After nine years at the helm of Children’s Scholarship Fund Baltimore, Executive Director Beth Harbinson is stepping down to pursue new ventures, spend more time with family, and follow her passions. Over the course of her nine-year tenure as executive director, Beth has seen CSFB through its milestone Fund the Future campaign, a $1 million fundraising effort to ensure future scholarships, through the 20-year anniversary celebration, and through a pandemic! While it is hard to see her go, we are thankful to her for all of the hard work and determination that she has poured into her role here at CSFB and we wish her luck with all of her future endeavors.
At the same time, we are excited to welcome CSFB’s new Executive Director Erica Jensen, a parent and a former educator who has experienced the benefits of school choice and the challenges that come with securing it. We welcome Erica to the CSFB family and we are excited to see her at work.
Elizabeth A. Green
CSFB Chair, Board of Trustees
A Letter from Beth Harbinson, Outgoing Executive Director
I am a bit change-averse. My daily routine is maddeningly consistent and I am happiest when I can stick to my schedule. After nine years, my work routine will change as I leave CSFB. The best news is that our Program Administrator, Joanne Sanders, the “face” of CSFB to our schools and families, will continue in her role. I am also excited for you to meet Erica Jensen, our new Executive Director who has been working in tandem with me this month.
When I started, former Board Chair Matt Wyskiel was running the organization as the Board searched for the next Executive Director. Matt welcomed me with a wealth of knowledge, peanut M&Ms, and a generous offer to complete the month entering revenue data into QuickBooks. He taught me my first lesson as CSFB Executive Director – that we had trustees who cared deeply about our work and were willing to help way beyond their job descriptions to keep the organization going.
During the early years of my tenure, we kept a careful eye on the bank balance and worked with our schools to manage the schedule of reimbursements for the students we supported. At that time, CSFB raised funds to support our work that were spent in the fiscal year in which they were raised. Under the leadership of Chair Kate Powell, and with the support of several of our loyal donors and founding trustees, we launched a campaign to establish a more sustainable financial base raising in excess of $1 million.
Now, under the guidance of Chair Elizabeth A. Green, I am proud to announce that due to the continued commitment of our trustees, foundation funders, and donors, we have increased our scholarship budget by 10%.
As I move on from my role as Executive Director for CSFB, I am so pleased to be handing over this very important and rewarding position to Erica Jensen. Her fresh perspective, coupled with her heart and determination to do this job, assures me that she will excel in the position.
Thank you for the opportunity to work with your families during my time as Executive Director. It has been a privilege to serve and to support the life-changing work that school choice brings to Baltimore City low-income students.
Beth Sandbower Harbinson
Executive Director Emeritus
A Letter from Erica Jensen, Incoming Executive Director
If you have ever been a teacher, someone has inevitably said to you, “Oh! You’re so lucky to have your summers off”. That is only partly true. If teachers aren’t working a part-time job(s), they are taking professional development and continuing education courses, sourcing supplies, cultivating lesson plans, and preparing their classrooms during their “off” summer months.
As a former educator now taking on the role of Executive Director for The Children’s Scholarship Fund Baltimore, this summer looks and feels very different for me. This summer, I am getting to know our amazing board and Program Administrator Joanne Sanders, familiarizing myself with CSFB’s countless precious donors, reviewing grant procedures, scrutinizing and managing the new 22-23 FY budget, and looking for new opportunities to support our scholars and families.
Professionally, I have spent the last several years as a classroom teacher in The Maryland Public School System. Most recently in Queen Anne’s County, and previously in our beloved Baltimore City. I have witnessed and worked alongside tirelessly dedicated and amazing educators and administrators. Personally, I am a single mom of three very different and unique sons who all, at some point or another, had very different academic needs. Fortunately, all of my boys have had the opportunity to attend both private and public schools, however, providing them with the best education fit for their indivdual needs wasn’t always easy. I’ve lived with financial insecurities and the question of how I was going to afford the private school education my sons needed at different times during their academic careers.
My story is not unlike that of so many families, and yet I recognize that every student’s academic needs and experiences are unique. Everyone should have a choice in their children’s education, no matter their zip code or income. School choice is uniquely personal and should remain so. No -one should ever be called crazy, unrealistic, or naive when they are exploring the private school option and doing what they believe is best for their student.
I wish to express my sincere gratitude and respect to our outgoing executive director, Beth Harbinson. During this time of transition, Beth has graciously and generously shared with me her time, energy, and wealth of knowledge. CSFB and I will forever be indebted to her for her tireless efforts in handing over a meticulously managed and financially healthy organization.
And yes, I do have her cell phone number saved.
Children’s Scholarship Fund Baltimore