The Bel Air Downtown Alliance is thrilled to announce that we have recently been recognized by the Standards for Excellence Institute for successfully completing the Standards Basics requirements of their signature Standards for Excellence® program! Our organization voluntarily opened itself up to analysis by staff at the Institute, who examined our application for compliance with the Standards for Excellence®: An Ethics and Accountability Code for the Nonprofit Sector. The Alliance’s programs and services, management, fundraising and financial practices were subjected to in-depth examination prior to earning this recognition. Offering our program for review under the Standards for Excellence institute shows our members, donors, and stakeholders that we take accountability seriously. The results prove that our organization excels in regulatory and legal compliance and that we comply with the principles of the Standards for Excellence code.

Christine McPherson, Executive Director of the Bel Air Downtown Alliance, comments, “Obtaining accreditation has been an incredible learning experience for our team. It has allowed us to build a solid foundation that in return will help us meet our mission of building a vibrant downtown in Bel Air. I’d like to thank the State of Maryland’s Department of Housing and Community Development for funding this project and their commitment to building sustainable nonprofits in our state.”

“We are so honored to be a nonprofit that is recognized by the Standards for Excellence Institute. The Alliance staff and Board of Directors worked diligently through the first tier and it is our goal to continue moving forward in the process until we reach full accreditation,” says Donna M. Dickey, President of the Bel Air Downtown Alliance’s Board of Directors.

The Standards for Excellence Institute is committed to raising the level of principled and responsible practices within the nonprofit sector. The Institute offers a model for organizations to implement in their operating plans so they can gain a deeper understanding of their effectiveness, improve their decision-making and minimize risks. The Standards for Excellence Institute evaluates fundamental values such as honesty, integrity, fairness, respect, trust, responsibility, and accountability, all of which are inherently important in the nonprofit world. Nonprofits that adhere to the basic principles and practices of strong nonprofit management and governance can become formally recognized as fulfilling the Standards Basics requirements of the Standards for Excellence program. Standards Basics is the first step of this three-tired process which is designed to culminate in full accreditation under the Standards for Excellence program.

About the Bel Air Downtown Alliance

The Bel Air Downtown Alliance is a 501(c)(3) non-profit community development organization whose mission is to mobilize stakeholders to invest in Bel Air’s neighborhoods, economy, and quality of life. The Alliance, one of 28 Main Street Maryland communities founded in 2001, is a volunteer network of local businesses and prominent citizens that focuses on enhancing Downtown Bel Air through the preservation of its appearance, traditions, community identity, and economic stability. If you would like more information about this topic please contact the Bel Air Downtown Alliance at (443) 823-1797 or

About the Standards for Excellence Institute

The Standards for Excellence originated as a special initiative of Maryland Nonprofits in 1998 and has since expanded into a national program to help nonprofit organizations achieve the highest benchmarks of ethics and accountability in nonprofit governance, management and operations. The program has been formally adopted by ten state, regional and national affiliate organizations, and is supported by nearly 100 Licensed Consultants and over 100 volunteers with professional experience in nonprofit governance and administration. Presently, over 200 individual nonprofit organizations are fully accredited or recognized as having completed a rigorous application and review process to demonstrate adherence to the Standards for Excellence: An Ethics and Accountability Code for the Nonprofit Sector.

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  1. Leslie Jones

    Congratulations on your recognition! 6 am fairly new to the area and admire the work your organization performs daily. However, I believe their more cultural standards you have not yet begun to tap into. There are many nationalities and cultures that live and work in Bel Air. The groups span the socioeconomic ruler of the area. Whereas you are doing an awesome job, I pray you continue to expand in the programs, services, and accessibility of what is around you. Thank you and congratulations again for your work this far.