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Goucher Today

Faith, grit, hustle

Candace Chance

Candace Chance ’10, M.A.C.S. ’12, is the 2024 Marguerite Barland ’60 Merit Award winner, which celebrates alumnae/i contributing to the diversity of the campus community through leadership.

By Molly Englund

Community means the world to Candace Chance ’10, M.A.C.S. ’12. Growing up in West Baltimore as one of five children, she learned about entrepreneurship, as well as being in community with other people, from her family.

“We were the candy house on the block, where everybody came to buy snacks,” says Chance. For her, these were early lessons in business principles, which she credits to her mother. “She was resourceful, and I learned to be resourceful from her,” she says. From her father, Chance learned to invest in the people around her. His family, originally from Guyana, gave food and clothing to their neighbors and took in people who needed shelter.

Chance’s family and community cultivated in her a “combination of faith, grit, hustle, and community-centeredness” that she lives by. While at Goucher College, “I was determined to figure out how to create a better future for generations to come,” she says.

After earning an M.A. in cultural sustainability from Goucher, she worked at an environmental education nonprofit, becoming a program director in under a year. But Chance saw inequality in how nonprofits receive grants. “You may not be doing the best job, but if you have connections to the right people—which we did—you can get funding,” she says. In 2015, she left the organization in order to work on a systemic level. “I wanted to shift the mindsets and heart-sets of the people who ran organizations and influence policies.”

That year, Chance joined forces with other community leaders to form the Baltimore Collaboration Lab, where they experimented with different forms of collaboration, particularly for finding funding. She then became the founding board president of Baltimore City Intergenerational Initiative for Trauma and Youth, or BCIITY, which helps local groups secure grants. In five years, the organization disseminated over $3.5 million to more than 60 grassroots organizations that were systemically locked out of receiving grant funding. “They are already doing the good work,” she says. “We’re just trying to amplify their ability to do that.”

For the past seven years, she has been the CEO of the V.P.I. Firm, a strategic consulting business that helps local and international groups “navigate the complexities of bringing large-scale visions to life,” Chance says. At the same time, she is still consulting with BCIITY to support the creation of a platform to boost the efforts of social impact enterprises.

Chance does so much to support Black communities in Baltimore. Along with her other efforts, she sits on the board of the Pennsylvania Avenue Black Arts & Entertainment District in West Baltimore, and she’s a member of the advisory committee for CLLCTIVLY, a nonprofit dedicated to resourcing Black-led social change. In 2021, in recognition of her work, Chance was named one of The Daily Record’s Leading Women Under 40.

“I care deeply about people,” Chance says. “We’re all on a journey, we’re all trying to figure it out, and we want to belong, to feel valued, to be heard and seen.”

Read more about Candace Chance, the 2024 Marguerite Barland ’60 Merit Award recipient.

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