After two years of COVID, the pandemic began to fade from our daily lives in 2022, but not without lingering effects. From learning loss in our schools to deepened health and economic disparities, COVID exacerbated many of the challenges Baltimore has long faced. As a consequence of Baltimore’s legacy and stubborn reality of structural racism and segregation, these burdens fell much more heavily on the city’s Black and Brown residents – particularly those with the fewest opportunities and resources. At the same time, the receding pandemic renewed the optimism, dedication, and creativity of the thousands of individuals and organizations dedicated to creating a better future for our city.
At Abell, we are fortunate to be able to support many of these groups and the work they engage in, whether they are providing direct services to Baltimoreans in need or advocating for systemic change in City Hall or the State House. In this report, we have profiled several of these groups, providing a snapshot of the many ways Baltimoreans are working to help their neighbors secure stable housing, better jobs, brighter futures for their children, and for those who need one, a second chance.
In 2022, Abell continued its leadership in mission and impact investing designed to grow jobs and create a brighter economic future in Baltimore. In this report, we tell the story of a mission-related investment, inspired by the Foundation’s commitment to advancing public education in Baltimore City and informed by Abell’s experience in community development. The sale of the Astor Court apartments capped a successful experiment in providing high quality, affordable housing for Baltimore City schoolteachers, a model that has since been replicated by the private sector.
We also summarize the findings of an Abell report seeking solutions to one of the most difficult barriers nonprofit service providers face in Baltimore: the longstanding problem of delays in city reimbursement, which can make it difficult for community-based programs to serve residents. Our research documented reimbursement delays of a year or more and has led to advocacy for reform and renewed dialogue with the city about how to solve what all sides agree is a difficult and long-standing challenge.
Meanwhile, we have worked to directly support innovative approaches to bettering the lives of Baltimoreans. Nearly 50 recipients of Abell funds were first-time grantees in 2022, up by a quarter from the year before. Helping to support those whose passion and lived experience give them a unique ability to make a difference in the city has long been core to Abell’s mission.
Baltimore’s complex challenges are deeply rooted, but so are the knowledge and passion within our community to address them. We are proud to share the stories of a few of the groups and initiatives Abell supported in 2022.