The wave of violence that swept Baltimore in 2015 continues to engulf our city. We witnessed 318 homicides in 2016, making it the second-deadliest year in the city’s history, and we saw increases in nonfatal shootings. The trauma associated with this violence has left a deep mark on our communities and, particularly, our children. It strains relationships and resources. It fuels anger and hopelessness. And it compels us to act.
In 2016 we helped launch the Johns Hopkins-Baltimore City Police Collaborative for Violence Reduction to promote more effective policing and continued our support of Safe Streets, an evidence-based model of crime prevention. We supported justice reinvestment efforts, expanded a mediation program for police and youth, and issued a report on the necessity for bail reform to help reduce the number of our citizens held in jail without trial.
We know that violence is most rampant in neighborhoods deeply affected by poverty, disinvestment, and isolation. The work profiled in these pages illustrates actions we have undertaken to address inequities and facilitate meaningful opportunities. These efforts include providing vision care for students; offering essential resources to immigrant families; supporting healthy food access and community markets; resolving student loan debt; building a pipeline for early college access; securing earned assets to help build wealth; and laying the foundation for an equitable transition to clean energy.
We face many challenges in Baltimore. But the Abell Foundation is fortunate to work with individuals, organizations, and companies that are building a brighter future for the city through their creativity, collaboration, and commitment. These programs and partners offer vital reminders of Baltimore’s collective power and capacity to affect change.
We are proud to share this report of our activities in 2016.