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Martha Blaxall, Carroll H. Hynson Jr. Award in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Philanthropy

Banneker-Douglass Museum (BDM)’s Executive Director, Chanel Compton, discovered just how dedicated Martha Blaxall was to the organization's vision when Martha selflessly devoted more than 200 hours to help plan and implement BDM’s Anti-Racism Initiative Campaign. Chanel met Martha in early 2019, when they worked on planning BDM’s Black Vote Mural Project VIP exhibit reception, and soon after that Martha was again in the trenches, this time taking the lead, along with Margaret Davis, on the museum’s fundraising campaign. “The expertise and positivity that Martha brought to the campaign laid the groundwork for others to join,” said Chanel.

The goal was to raise $80,000 to hire a full-time Curator of Collections and support the museum's virtual anti-racism program series and training. In fiscal year 2021, with Martha's help, the museum exceed its goal, raising $83,000. With the additional support, the museum was able to hire a full-time curator, build an anti-racism coalition, hold a three-part anti-racism training series, present more than nine virtual programs, a youth conference, and several virtual exhibitions.

During her many years of service, Martha has helped advance the work of a multitude of Anne Arundel County nonprofits. “Combining her background as an economist with a passion for making her community better, Martha has consistently invested her time and talents as a volunteer,” said Elaine Shanley, AAWGT President and Martha’s nominator.

Martha served two terms on the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra Board from 2008 to 2014, bringing her skills to the Finance Committee and successfully leading its Executive Director search. In 2014, she joined the Arts Council Board and is currently leading its Task Force on Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility (DEIA), where she is spearheading a major overhaul of grant activities to focus on DEIA priorities. “I have had the pleasure of working with Martha for seven years,” said ACAAC Executive Director April Nyman. “It is evident that when Martha joins an organization, she is ‘all in,’ sharing her expertise and time.”

Martha’s knowledge of economics and desire to maximize community impact led to her serving on CFAAC’s Board from 2008 to 2017. Martha continues to serve on CFAAC’s Asset Management Committee and has been closely involved in editing the last three editions of CFAAC’s Community Needs Assessment Report, Poverty Amidst Plenty. Over the years, her financial and strategic planning acumen have been sought by Arundel Lodge, the YWCA of Annapolis and Anne Arundel County, Scenic Rivers Land Trust, and the Anne Arundel County Library Foundation where she is on its Board of Directors. Martha has also served on the Maryland Federation of Arts Board for three years as treasurer.

“Martha is the epitome of a community leader and stellar volunteer,” said Chanel. “She gives selflessly and is committed to community building and racial healing in Anne Arundel County. She is a blessing.”

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