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The following grants are in excess of $5,000 and were awarded in 2020.
Baltimore Community Lending, Inc.
Baltimore Community Lending (BCL) is an intermediary lender under the U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA’s) Microloan Programs. The foundation will provide the balance of matching funding to create a 15 percent loan loss reserve to launch the program. In supporting the small business assistance infrastructure in Baltimore City, the first year’s SBA Microloan fund of $750,000 is expected to fund loan amounts between $10,000 and $50,000 to between 15 to 75 small businesses, with special outreach to Black-owned businesses and businesses owned by people of color in Baltimore City.
Baltimore Community Lending, Inc.
In 2018, Baltimore Community Lending created Baltimore Business Lending to assist in the creation and growth of small businesses in Baltimore City. Securing capital and business assistance remain the greatest challenges for Baltimore City entrepreneurs looking to start and grow new businesses, especially among those who have been disenfranchised historically. An Abell grant for business lending operations and marketing, as well as a partial guarantee of loan losses will enable Baltimore Business Lending to loan $1.25 million and create and retain jobs.
Baltimore Community ToolBank
Baltimore Community ToolBank lends tools and equipment to community based member organizations for a nominal fee. Items are typically used for community clean-ups, beautification, festivals, and other projects. Due to social distancing guidelines, large scale volunteer deployment projects are not being implemented, and other projects to date have been limited to 10 or less volunteers. Fees generated from tool rental orders have decreased significantly, thus decreasing the ToolBank’s revenue. During the COVID-19 crisis, tools and equipment for use in support of emergency response activities and support are being provided at no charge for the duration of the crisis. This grant will support core program staff levels which will allow program implementation without interruption of service provision.
Baltimore Corps supports Baltimore City’s social innovation sector by recruiting and deploying mission-driven young professionals to Baltimore City’s public agencies and social sector organizations. As the need for staffing in key COVID-related positions has increased, Baltimore Corps uses its expertise to assist City agencies by conducting targeted outreach with a focus on racial equity. This grant will support staff costs associated with core programmatic efforts to recruit, deploy and retain talent in Baltimore City.
Baltimore Corps supports Baltimore City’s social innovation sector by recruiting and deploying mission-driven young professionals to Baltimore City’s public agencies and social sector organizations. Kiva-Baltimore will target Black-owned small-business and micro-enterprise operating in Baltimore City and struggling to survive the economic collapse due to COVID-19. Grant funds will be used to support staff costs to meet expansion needs and increased demand from small and micro-business for ongoing advice and consultation through the Kiva-Baltimore platform.
Baltimore Digital Equity Coalition, Fiscally Sponsored by Digital Harbor Foundation
The Baltimore Digital Equity Coalition (BDEC) was formed in March 2020 to help provide digital access for those without in Baltimore in the wake of COVID-19 shutdowns and closures. To date, this volunteer-led effort has focused its efforts in four areas: (1) access to devices; (2) greater Internet connectivity; (3) digital skills training and support; and (4) advocacy. While volunteers continue to be engaged and committed to the Coalition’s goals and priorities, the Coalition’s work demands are steadily growing and requires dedicated staff time. Grant funds will be used to support costs associated with the hiring of a full time staff position to expand the capacity and elevate the work of the coalition.
Baltimore Office of Sustainability, Fiscally Sponsored by Civic Works, Inc.
The Baltimore Food Policy Initiative within the Baltimore Office of Sustainability will provide $65,000 in mini-grants to grassroots community organizations who are working hard and quickly to fill gaps in Baltimore’s larger emergency food-distribution system as the COVID-19 crisis escalates. Funds will be used for food, protective equipment for volunteers and nonprofit employees, transportation and fuel costs to supply food to those who are homebound, elderly, immuno-compromised, and living in poverty, most of whom are unable to access distribution centers, have lost their local pantry program due to COVID closure, or may have a gap without food while, for example, waiting for their Meals on Wheels registration to be processed or for SNAP benefits to be approved.
Baltimore's Promise, Fiscally Sponsored by Fund for Educational Excellence
In support of the COVID-19 Response Funding Collaborative of Greater Baltimore, individual grants were awarded to the following organizations:
Amazing Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church
Asylee Women's Enterprise
Baltimore Job Hunter's Support Group, Fiscally Sponsored by Corner Community Center
The Broken Wall Community Church
Black Yield Institute, Fiscally Sponsored by Fusion Partnerships, Inc.
Catherine’s Family and Youth Services, Inc.
Church of the Guardian Angel
City of Refuge Baltimore, Inc.
Civic Works, Inc.
Digital Equity Initiative for Baltimore, Fiscally Sponsored by Digital Harbor Foundation
Elev8 Baltimore, Fiscally Sponsored by Fund for Educational Excellence
Farm Alliance of Baltimore
Fishes and Loaves Pantry
Immigration Outreach Center
Impact Hub, Fiscally Sponsored by Maryland Philanthropy Network
Intercultural Counseling Connections, Fiscally Sponsored by Fusion Partnerships, Inc.
Italian Cultural Center
Patterson Park Public Charter School
Southeast Community Development Corporation
UEmpower of Maryland
Women's Housing Coalition
City Life Community Builders
City Life Community builders is renovating and selling 53 market rate houses just south of the Henderson Hopkins School. Grant funds will be used to support down payment and closing cost assistance for police officers and others working in security staffing in the neighborhoods surrounding their Henderson Crossing redevelopment project.
Civic Works, Inc.
Civic Works' Retrofit Baltimore program offers weatherization, home energy efficiency, and health and safety improvements to low- and moderate-income households. Utilizing competitive Maryland Energy Administration funding, Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development grants and BGE utility rebates, the program expects to complete 375 energy audits, energy efficient weatherization improvements in 70 homes, bedbug remediations in 44 homes and screen all households for property tax credits, water bill discounts, and federal nutrition benefits. The grant covers expenses for staff to promote the program, screen applicants for benefits, establish scopes of work, manage contract implementation, and ensure quality control.
Civil Justice, Inc.
Civil Justice expands legal services to clients of low and moderate income while promoting a network of solo, small and community-based lawyers who share a common commitment to increasing access to justice. It is a common practice that, after evicting tenants who fall behind on rent, landlords will later sue those same tenants for prospective rent and alleged damages, as well as unlwafully withhold security deposits. These suits result in millions of dollars in judgments against tenants each year in Baltimore City and further destabilize tenant households. With Abell funding, Civil Justice will increase its capacity to address aggressive landlord debt collection suits against tenants, serving 50 households in the first year either through in-house counsel or through their referral network.
Emerging Technology Centers, Inc.
In 2020, the Emerging Technology Center will competitively select up to five companies to participate in the ninth cohort of Accelerate Baltimore. The technology and innovation incubation program includes 13-weeks of hands-on instruction and workshops, access to mentors, connections to potential partners and investors, and free office space at the ETC in East Baltimore to help entrepreneurs overcome technical issues, navigate changing markets and address financial challenges to boost commercialization of new products and services. The grant supports administrative costs and initial seed funding of $50,000 to each team judged to have the greatest potential for growth.
Farm Alliance of Baltimore, Inc.
Farm Alliance of Baltimore will continue to offer a Double Dollars program to incentivize households receiving federal food benefits to spend their dollars on fruits and vegetables at local farm stands, community centers, the Civic Works’ mobile market, and the Waverly Market stall. The target population for this project is low income adults and children who live in Healthy Food Priority Areas, or areas with high food insecurity, and who remain at a significant disadvantage as they have unequal access to resources, especially healthy nutritious food.
Food & Water Watch
In light of two decades of water rate hikes and in the face of the public health and economic crises unleashed by COVID-19, more than ever Baltimore City residents need a comprehensive water affordability program to prevent water shut offs. Food & Water Watch will advocate for timely implementation of the Water Accountability and Equity Act signed into law in January 2020. The program bases bills on household income and is designed intentionally to help vulnerable populations and communities of color who are disproportionately affected by the rising cost of water service.
Habitat for Humanity of the Chesapeake
Habitat Chesapeake has a 38 year track record of assisting lower-income families, primarily headed by middle-aged African-American women, in becoming first-time homeowners in historically disinvested neighborhoods. Interest in homeownership through Habitat is high. In FY2020, Habitat received more than 800 pre-qualification questionnaires. Grant funds will support costs associated with the rehabilitation and construction of 10 homes in three neighborhoods that have benefitted from significant investment by Habitat over the years: Pigtown, Woodbourne-McCabe, and Pen Lucy.
Healthy Neighborhoods, Inc.
Healthy Neighborhoods, Inc. (HNI) is a citywide initiative that promotes investment in “middle Neighborhoods” through resident engagement, a focus on promoting neighborhood assets, and investment in housing stock. HNI serves 46 neighborhoods across the City. This grant provided support for core program activities and expansion to other neighborhoods.
Initiative for a Competitive Inner City Inc. (ICIC)
ICIC will offer its entrepreneur training program, Inner City Capital Connections (ICCC), to Baltimore businesses. The business technical assistance program started in 2005 to help urban entrepreneurs better position themselves to access capital, increase revenues, grow their businesses and create jobs. The program specifically targets companies located in low to moderate income areas, especially companies owned by people of color and by women, and they also accept businesses that draw 40 percent of their employment from low to moderate income communities.
Johns Hopkins University Whiting School of Engineering
The Baltimore Healthcare Innovator Retention Program fellowship stipends enable talented Johns Hopkins University biomedical engineering students to continue working on promising healthcare innovations after they complete their graduate studies. These teams of Fellows operative as virtual startups creating commercially viable products, seeking follow-on funding, and creating new companies. The program maximizes the translation of discovery and invention from the University biomedical program into income-generating companies which have the potential to generate local employment.
Jubilee Baltimore, Inc.
Jubilee Baltimore is partnering with Property Consulting Inc. to renovate the long-vacant Odell's building located at 21 E. North Avenue to house two nonprofit organizations that serve Baltimore City schoolchildren. Following the Maryland Institute of Art's development of the Lazarus Center and reinvestment in the Centre Theatre, Motor House and Parkway Theater, the Abell grant toward the redevelopment of the Odell's building would enable a customized home for the two nonprofits, infusing new life into an historically significant building, bringing additional activitiy onto North Avenue and boosting confidence in investment in the area.
Latino Economic Development Center
Latino Economic Development Center offers access to business resources and capital to meet the needs of under served communities and communities of color in Baltimore. Their small business coaches provide one-on-one technical assistance and workshops/courses related to business planning, financial management, incorporation, licensing and permitting, accounting, marketing and technology integration. Lending staff are trained to provide micro-loans ranging from $500 to $50,000 and larger loans up to $250,000.
Made in Baltimore, Fiscally Sponsored by Baltimore Development Corporation
Made in Baltimore supports local makers and manufacturers through promotional and marketing events, a local brand-certification program, and business development support. The 12-week Home Run Accelerator program will provide intensive business development, marketing, and peer mentoring support for 15 selected home-based makers in targeted industries. MIB will track the growth/development of participants, including jobs created, revenue growth, and production space occupied will be tracked. This grant provided support for staff and program expenses associated with the Home Run Accelerator program.
Maryland Access to Justice Commission, Fiscally Sponsored by Maryland Bar Foundation
The COVID-19 pandemic has broadsided the economy and led to the filing of an unprecedented volume of civil legal actions, such as missed rent payments; disputes over medical and consumer debt; the need for protective orders; applications for unemployment insurance; drafting of wills or dealing with probate. Under this grant, the Task Force will identify, research and discuss opportunities to improve the civil legal aid delivery system, including addressing inequities in the judicial system, creating a better system of resources and warm referrals; building a triage system to provide targeted help; and engaging more pro-bono and reduced fee assistance for civil legal problems, culminating in a final report of recommendations to be completed by December 2020.
Maryland Consumer Rights Coalition, Inc.
Now a program of the Maryland Consumer Rights Coalition, the Fair Housing Action Center of Maryland is the only fair housing organization in the state. FHAC has seen an increase in calls as the economic challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, including the unprecedented number or residents have lost their jobs, been furloughed, or seen their hours or wages reduced. Low-and-moderate income households may also face a wave of eviction filings. This grant will provide support for staffing efforts to provide direct assistance to Baltimore City tenants that are having problems with their landlords, educate tenants and landlords about their rights and responsibilities, and research and analyze tenant issues.
Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs, Fiscally Sponsored by Baltimore Civic Fund
In response to COVID-19, the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs (MIMA) in partnership with the Baltimore Civic Fund as a fiscal sponsor, established the Baltimore Immigrant Community Fund (BICF): Emergency Relief for Immigrant Families. Through community partners, the fund will respond to the urgent needs of undocumented immigrant families who are excluded from the CARES Act and other governmental benefits like Unemployment Insurance and SNAP. Grants from the fund are intended to help stabilize household finances and build Baltimore as a welcoming community.
New Life Food Pantry, Inc.
New Life Food Pantry distributes up to 100,000 pounds of food during single day community markets. Grant funds will support costs associated with a pilot camera project.
Open Works is an engine for grassroots economic development especially in the manufacturing sector and will actively support memberships, studio rentals, and revenue from classes and other programming once conditions are safe enough to resume those revenue generating activities. While Open Works has moved forward with a ramp up of PPE production, and will receive payment via local hospitals for those items, a number of ongoing expenses that were typically funded with membership fees or other revenue are not currently supported with that revenue. This grant provided general operating support for the organization.
Parks & People Foundation
Parks & People Foundation offers a paid youth internship and environmental education after school and summer Youthworks program called ‘Branches’ to address two critical issues: the need for meaningful employment for economically disadvantaged youth and the need for a trained workforce caring for parks and green spaces in the City. Participants in the Branches program gain hands-on experience and skills designing and implementing projects that have a community impact while contributing to the areas where many of them live and attend school, including neighborhoods which have high levels of poverty and few opportunities for positive development of young people.
Pro Bono Resource Center of Maryland, Inc.
Water bills rates are increasingly unaffordable for many of Baltimore’s low-income residents. Discount and affordability programs and, most-recently, income-based billing created to help those struggling are generally not well-known within the low-income communities, and the programs can be challenging to access without experienced help. In partnership with Maryland Volunteer Lawyer’s Service, Pro Bono Resource Center will work with Community Action Partner (CAP) centers to assist clients at targeted legal clinics, provide intensive pro bono legal assistance where necessary, and educate the public on the availability of assistance. This grant will provide support for staff costs associated with this work.
Pro Bono Resource Center of Maryland, Inc.
Pro Bono Resource Center provides legal assistance, recourse information and education to Baltimore City homeowners at risk of foreclosure to delinquent real property taxes or water bills. The Tax Sale Prevention Project includes training and engaging volunteer attorneys and housing counselors to assist Baltimore residents at risk of tax sale; citywide tax sale prevention clinics; presentations at community educational events; promotion of the TaxSaleHelpBaltimore.com online tool and targeted outreach via postcard. This grant provided support for staff and project expenses associated with the Tax Sale Prevention Project.
For over a decade, Rebuild Metro (formerly TRF Development Partners) has been building market stabilizing affordable housing in East Baltimore to create opportunity and wealth for low-income residents. The organization renovates vacant houses and builds new product for rent and for sale through their partnership with BUILD and local churches, sustaining both local construction jobs and small contractor businesses. Abell grant funding will be used to complement city and private funds toward implementation of the Vision Plan for Johnston Square.
Scholars Strategy Network
The Scholars Strategy Network (SSN) was created to channel the expertise of America’s top scholars to help solve the nation’s toughest policy problem. Now including 1,500 scholars in 270 universities in 48 states, SSN is poised to launch a Baltimore chapter. This grant will support SSN’s effort to organize and convene local Baltimore scholars, particularly at UMBC and Morgan State University, and connect them with training and resources to engage more effectively in local policy efforts.
Southeast Community Development Corporation
Southeast CDC will continue to implement an eviction prevention program called “Family Stability for our Community Schools” in Southeast and East Baltimore. The program is based on a national model combining intensive casework, connection to resources and emergency funding, aimed at preventing families and children from the destabilizing effects of eviction, successive moves, change in schools and homelessness. The need for this type of program has become more urgent with COVID as work hours have been cut or eliminated, past due bills accumulate and compounding this, many immigrant families served through the program cannot take advantage of public benefits offered to citizens.
Venture For America
Venture for America strengthens entrepreneurship, business formation, and economic growth by attracting top talent students to work in start-up and early-stage companies. Since 2013, VFA has placed 127 Fellows in Baltimore City for two-year followships with more than 60 high-growth companies and startups, and they have supported the launch of nine Fellow-founded companies. Of 15 participating cities, Baltimore is the second largest program and boasts the second highest post-Fellowship retention rate.
Whitelock Community Farm, Fiscally Sponsored by Fusion Partnerships, Inc.
Whitelock Community Farm, over its 10 year history, has harvested over 40,000 pounds of organic produce. Distribution sites include a Reservoir Hill farm stand, neighborhood mobile market sites, community supported agriculture (CSA) program, a city wide farmers market and local restaurants. This grant provided support for infrastructure upgrades will allow the Farm to maximize food production, minimize food waste, expand outreach to youth in the community, and increase sales.