Working To Enhance The Quality Of Life
In Baltimore And In Maryland.

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Past Grants

The following grants are in excess of $5,000 and were awarded in 2020.

Education

Baltimore Corps

$79,000
Baltimore, MD

Relaunched in 2019, the Baltimore City Mayoral Fellowship recruits a cohort of 10-15 graduate and undergraduate interns to work on executive-level projects in City agencies and departments over 10 weeks during the summer. Baltimore Corps, in partnership with the Mayor's Chief of Staff's office, selects, places and oversees programming for the Fellowship, including weekly speaker sessions, community service and a final symposium. The Fellows program aims for 100% completion, 90% level of satisfaction, and hiring of 3 candidates within a year of program completion.  Fellows will reflect the demographics of Baltimore City.

Baltimore Education Research Consortium (BERC)

$200,000
Baltimore, MD

BERC pursues long- and short-term data analysis and research, and subsequently interprets and shares the findings with Baltimore City Public Schools, community leaders, and other stakeholders. This grant will strengthen BERC’s core operating budget, which will support the onboarding of a new executive director and maintain the robust data archives that are the foundation of BERC’s work. 

Baltimore Kids Chess League, Inc.

$40,000
Cockeysville, MD

Sponsored by the Abell Foundation and Baltimore City Public Schools since 2004, Baltimore Kids Chess League (BKCL) offers an academic extracurricular program that serves more than 150 children from kindergarten to 12th grade in 21 schools.  Due to Covid, BKCL has migrated to a new virtual format, using the innovative “Think Like A King” chess software to move students through chess strategy sessions, assigning a chess rating based on each student’s level of play, and effectively matching opponents with an equivalent level of chess skill.  Teams practice weekly under the auspices of trained chess coaches and compete in novice, local, state, and national chess tournaments sponsored by the United States Chess Federation. 

Baltimore Urban Debate League

$26,000
Baltimore, MD

The Baltimore Urban Debate League (BUDL), a national initiative, has reintroduced debate into Baltimore’s public school classrooms over the last two decades as a strategy to engage and inspire students from our city’s most under-resourced schools. BUDL has reached thousands of students from 4th grade to 12th grade, and changed their personal and academic trajectories by helping them discover their voice and reach their potential through debate. This grant will support the expansion of the Debate League to 53 schools (including 11 high schools) and serve over 8,500 students in the 2019-2020 school year.

Baltimore's Promise, Fiscally Sponsored by Fund for Educational Excellence

$275,000
Baltimore, MD

The Summer Funding Collaborative (SFC) is an aligned fund that directs resources to high-quality summer programs for low-income children in Baltimore City. In 2020, the SFC included 13 public and private funders that, collectively, distributed $3.5 million to 74 programs, funding a projected 9,500 seats. This grant includes funding for between 15-20 nonprofit organizations that will be determined in late winter 2021 through the SFC’s request for proposals as well as a fee for Baltimore’s Promise, the SFC’s administrative backbone.

Baltimore's Promise, Fiscally Sponsored by Fund for Educational Excellence

$75,000
Baltimore, MD

Launched by a diverse group of civic leaders in 2014, Baltimore's Promise is a collaboration to create a cradle to career pipeline to success for youth in Baltimore City by coordinating strategy, identifying quality programs, establishing shared outcomes, building public will, and advancing good policy. In Year 6, the work will focus on the expanded implementation of the Grads2Careers occupational training scholarships for graduates from Baltimore City Public Schools, a demonstration of the new Youth Data System, a planning and implementation effort around Young Adult Literacy, a landscape analysis of out-of school programming and a continuation of the Summer Funding Collaborative.  Baltimore's Promise also is serving as the backbone for a $4.3 million fund to support food and other needs in Baltimore as a result of the COVID pandemic.

Carnegie Institution for Science

$25,000
Baltimore, MD

BioEYES is a week-long, hands-on biology unit delivered by Carnegie Institution science outreach educators and co-teaching by City Schools science teachers using live fish as subjects. The program meets the Common Core science standards, and it demonstrates—and prepares teachers for—a student-centered lab approach to science instruction. BioEYES allows Baltimore City 8th grade students and teachers access to the world of high caliber, Nobel Prize-level science. In a recent study (Shuda, Butler, Farber, and Vary, 2015), the authors found significant gains in students’ knowledge and attitudes towards science as a result of BioEYES.
It is expected that up to 2,500 8th grade students and 45 science teachers will experience BioEYES in the 2020/2021 school year via online or in person instruction with a goal to produce 8 new Master Teachers.

Digital Harbor Foundation, Fiscally Sponsored by Fund for Educational Excellence

$38,684
Baltimore, MD

COVID-19 has exposed the lack of both devices, and as importantly, connectivity in the homes of Baltimore City school children. Coordinated by the Fund for Educational Excellence, this grant is part of a City Schools Tech Initiative to pilot the use of mesh-internet installed on the roofs of four high-poverty schools. These cost-effective access nodes tap into school broadband and provide free internet to homes in a four-to-eight-block radius of the school, serving an anticipated 820 students.

Fund for Educational Excellence

$40,000
Baltimore, MD

The Fund for Educational Excellence is a Baltimore-based education intermediary that supports public education through its fundraising and collaboration with Baltimore City Public Schools, community-based research, convening stakeholders, and serving as a fiscal sponsor to education non-profits. This grant will enable the Fund to produce a Transportation report and act on its recommendations in CTE and School Choice, to raise federal and national funding for City Schools, to stewart $25 million as fiscal sponsor to 20 non-profits, and to recognize excellence among school principals. 

Fund for Educational Excellence

$20,000
Baltimore, MD

The Abell-funded Baltimore City Schools report,  "Preparing All Students for Economic and Career Success" (2019) uncovered issues and made recommendations for improving the school system's Career and Technical Education program. As a working group created a four-year Master Plan for CTE, a number of questions arose that required more data collection and analysis. This grant has enabled City Schools to contract with Project Evident to analyze CTE coursework, facilities, teacher recruitment/training and student career interest. Final CTE program recommendations will enable the Master Plan to be complete by Summer 2020.

Green Street Academy, Inc.

$150,000
Baltimore, MD

Green Street Academy, a Baltimore City Charter school for 870 6th-9th grade students, plans to construct and program a 7,000 square foot state-of-the-art STEM Innovation Center facility. This Center is envisioned to be the hub of the school, bringing together CTE programs in Construction, Design and Health, internships and jobs, dual enrollment, college counseling, and collaborative space for school day and afterschool applied learning/making and entrepreneurship programming. The Innovation Lab is expected to open in January 2021, and will serve over 600 students in afterschool, internship and summer programs. 

GreenLight Fund

$250,000
Boston, MA

With the support of over 25 local and national funders, GreenLight Fund will launch GreenLight Baltimore as the 10th city in its growing network. Over the next five years, GreenLight Fund Baltimore will bring 3-4 social innovation non-profits into the city with the potential to fill gaps in Baltimore's social service landscape and make a significant, measurable impact on the lives of low-income residents. GreenLight embeds itself in the local community, engages local partners to identify critical gaps, researches proven nonprofit programs, and then launches and manages selected programs to achieve impact in the Baltimore region.

Improving Education

$75,000
Baltimore, MD

The Abell Foundation has supported the work of Jarrod Bolte and his non-profit, Improving Education, over the last four years as they use improvement science to change the way schools work to improve reading outcomes for children. In 2020/21, City Schools has contracted with Improving Education to launch and faciliate a Networked Improvement Community (NIC) of 19 schools to assist teachers, administrators, and community providers in redesigning instructional and support mechanisms to improve early literacy outcomes for students from K through fifth grade. Working with 40 Literacy Coaches, 200 teachers and 6,000 students, Improving Education will share its literacy protocols in school innovation and early literacy instructional design.  Abell Foundation funds will enable Improving Education to continue some deep coaching work in the 19 schools to inform future practice. Improving Education expects to increase the number of participating students in grades K-5 meeting grade level reading proficiency by 15 percentage points from the beginning to end of year.

NorthBay Education

$200,000
North East, MD

NorthBay Academy is a sixteen-week, residential educational program provided to 300 Baltimore City Public Schools sixth graders during the first semester of the 2020 school year as a response to the Covid pandemic.  Students attending NorthBay Academy will be provided hands-on science instruction, character-building activities, teamwork and challenge based activities, and individualized reading tutoring, alongside their typical routine of virtual instruction provided by their classroom teachers.  The Academy is designed to accelerate student learning and provide educational stability for students whose instruction may be impeded due to the challenges of virtual learning.

Reading Partners

$40,000
Baltimore, MD

Since 2012, Reading Partners has provided high quality literacy tutoring by recruiting, training and supervising comunity volunteers to serve children in Baltimore City elementatary schools. With the support of 650 volunteers and 29 Americorps members, Reading Partners will serve up to 600 K-4th grade studentsin 16 Title I schools  in the 2020/21 school year. While that instruction may be virutal, in person, or a hybrid, Reading Partners expects that 81% of tutored students will meet their primary individualized end of year literacy growth goals.

Safe Alternative Foundation for Education, Inc.

$10,000
Baltimore, MD

The SAFE Center youth facility opened in 2015 in order to provide West Baltimore middle school students with 1,250 hours of supervised, afterschool, weekend, and summer programming annually.  Focusing on learning opportunities in the areas of literacy, STEAM, and health and fitness, the SAFE Center works primarily with students from Franklin Square Elementary/Middle School.  The current Abell Foundation grant is designed to address the challenges with remote learning by establishing an in-person learning pod for 22 middle school students. This learning pod provides students with access to the resources they need to attend school on-line as well as receive assistance from SAFE staff who can provide classwork assistance, monitor work completion, and provide a structured learning environment for the students.

STEM Champions of Baltimore Inc.

$30,000
Catonsville, MD

Over the past seven years, STEM Champions of Maryland has developed as a staging ground to prepare 375 students in 32 middle and high schools throughout the city for competition in numerous STEM based events as a part of the National Science Olympiad competition, the largest broad-based STEM competition in Baltimore.  STEM Champions of Maryland trains teacher coaches to provide robust curricula and materials for each of the 18 Science Olympiad activities.  STEM Champions also brings over 200 STEM professionals and volunteers together to work with teachers in afterschool practices and to facilitate the annual Citywide Science Olympiad competition.

Strong Schools Maryland, Fiscally Sponsored by Fund for Educational Excellence

$35,000
Baltimore, MD

Strong Schools Maryland, founded in spring 2017, is an educational advocacy organization with a goal for an adequately funded education system in which virtually all Maryland students graduate on time from high school. Strong Schools is committed to securing the legislative votes to override the gubernatorial veto of the 2020 Blueprint for Maryland’s Future.  Now, working as a permanent organization, Strong Schools will continue its grassroots statewide advocacy to monitor the full implementation of the Kirwan Commission recommendations.  

Teach for America - Baltimore

$125,000
Baltimore, MD

Teach for America: Baltimore has been recruiting and developing teachers and leaders to expand educational opportunities for Baltimore's children growing up in poverty since 1992.  Today, there are 1,200 Teach for America alumni and teachers in Baltimore--80% continue to engage in work impacting low-income communities.This grant will continue TFA's work in 1. recruiting top talent ( 95 new and diverse teachers--over 50% people of color); 2. building leaders in the classroom, schools and City (a total of 20 TFA principals and 3rd year teacher retention rate of 66%) and 3. Connecting TFA network to accelerate educational outcomes in Baltimore (the 2nd year of a new network strategy engaging alumni in collection impact).

The Community School

$20,000
Baltimore, MD

Certified in 2014 as a small non-public diploma-awarding high school, The Community School in Remington has successfully served struggling students who have failed in Baltimore City Public Schools for over 30 years. This storefront school provides up to 22 14-19 year olds with an interdisciplinary academic and mentoring high school program that reinforces basic skills, while individualized instruction builds knowledge and skills for college, competitive employment, and community contribution. Over 40 volunteers support teachers and work individually with students. The Community School boasts a daily attendance above 95% and a college enrollment rate of 65%.

The Ingenuity Project

$370,000
Baltimore, MD

The Abell Foundation launched The Ingenuity Project for advanced math and science in 1994. Today, Ingenuity prepares and launches the next diverse generation of nationally competitive STEM leaders in Baltimore City Schools, serving 830 students in grades 6-12. This grant will enable Ingenuity to expand and improve access to students of color and students living in concentrated poverty by establishing a community-driven vision and systems to produce equitable outcomes for all students, supporting its new middle school program at James McHenry School in West Baltimore, and refining individualized support and STEM enrichment, including the high school practicum experience for all participants. Ingenuity will continue to serve as the exemplary accelerated math and science program that prepares Baltimore City students for selective colleges and STEM careers, demonstrating both excellence and equity.

The Literacy Lab

$75,000
Baltimore, MD

The Literacy Lab employs a professionalized tutoring workforce that provides one-on-one, small group, and whole group literacy interventions to 690 students annually.  A replication of the acclaimed Minnesota Reading Corps, Literacy Lab embeds rigorously trained reading tutors in PreK classrooms and provides 1:1 tutoring in schools to children in Kindergarten through third grade.  Literacy Lab tutoring participants are between 1.5 to 5 times as likely to be on grade level than students who started at the same grade level and received no tutoring.  Approximately 20% of participating students will achieve literacy benchmarks and end the school year on grade level.

The Urban Alliance Foundation, Inc.

$35,000
Washington, DC

The Urban Alliance Foundation (UA) was founded in 1996 in Washington, D.C. with the goal of providing young people with meaningful work experiences and access to better jobs.  The overarching goal of the Urban Alliance is to equip youth to successfully transition to the working world by providing paid internships, mentoring from an adult professional, case management, trainings focused on college and career skills, and post internship wrap around support.  This current Abell Foundation grant will support their CTE program focused on providing internship placements in the area of construction.  In partnership with employers, the Urban Alliance CTE program prepares high school seniors for careers in construction and related industries through sector-based internships, industry training, professional mentoring, and case management.  

TNTP, Inc.

$50,000
New York, NY

TNTP has recruited, prepared and placed an average of 110 non-traditional teachers annually in Baltimore City Public Schools since 1997. Their efforts, both policy and programmatic, to increase the number of high quality teachers of color entering Baltimore City and Maryland public schools have resulted in a pool that is 50% black and 60% people of color. TNTP will continue its policy work at the State level to successfully adopt new Teacher License regulations that will remove certification barriers and advocate for a legislative grant program that will remove financial barriers for teachers of color.

University of Baltimore Foundation

$50,000
Baltimore, MD

The University of Baltimore School of Law Truancy Court Program (TCP) identifies young people who are at risk for delinquency, substance use, gang involvement, and other behavioral problems linked to truancy and school disengagement.  The primary goal of the TCP is to reduce truancy by reconnecting students and their families with their schools in order to break the school-to-prison pipeline.  The holistic approach utilized by the TCP involves multiple components that include mentoring, continual and consistent follow-up and oversight, tutoring, social services referrals, legal guidance, and the powerful presence of a retired judge who leads the effort. 

Urban Teachers

$100,000
Baltimore, MD

With Abell Foundation start-up funding, Urban Teachers launched a new model of teacher preparation in 2009, recruiting outstanding college graduates, training them in a year-long clinical preparation, providing classroom support over four years, and linking their certification to demonstration of effective teaching practices and student learning gains. In summer 2020, Urban Teachers will begin training another 100 new incoming Resident Teachers who co-teach with mentor teachers for the first year of a four-year commitment. This grant will enable Urban Teachers to embark upon a strategic planning process to reaccess and design a new business and financial model that will garner more earned reveue and reduce costs without impacting program quality. This model will further reduce reliance on philanthropy to 20% of the total budget, and reduce the financial burdens on teacher candidates.

In summer 2020, Urban Teachers will begin training another 100 new incoming Resident Teachers who co-teach with mentor teachers for the first year of a four-year commitment.

Youth Baltimore Uprise, Fiscally Sponsored by Bmore Empowered Inc.

$10,000
Baltimore, MD

Youth Baltimore Uprise (YBU) is a nonprofit, mentoring organization operating in West Baltimore.  The program is targeted at building leadership, social awareness, and social emotional skills for thirty middle school aged youth who live in the Sandtown/Winchester neighborhood.  The mentorship component of Youth Baltimore Uprise entails regular connections between the six founding members and the thirty students they support.  Student participants will regularly have guest speakers addressing a range of topics.  Each month, students participate in a field trip, providing an opportunity for hands on learning outside of the community.