Local philanthropist, Chairman and CEO of A&R Development, Theo C. Rodgers. (Courtesy Photo)

By Special to the AFRO

Philanthropy Tank Baltimore, a newly-launched program that empowers and equips middle and high school students to develop and execute creative solutions to community problems, announced today that local philanthropist and chairman and chief executive officer of A&R Development, Theo C. Rodgers, will join Philanthropy Tank as the first Philanthropist Investor to empower student changemakers to become leaders in the Baltimore community. Rodgers will be among four Philanthropist Investors to fund student initiatives, investing in community projects that aim to address and improve social issues.  

“A bright future for Baltimore rests with the potential to tap into the creative minds and the innovative solutions that students bring to address social issues,” said Rodgers. “I look forward to working with Philanthropy Tank to help develop a culture of giving amongst young people in Baltimore.” 

Each investor will be joined by a Philanthropist Mentor to provide one-on-one mentoring and help students execute initiatives while increasing their ability to make meaningful change. Joining Rodgers as a Philanthropist Mentor is Kera Ritter, founder of the consulting firm The Ritter Group, and former chief executive officer of Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Greater Chesapeake. She helps organizations and leaders solve their most difficult challenges and specializes in working with youth serving organizations. “I believe mentoring can be the difference between surviving and thriving for young people all over the world,” said Ritter. “And so, I am very thrilled for this opportunity to mentor young people in Baltimore as they lead and seek to make an impact on their community.”

Applications from across Baltimore City are being reviewed now, and the students whose applications qualify will pitch their ideas during a virtual event in November to a panel of Philanthropist Mentors, made up of local business and community leaders. The selected recipients will receive financial awards of up to $15,000, and one-on-one mentoring to help make their philanthropic dreams come true. 

Philanthropy Tank Baltimore is made possible by a group of founding partners that include Alliance Bernstein, Allegis Group, David and Beth Swirnow, Fader Innovation Center, Footlick Family Foundation, T. Rowe Price Foundation, and Whiting Turner.

Philanthropy Tank started in 2015 in Palm Beach County, Fla., and announced its expansion to Baltimore in April 2020. Through its mission of Empowering CHANGEmakers™, Philanthropy Tank has awarded more than $500,000 in funding and provided hundreds of hours of mentorship for teens over the last five years. These changemakers have created and continue to run organizations that support music and art education, women’s empowerment, the environment, pediatric cancer patients, and more.