While the 2019 Annual Report looks back at last year, the process of writing this year’s report began at the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic and continued through the nationwide protests that erupted after the deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd. These historic events have gripped our nation. In doing so, they are exposing the inequity in our health systems, the inadequacy of our social safety net, the persistence of racially biased law enforcement, and the overarching legacy of systemic racism.
These issues are not new to Baltimore City nor to the United States. Just five years ago, Baltimoreans were protesting for reforms following the in-custody death of Freddie Gray. In 2020, there is a new and increased urgency around the calls to address racial inequity and disparities. The underlying issues are deeply entrenched and have existed long before the recent headlines. While we have begun to see more deliberate and intentional changes in our city and beyond, we know that it will take years of dedicated effort to fully address and correct.
For decades, the Abell Foundation has partnered with countless individuals and organizations dedicated to improving the quality of life for Baltimoreans, particularly those Baltimoreans who have been historically denied access to opportunity. This year’s Annual Report highlights programs that are meeting the needs of Baltimore’s most vulnerable citizens, advocating for changes to structures and practices that undergird inequality, and supporting residents who are building stronger neighborhoods across our city.
We are proud to share this overview of our work in 2019.