This 2014 Annual Report was written in the wake of Freddie Gray’s death and the unrest and violence that followed. For us at the Abell Foundation, as for many of our fellow Baltimoreans, those events cast a spotlight on issues that we wrestle with on a daily basis: urban poverty, racial injustice, neighborhood disinvestment, public safety, youth unemployment, and harmful environmental conditions. These challenges are not new; indeed, their complexity and seeming intractability have been the backdrop of our work for decades. The events of the spring of 2015 have raised their profile, and yet we know that when the national spotlight shifts, as it inevitably will, these challenges will remain.
The Abell Foundation is committed to improving the lives of underserved populations in Baltimore City by supporting innovative, results-oriented efforts to solve systemic social, economic, and environmental problems; providing research to better inform civic conversation about relevant issues; and investing in new businesses and technologies that have the potential to benefit society. Through our grantmaking, research, and investments, the Foundation aims to help break the cycles of urban poverty that wreak havoc on the lives of so many of our fellow citizens.
The work profiled in the pages that follow illustrates some of the creative and successful efforts that are taking place across the city today: tutoring programs that are closing the achievement gap; workforce training programs that are equipping exoffenders for—and placing them in—meaningful jobs; greening initiatives that lower utility bills for seniors on fixed incomes; youth development programs that provide stability and enrichment to homeless youth; and support services for low-income women in need of treatment and a safe place to stay. These programs offer vital reminders of our power and capacity to affect change.
We are proud to share this report of our activities in 2014.