Finding Dinner on the Social Network

032114_mishmash_foodFood lovers, pay close attention to today’s world of instant gratification, social media and real-time chatter, as the Internet is open for business all the time. Simply placing a post with a picture on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook produces an instant response. There are deals to be had and immediate needs to be found and met.

Restaurants garner immediate attention with their fans, and followers promote their daily deals. I’ve provided some recent Facebook restaurant and chef posts to illustrate this trend.

Miller’s Deli offered this last week: “Happy PURIM to all. We have fresh hamantaschen! Call or come on in to pick up a few or a few dozen. 410-602-2233. Visit our 2nd location, Timonium.”

Café Gia, meanwhile, posted that “a picture with a descriptive intro spells success. I can’t express how many of my guests stroll into Cafe Gia simply by the photos I post.”

And here’s a tweet: @Mr. Charles Market Café! Spring Ahead with some Brunch!

Looking for a good food find? Check your feeds!

Patti Neumann is publisher of and an award-winning columnist and blogger on food and wine. Connect with ‘CITYPEEK Patti’ on social networks for an immediate response.

Building Better Neighborhoods

031414_mishmash-philanthropySince a bequest of $11 million from the estate of Morris Goldseker in 1975, the Goldseker Foundation has grown to a $100 million philanthropy that has granted $85 million to 530 nonprofit organizations in the Baltimore metropolitan area. In the mid-2000s, the foundation’s board expanded to include independent directors and a second generation of Goldseker family members. In 2013, the foundation underwent its first executive leadership transition in 34 years.

The presidents of The Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore, Johns Hopkins University and Morgan State University serve as ex-officio members of an advisory selection committee to help inform the foundation’s grant making. The foundation seeks opportunities to promote strong leadership, convene committed partners and leverage resources, as exemplified by early work to create and nurture civic assets such as the Association of Baltimore Area Grantmakers, the Baltimore Community Foundation and Associated Black Charities.

In 2000, the foundation was among the first funders of the Healthy Neighborhoods Program, with operating support and a loan guarantee for a residential mortgage lending pool to increase private investment in Baltimore’s middle neighborhoods. In 2009, it created the Neighborhood School Partnership Initiative to enhance the desirability of the Healthy Neighborhoods communities by increasing enrollment and academic quality at local schools.

Looking forward, the foundation’s new CEO, Matt Gallagher, plans to build upon the collaborative efforts while using data to target philanthropic investments for greater impact.

Pinning on Pinterest

030714_mishmash_socialmediaIf you’re into social media but haven’t yet discovered Pinterest, then you’re missing out on one of the hottest trends around.

As a rapidly growing social network, Pinterest is a virtual museum of online pinboards that users create and curate by “pinning” images, sound and video collected from the Web. Pins can be pictures of dream destinations, photographs, recipes, clothing, art, quotes and much more.

Pinterest boards are crafted with rich visuals and links that people can like, share and comment on. Most pins link back to the original website, where viewers can learn more about the item or even make a purchase, if it’s up for grabs.

Many “pinners” use the site as inspiration for ideas such as travel, event planning, home decorating and, yes, even napkin folding. But the social site also has grabbed the attention of educators, universities, designers, airlines, nonprofits, businesses and news outlets that have discovered creative ways to get your attention.

So what are you waiting for? Let your imagination run wild. Dive in, have fun and create your own Pinterest boards today.

Going Beyond the Startup Nation

022814_mishmashEach May the world’s leading biomedical companies flock to Israel for the Startup Nation’s annual BioMed Conference, joining participants from more than 45 countries. This year, BioMed is being combined with an Israeli high-technology conference to create the largest advanced technology business forum ever held in the Jewish state: MIXiii: The Israel Innovation Conference.

“We’re looking to go beyond the Startup Nation,” Israel’s chief scientist, Avi Hasson, said of the May 20-22 forum. The goal of the conference is to highlight amazing new technologies being developed by Israel’s dynamic entrepreneurs in both the life sciences and information technology spheres and create partnership opportunities for them with multinationals from around the world.

From the country that developed drip irrigation, the PillCam and Waze GPS, these entrepreneurs are developing products that will transform society, from the remote delivery of health care to the security of electronic medical devices to the latest apps for smartphones.

The Maryland/Israel Development Center is taking a delegation of state businessmen and women to the Israel Innovation Conference to find new technologies for their businesses. For information about participating in the trade mission, visit

The Maryland/Israel Development Center is an agency of The Associated: Jewish Community
Federation of Baltimore.

Think You Know About Wines?

022114_mishmash-foodBeing in the food and wine business, I’ve sampled a lot of great vino. Many asked how I got so lucky, and I had an “a-ha” moment. Why not share my good fortune?

Now you can make like a sommelier at the CITYPEEK Sip & Swirl Wine Club.

I started the club for unpretentious foodies to gather to share sips, food pairings, education and guidance by sommeliers and like-minded professionals in private venues. It’s a place to make new friends and leave the snobbery behind.

Recently, a class was sold out after some deft social marketing; 30 excited guests arrived at a location unveiled a mere 24 hours prior to the event. Mariam Raz Razavi, a certified wine educator-sommelier and purveyor, led the summer wine portion, and chef Sarah Mogol of Boutinful Experience catered the affair. We sampled Prosecco, Sauvignon Blanc Semillon, Chardonnay and Beaujoulais and ended with a Provencal Rose.

I am planning an Israeli wine tasting in the spring. We’ll feature both boutique wineries and some of the bigger growers such as Dalton, Golan Heights, Bashan and Yarden. I’d love to see you there!

Patti Neumann is Publisher of and an award-winning columnist and blogger on food, wine. Find her page on Facebook/Twitter: Citypeek Patti and

Funding Hometown Communities

021414_mishmash_philThe Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation is one of the largest private charitable foundations in the United States.

It grants approximately $100 million each year to nonprofits that provide direct services to low-income and vulnerable individuals and families, primarily in the United States and Israel. Since 1980, the foundation has distributed grants totaling $1.7 billion, administering the bulk of its funding in its “hometown” communities: Maryland, Northeastern Pennsylvania, Hawaii, Israel and the Former Soviet Union. These areas represent deep, personal ties to the life and legacy of Harry Weinberg.

The Weinberg Foundation is committed to funding nonprofits in the Jewish community, as well as the community-at-large, with particular emphasis on assisting the poorest and frailest older adults so they can live in dignity. Other areas supported by the foundation include: preparing the workforce for 21st-century jobs; ensuring that people’s basic needs are met; increasing the independence and integration of people with disabilities; and providing high-quality education for children.

For more information, go to

Strategy Is Everything

020714_mishmash-social-mediaWhether you’re a business or nonprofit, a well-thought-out strategy will make the difference between success and failure for a social media campaign.

First, define your goals and objectives. Why are you on social media? To create awareness? Build an engaged community of followers? Solicit donations? Once you have that figured out, make certain your objectives are SMART — specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound.

Just because “everyone is on Facebook” doesn’t mean your brand has to be there too. Find out where your target audience spends most of its time and then put your brand on those platforms.

Implement an editorial calendar with content relevant to your brand. Post open-ended and engaging questions for followers, success stories and event updates. Remember to include dynamic images and videos to promote engagement. And keep your content diverse and engaging.

Your strategy can also contain tactics such as monthly give-a-ways and contests, games, an ambassador campaign, live Facebook chats or tweetups, YouTube webinars or gatherings on Google Hangouts. Whatever you choose, remember to make it audience-driven.

Finally, have a plan to measure success. Resources such as Facebook Insights, Google Analytics, HootSuite Analytics, Twitter Counter and Tailwind for Pinterest will help gather valuable metrics to analyze the results so you can evaluate, tweak and plan for future campaigns.

Gerri Baum directs social media for Kalix Communications in Baltimore and is a social media manager for Sociality Squared in New York City.

Israel’s Excellence in Cyber Security

The CyberTech Conference features  the best and brightest in cyber security. (Courtsey of CSFI)

The CyberTech Conference features
the best and brightest in cyber security.
(Courtsey of CSFI)

There’s no better example of Israel’s cyber security prowess than the contrast between the ineffectual hacking attack on Israeli government websites last year by the cyber terror gang Anonymous and last month’s successful cyber attack on giant retailer Target that resulted in the theft of credit card information from more than 100 million customers. Once again, the world will find innovative technological solutions in Israel at the CyberTech 2014 Conference next week in Tel Aviv.

The Maryland/Israel Development Center’s director of business development, Peter Telem, and Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development cyber czar Jeffrey Wells will join executives from IBM, Microsoft, Cisco, Symantec, Maryland-headquartered Lockheed Martin and IT executives from around the world to learn about the latest innovations in the industry from Israeli entrepreneurs. Telem and Wells will recruit the Israeli companies to come to Maryland, which, as home to the National Security Agency, the U.S. Cyber Command and a plethora of government contractors serving those agencies, Gov. Martin O’Malley calls the “epicenter” of cyber security in the United States. Maryland and Israel are natural partners in developing cyber defenses for the government and commercial customers.

For more information about this mission and other MIDC initiatives, visit

MIDC is an agency of The Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore


Philanthropy More Than Just Money

011714_mishmash_philanthropy-dmThe Downtown Baltimore JCC is barely a year old and it is already a resounding success. Oversubscribed before it even opened its doors, it now boasts a drop-in center for its more than 75 — and growing — families and eight staffers, and it even has a family happy hour. Much of its success is due to a dedicated, passionate and excellent staff. But is there a story behind the story?

We have to go back about four-and-a-half years ago, when some of the stakeholders and nonprofit leaders who care about the vitality of downtown were convened at the offices of the Joseph and Harvey Meyerhoff Family Charitable Funds. The group asked each other what was “really needed” in addressing some of the gaps that exist in the neighborhood, especially in dealing with the flight of successful young professionals living in an urban setting who get married and want to start a family.

The role of philanthropy is often misunderstood. In the words of the late Itzik Shavit, who raised millions of dollars for the State of Israel via the Israel Education Fund, funders “are not ATMs!”
Philanthropists can play many roles — investors, thought partners with grantees and leading NGOs, visionaries and much more. In this case, the Family Funds played the role of convener: They had no skin in the game, except for the agenda of serving the growing needs of downtown families.

Such action by philanthropic endeavors can provide a crucial step in convening leading agents of change. Here in Baltimore, these professionals effectively anticipated the results of the 2010 population study of our community. Now, DBJCC has walls and rooms that are filled with young Jews, families and urbanites. We look forward to many more DBJCCs in our community and beyond.

Now’s The Time To Join The Network

011014_mishmash_socialEveryone seemingly has a Facebook or Twitter account these days, but if 2013 left you still wondering what hashtags are all about, then it’s time to get social. Social media’s power to connect people, places and brands is unmatched by any other form of communication today.

Used by people of all ages, Facebook is the kingpin of social media; it offers you the ability to stay in touch with relatives, upload and view photos and videos, find out what your friends are up to and more. Just remember to establish your privacy settings if you want to protect your own turf before getting started.

If you want to keep up with a bevy of Baltimore-area rabbis, President Obama or even Matisyahu, Twitter is probably the way to go. You can follow and tweet with them through the service, where you can view and publish real-time updates in just 140 characters or less.

Looking for a source of inspiration to plan a vacation or celebration or to shop? Then Pinterest is where you should be. You can engage with scores of people and view picture boards that will light up your brain with great ideas.

In the professional realm, LinkedIn is a must for everyone launching, revitalizing or strengthening their careers. Become a thought leader in your industry by posting valuable information to your own newsfeed, answering and asking questions in groups and networking with peers.

Whatever you choose to stay connected, think of social media as just another set of tools to help you communicate with the outside world

Gerri Baum directs social media for Kalix Communications in Baltimore and is a social media manager for Sociality Squared in New York City.