with Maryland charitable solicitation laws.
Baltimore’s budget for fiscal year 2021 was $3.8 billion, and while OpenTheBooks.com is awaiting a complete and accurate checkbook of vendor payments for the year, a new Board of Estimates database shows that many non-profits that were awarded contracts, grants and loans in 2021 and some in 2022 are not in compliance with the Maryland Solicitation Act because they haven’t filed the proper paperwork with the Maryland Secretary of State.
The act requires charitable organizations that solicit in Maryland to file documents with the Secretary of State, including registering as a charity before beginning to solicit donations.
Our organization took a sample of 50 of the non-profits listed in the Board of Estimates database that’s run by the city comptroller’s office. The organizations were approved either for a city grant, contract, loan or property agreement, and we found that 15 of them are not currently in compliance with the Maryland Solicitation Act.
The funds awarded by the Board of Estimates total at least $21 million for these 15 organizations since 2021.
The 15 organizations are:
- Baltimore Community Mediation Center/Community Mediation Program
- Community Law in Action Inc.
- Dayspring Programs Inc.
- Enterprise Community Partners Inc.
- Family Health Centers of Baltimore Inc.
- Family Recovery Program Inc.
- Health Care for the Homeless
- Hearing and Speech Agency of Metropolitan Baltimore Inc.
- Learning Is For Tomorrow
- New Vision House of Hope Inc.
- People’s Homesteading Group Inc.
- Reservoir Hill Improvement Council Inc.
- Sisters Together and Reaching Inc.
- Total Health Care Inc.
- Youth Empowered Society Inc.
The organizations were either: not in compliance with the Maryland Solicitation Act because the organization has not submitted the information to maintain its registration (11 organizations), or has applied to register under the Maryland Solicitation Act but has not submitted all of the required information to be registered and in full compliance with the Act and can’t solicit charitable donations (two organizations) or is deemed closed, as the organization has ceased all charitable solicitations in Maryland or it has failed to file the required documentation (two organizations).
The organizations provide services like housing for homeless, rental assistance, HIV treatment and prevention, day care and Head Start programs, addiction treatment, food banks, violence reduction programs, including the Safe Streets program, among other things.
Since our organization looked at only 50 non-profit organizations, and found 15 not in compliance with state law, it’s assumed there are more organizations that do business with the city that are also not in compliance.
Spokespeople for the mayor’s office and comptroller’s office didn’t respond to requests for comment by our deadline.