Courtesy Photo

Courtesy Photo

The Women and Philanthropy will host Angela Blanchard, President and CEO of BakerRipley, formally known as Neighborhood Centers Inc, for a lecture series focusing on the importance of working together and investing resources for communities in need.

The planned events include two lectures and a luncheon on March 2. The lectures will take place in the Landes Auditorium in the Galloway Business Building from 9:35 a.m. to 10:55 a.m. and 2:20 p.m. to 3:40 p.m.  The luncheon is on the eighth floor of the Mary and John Gray Library at 11:15 a.m.  The lectures are free to the public and the luncheon is by registration only.

“Philanthropy focuses on the idea that positive and constructive change is possible without needing to  leave anyone out,” Blanchard said.

The two lectures presented by Blanchard are “Figure It Out Leadership, An Evolutionary Approach” and “You Can’t Build on Broken: A New Framework for Community Change,” will focus on the importance of working together and focusing on the strengths of the communities in need.

During her lectures Blanchard will emphasize the importance of honoring the integrity of the people in the communities while making improvements to the already existing efforts towards progress by those already in the community.

“You wouldn’t appreciate someone coming into your home telling you how to rearrange your furniture, even if you were already planning on it,” Blanchard said.

When it comes to companies or individuals involved in philanthropy, Blanchard wants people to remember to only go into communities where people invite outside help.

The luncheon, “Transforming Neighborhoods “FOR GOOD” will focus on philanthropy itself along with the basic guidelines for making proper investments to help communities.        

“I am hoping to learn the nuts and bolts to their methods.  It is a very positive approach since the leaders are already there and willing to assist and accomplish their goals,” Nancy Evans, Lamar First Lady and the Lamar University Women and Philanthropy said.

The Lamar University Women and Philanthropy seeks to promote philanthropic education, leadership and advocacy by empowering women to be active participants in the giving process.  During the lectures, Blanchard will speak about is the various aspects of ways philanthropic organizations can make a positive impact on the communities it is trying to serve. 

By reaching out to the leaders of the community, BakerRipley. is able to establish an open communication which  maintain the unique characteristics of the area at the forefront of the community.

“Appreciative inquiry and methodology is needed to study communities for their strengths. Look at who leads, what they value, what is effective, what is already working in the community and what they are able to do on their own instead of telling them how to live their lives will produce better results,” Blanchard said.

The mission of BakerRipley, is to work with local families in the communities in order to address the main concerns, desires, and needs voiced by the people and to make constructive changes to strengthen the infrastructure of the area.

“When you go into a struggling community, it is easy to want to diagnose the problems without speaking to the people first.  We have learned to listen and focus first on what the communities are prioritizing before moving onto other aspects of community development,” Blanchard said.

BakerRipley’s mission is to constructively fix a community’s problems and to create a sustainable and long-lasting changes that the individuals willingly want to implement Blanchard said.

“They have a positive approach of leadership where they build on things that are already there and use those methods to assist the communities in accomplishing their goals,” Evans said.

With Blanchard’s 30 years of experience with leadership, she has elevated the recently rebranded organization BakerRipley to become one of the world’s leading community organizations in Texas that is recognized worldwide for its contributions in philanthropy.  The organization currently serves more than a half a million individuals in 48 countries and works with an annual budget of $250 million making BakerRipley one of the top 1% of the most charitable groups nationwide.

For the organization’s 110 year anniversary, BakerRipley is honoring the women who made significant contributions towards the creation of the organization.  The founder, Alice Graham Baker was inspired by the Settlement House Movement in Europe to contribute towards the enhancement of the surrounding communities to provide education, job training, and additional housing for the impoverished. The name change also honors the organization’s 77 year partnership with the Daniel and Edith foundation which later became the headquarters for Houston’s Settlement Association.

For more information about the lectures contact Joy Tate by email at or call (409)-880-7590.

Laura Fosdick

UP contributor

Learn more about Lamar University at

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