Philanthropic Giving in 2020: United Way of Central Maryland Innovates with Help of Corporate Partners, New Campaign Chairs

BALTIMORE, Md. (October 29, 2020) – United Way of Central Maryland announced this year’s Campaign Chairs: Ryan Coudon, chief operating officer and founder, Plano-Coudon Construction, and Rodney Oddoye, senior vice president governmental and external affairs, Baltimore Gas and Electric Company.

In addition to being a founder of the successful construction firm, Plano-Coudon, Ryan Coudon is the co-founder of the Plano-Coudon Foundation. He and co-founder Brett Plano believe that a culture of giving back to the community has allowed their firm to grow—and Coudon is committed to sharing that belief with his peers in the area. He has been a corporate partner to United Way of Central Maryland for nearly a decade— serving as Board member and Region United Network Board Chairman.

“Our partnership with United Way really fits. The organization’s goal of providing what’s needed, where it’s needed aligns well with our firm,” explained Coudon. “At Plano-Coudon, we work each day to be a trusted partner and leader in our industry and that same philosophy is pervasive at United Way.”

Since relocating to Maryland for college, Rodney Oddoye – a graduate of the University of Maryland College Park, Washington College, and Loyola University Maryland – has immersed himself in the community. Oddoye serves on the board of directors for the University of Maryland Medical Center, on the board of trustees at the Maryland Zoo and Baltimore Center Stage, and is on the board of directors for the Center for Urban Families. He is also a 2019 graduate of Leadership Maryland and a 2014 graduate of Leadership Maryland—Anne Arundel County.

“Over the years, I have seized the opportunity to become involved with local organizations that are making a difference in our region—and United Way of Central Maryland is among those,” said Oddoye. “Among my responsibilities for BGE, I oversee corporate relations – and I look forward to using that experience, and those connections, in my work with United Way.”

The pair will work to lead fundraising efforts in the central Maryland region—a role that looks very different this year.

“This year’s campaign chairs will inspire area businesses, individuals, and organizations to support United Way’s work to improve lives and communities—especially during this pandemic,” said Franklyn Baker, president and CEO, United Way of Central Maryland. “We’re incredibly grateful to have Ryan Coudon and Rodney Oddoye on our team as we continue this important work.”

In its 95-year history, United Way of Central Maryland has seen significant fundraising success while it has pivoted to providing services for residents and nonprofits in the region. One of the most nimble, large nonprofit organizations in the country, United Way has showcased its ability to provide what’s needed, where it’s needed; especially over the last several months.

“In March, we established our COVID-19 Fund, created new partnerships to offer more services to our constituents, and have continued to gather data through our 211 Maryland United Way Helpline and other surveys to find out where and how we can best serve our communities,” added Baker. “We have also hosted significantly more events for our stakeholders compared to years past. Almost all of these have been virtual, and have allowed us to reach a larger, more diverse audience. We are living in a different world. And giving back is different in this world.”

Workplace giving is now more about engaging employees—giving them opportunities to give back to the community through donations and also volunteering. A new platform offered by United Way, Salesforce Philanthropy Cloud, is the first-ever global platform that connects employees, customers, and partners with the causes they care about the most.

To find out more about Salesforce Philanthropy Cloud and United Way’s recent work, visit www.uwcm.org.

Through an integrated approach that connects older adults with the support they need, the partnership will ensure that callers to the 2-1-1 Maryland United Way Helpline and MAP find “no wrong door” and receive a more specialized, person-centered experience that meets their health and social needs and leads to improved outcomes.

“It is critical that our older population, particularly those living below or near poverty, are connected to resources that can address their needs,” said Franklyn Baker, president and CEO of United Way of Central Maryland. “This grant will go a long way toward increasing the opportunities for Baltimore’s older community to remain independent. We are incredibly thankful to The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation for their support of this community during a month in which our country celebrates and recognizes our elder population.”

Every May, the Administration on Aging leads our nation’s observance of Older American’s Month. This year’s theme, Engage at Every Age, emphasizes that a person is never too old to take part in activities that can enrich their physical, mental, and emotional well-being. This observance also celebrates the many ways in which older adults make a difference in our communities.

“Our partnership with 2-1-1 will help the Health Department connect the City’s older adults with evidence-based and person-centered services. This is an important step in supporting individuals who choose to age in place and live independently,” said Dr. Leana Wen, Baltimore City Health Commissioner. “Baltimore City’s seniors have always been the backbone of our communities. We are grateful for the partnership of the United Way and the support of the Weinberg Foundation to continue our work to ensure health and wellness of our older adults.”

The partnership between 2-1-1 and MAP will specifically look to increase access to and receipt of more comprehensive support for older adults and improve the efficiency and effectiveness of information, referral and service delivery for older adults, resulting in better outcomes for Baltimore’s aging population.

“Helping low-income and vulnerable older adults age in their communities with independence and dignity is extremely important to our foundation and continues to be our largest single area of giving,” said Aaron Merki, managing director, programs and grants and program director, older adult services, The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation. “Our hope is that our support is felt throughout the community and that these individuals are provided with the necessary resources needed to maintain maximum quality of life.”

For more information about the 2-1-1 Maryland United Way Helpline, visit www.uwcm.org/211.

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About United Way of Central Maryland
United Way of Central Maryland fights for the education, financial stability and health of every person in every community. United Way programs include 15 Family Stability sites, which keep families in their homes and out of shelters, and On Track 4 Success, a program that helps young students stay on track to graduate high school.

The organization’s work is supported by the ALICE® (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) Report, which revealed that more than a third of Maryland’s working households cannot afford the state’s high cost of living, and the 24/7 2-1-1 Maryland United Way Helpline that provides information and referrals on health and human service needs. Learn more at uwcm.org.

About The Baltimore City Health Department
The Baltimore City Health Department is the oldest, continuously-operating health department in the United States, formed in 1793. During the more than 220 years since then, we’ve been working to improve the health and well-being of Baltimore residents. We strive to make Baltimore a city where all residents realize their full health potential. Learn more at https://health.baltimorecity.gov.

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For more than 90 years, United Way of Central Maryland has been improving lives in the communities it serves: Anne Arundel County, Baltimore City, Baltimore County, Carroll County, Harford County and Howard County, Maryland.

United Way of Central Maryland is a 501(c)(3) tax exempt organization! | Tax ID: 52-0591543