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The following grants are in excess of $5,000 and were awarded in 2020.
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 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
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
Criminal Justice & Addiction
Baltimore Police Department
Funding from the Abell Foundation will assist the Baltimore Police Department and the City of Baltimore in reducing homicides and nonfatal shootings through the planning, implementation, evaluation and institutionalization of focused deterrence. Focused deterrance is a strategy based on an intensive partnership of law enforcement, community members and social service providers, who collectively engage with the small and active number of people involved in violent street groups. It pairs a credible message against violence and prior notice about the consequences of further violence with a genuine offer of help to those who want it.
Charm City Care Connection
Abell Foundation support will allow CCCC to open a daytime Harm Reduction Drop-in Center (HRDC) for people with a substance use disorder to provide a safe space to access needed services and support. The HRDC will include low barrier and easy to access services, including the following:syringe exchange,fentanyl test strip distribution, naloxone distribution, community meals and case management.
From Prison Cells to PhD, Inc
From Prison Cells to PhD was created in 2016 to help people with criminal convictions obtain employment and/or postsecondary education (PSE). Clients receive workforce development training, career readiness skills, college application/readiness assistance, and 1-2 years or more of mentoring. Funding from the Abell Foundation will support its Prison to Professional (P2P) program providing these services to individuals recently released from the Baltimore City Detention Center (BCDC). P2P will serve 80 individuals in several cohorts over the next year virtually and if restrictions allow at some point in-person. Components of the P2P Program include the following: (1) An 8-week workshop; and (2) Ten months of case management which includes weekly peer mentoring, executive coaching, and tutoring.
Helping Oppressed People Excel (HOPE), Fiscally Sponsored by Fusion Partnerships, Inc.
HOPE is a descendant of the Public Safety Compact (PSC), a justice reinvestment agreement between the State of Maryland and the Safe and Sound Campaign. One of the PSC graduates is Antoin Quarles-El, a PSC graduate and founding member of the PSC Core Action Team – that led advocacy and peer-to-peer support for PSC participants. After the closure of the PSC, Mr. Quarles-El would not let the network falter and founded HOPE to provide continued peer support and connection to resources for fellow returning citizens. Funding from the Abell Foundation will allow HOPE to continue its work with approximately 15-21 individuals weekl. During the pandemic, HOPE mentorship has continued using phone calls and video-conferencing, providing an important social contact and support for its clients. Peer mentors keep in regular touch with members outside of weekly meetings too, checking-in on their status, health, and any new challenges or milestones.
Job Opportunities Task Force
The Job Opportunities Task Force (JOTF) works to develop and advocate policies and programs to increase the skills, job opportunities, and incomes of low-skill, low-income Maryland workers and to dismantle the criminalization of poverty. Funding from the Abell Foundation will support JOTF's management of a Community Bail Fund to release individuals being held on an unaffordable bail from the Baltimore City Detention Center and to ensure their appearance for court. In addition, JOTF case managers will provide supportive services to assist clients with successful reentry.
Johns Hopkins School of Public Health
Drug checking services (Check-It) will be offered in a mobile van during 4-5, 4-hour sessions a week targeting Baltimore City neighborhoods with high rates of overdose identified through mapping drug arrest and overdose data. Testing will take approximately 2 minutes per sample and the results will be provided verbally to the participant. After providing the results, staff will engage in micro-counseling around overdose risk, with information tailored to the participant’s knowledge and practices. Staff will also provide participants with ancillary services i.e., fentanyl test strips, naloxone, as well as referrals to services as needed.
Morgan State University Foundation
Funding from the Abell Foundation will support Morgan State University's evaluation of the pilot aerial surveillance program implemented by the Baltimore Police Department. The purpose of this program evaluation is to provide an objective, evidence-based evaluation analysis as to the effectiveness of aerial surveillance in support of crime and violence reduction in Baltimore City.
Office of the Public Defender
The Digital Forensics Lab will serve OPD clients who may have exonerating evidence or other valuable data on their mobile devices or social media accounts that are not available to or disclosed by the prosecution. In addition to potentially reducing outside expert fees for digital forensics analysis and testimony, this project will allow for an increasingly important avenue of investigations that is currently untapped. With support from the Abell Foundation, OPD can obtain the equipment, software, and training needed to conduct in-house data digital investigations, including: cell phone data extraction; internet, social media and cloud-based tracking and analysis; and mapping of digital data.
Second Chance for Women, Fiscally Sponsored by Fusion Partnerships, Inc.
Second Chance for Women (SCW) operates in the Maryland Correctional Institution for Women (MCIW) and was founded in 2009 by Mary Joel Davis. Currently, Second Chance helps women prepare for their parole hearings on a one to one basis. This one on one support and mentoring is obviously ideal, but it does not scale. Funding from the Abell Foundation will support SCW to create an accessible and user friendly parole handbook to expand their outreach in the prison system through distribution of the handbook in the prison libraries and in workshops conducted by Second chance and other reentry providers in the facilities.
Tuerk House, Inc.
Tuerk House is State Licensed and Joint Commission accredited and offers a full continuum of drug treatment programs, from inpatient residential withdrawal management to halfway house as well as intensive and standard outpatient services. Funding from the Abell Foundation will support the Tuerk House's four-stage renovation project to improve and expand its 75 year old structure. The entire renovation process will increase TH’s overall capacity from 73 to 104 beds, create improved dining and group spaces, and add nursing and counseling offices.
University of Maryland Medical System Foundation
In 1998, Dr. Carnell Cooper created the Violence Prevention Program (VPP), after repeatedly treating victims and perpetrators of violence admitted into the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center. The VPP is a hospital-based violence-intervention program that assists victims of violent injuries to reduce recidivism and hospital costs. Victims receive immediate assessment at the bedside from a social worker and/or caseworker, who assists with linkage to necessary resources and social support. Funding from the Abell Foundation will support the on-going expansion of the VPP program to the University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC) Emergency Departments at the Downtown and Midtown campuses.
Chesapeake Climate Action Network
Chesapeake Climate Action's “Rebuilding Baltimore’s Workforce” initiative will advocate for a domestic Marshall Plan to create new jobs for unemployed and newly unemployed residents in Baltimore City. The intiiative builds on their track record of success in creating local jobs and job training efforts that address the global crisis of climate change. Massive urban investments to weatherize low-income homes, plant trees, and train workers for the solar and wind power and cleaner transportation jobs is intended to restart the economy and provide living wage jobs.
Maryland Sierra Club, Fiscally Sponsored by Sierra Club Foundation
The Maryland Sierra Club launched a "Clean Transportation Initiative" to focus on transportation priorities which directly affect climate change, public health and economic development. Over the next year with operational support from the Abell Foundation, Maryland Sierra Club proposes to publish a short report and build a broad coalition to advocate for increasing mass transit, electrifying the bus fleet, and accelerating adoption of low- and zero- emission vehicles in Baltimore City to exceed a statewide goal to reduce climate pollution 40% by 2030.
Baltimore Office of Promotion and the Arts
Baltimore Office of Promotion and the Arts is the fiscal host for the Baltimore Artist Emergency Relief Fund, a dedicated fund established for one time grants of $500 to Baltimore City resident artists over the age of 18 of any discipline and creative professionals who've lost income due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Many artists rely on public events to sell/perform their art, and suddenly lost their income due to social distancing requirements. An advisory committee reviewed and approved applications and framework based on a clear selection criteria. This grant provided support for direct grants to local artists.