Baltimore County & BCF Partner to Build a Better Region

When County Executive Johnny Olszewski was elected in 2018, his transition team identified BCF as the obvious solution to the problem that there were many individuals and organizations throughout the county that wanted to help build a better region, but that county government simply didn’t have the infrastructure to manage community grant programs. When he presented to BCF’s board of trustees in late 2019, he reiterated this issue and emphasized that he saw BCF as an integral partner to his administration.

Immediately, BCF’s Community Investment Team and the county’s Office of Government Reform & Strategic Initiatives began exploring opportunities to work together, but the collaboration took on new urgency when COVID-19 hit in early 2020. By the end of March, BCF had established the Baltimore County COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund on the county’s behalf. Businesses like BGE and Tradepoint Atlantic joined the Harry & Jeanette Weinberg Foundation and many other generous companies, foundations, and individuals in supporting the Fund.

Two months later, more than $400,000 had been granted to 50 organizations providing remote learning support, mental health services, emergency assistance, and more. “As Baltimore County worked around the clock to protect the health and safety of our residents, we needed to think outside the box in planning our response to this rapidly evolving crisis,” said Olszewski. “We’re most grateful to BCF for providing its expertise and infrastructure, empowering Baltimore County to quickly and strategically evolve our efforts leading a nationally recognized public health response and supporting our neighbors facing food insecurity, the digital divide, and countless other challenges.”

When Baltimore County received funding from the Maryland State Department of Housing & Community Development for pandemic recovery, it turned to BCF again, replenishing the COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund and awarding Nonprofit Recovery Grants to address revenue losses and/or increased operating expenses that local nonprofits experienced during the pandemic. In this second round, the Fund awarded $2.47 million to 65 organizations, with grants ranging from $1,500 to $100,000. Funds supported personal protective equipment purchases, increased food assistance and other services, and upgrades to technology so that organizations could continue serving remotely. The grants also helped organizations bridge budget gaps created when in-person fundraising events and fee-based programs were canceled.

Most recently, Baltimore County and BCF partnered on the Baltimore County Summer Youth Jobs Fund, which provided six weeks of real-world work experience for more than 300 Baltimore County youth, ages 14-21. Young people received job-skills training and coaching, as well as paid work experience at private- and public-sector worksites. For example, the Baltimore County Department of Aging, in partnership with the county’s Summer Youth Employment Program and University of Maryland’s 4-H Extension Program, trained young people to serve as digital mentors for seniors. Not only did these seniors gain access to effective technology training, the intergenerational relationships developed kept young and old socially connected and engaged.

Together, Baltimore County and BCF are showing the power of public-private partnerships to meet the region’s needs efficiently and effectively. As this past year has proven over and over again, we are always stronger together.

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Building Stronger Neighborhoods Regionwide

We have a nearly 30-year history of offering grants to resident-led groups and community projects in Baltimore City and Baltimore County. These grants give residents the resources they need to accomplish a small project, get more people involved, and encourage the next generation of neighborhood leaders. We also fund programs that support the development of leaders of all ages who are working to improve their neighborhoods and schools. Our support is intended to help identify, activate, inform and network leaders. And finally, we believe when schools and neighborhoods team up to improve their school and community, meaningful and lasting change can be made. We are interested in funding proposals in which the students and adults in schools collaborate intentionally with community residents, neighborhood associations, and other individuals, groups, and institutions in the area surrounding a school.

School Leadership

We believe that attracting and retaining effective and diverse school leaders is a key lever for change in Baltimore's educational landscape, and so we fund school leadership development efforts at the district and individual school level. We are interested in funding proposals that focus on principal coaching, mentoring, peer networking, wellness/self-care, as well as pipelines that identify and develop new leaders. We will also continue to support efforts that build a culture of appreciation and encouragement for school leaders.

How Can We Help?

Melissa McC. Warlow
Director, Baker Fund Grants Program
410-332-4172 x150

Apply for a Grant

Our on-line application system provides applicants with a portal to start a new grant application or to continue updating an application already in process. Please be sure to select the “Save and Finish Later” button when you are finished working on your application in order to save your current session’s work. At any time during the application process you can select the “Contact Us” button in the top right corner of the screen and you will be able to send an email to the Baltimore Community Foundation staff with specific questions. 

To be considered for funding, proposals must be submitted through the online application portal, however, we provide a PDF version of the application along with other useful forms here for your reference:   

When you are ready please select one of the following options:

OPTION 1

I have not applied for BCF funding online in the past.
Select this option if you have never used our website to apply for a grant from BCF.

OPTION 2

I previously applied for BCF funding online in the past.
Select this option if you have applied for any of BCF’s grants using our website. Your profile may still be in our system and you may login using your account.

Place-based Grantmaking in Selected School Communities

We have allocated funds for two geographical areas that bookend a crucial corridor on the Westside of Baltimore City: Howard Park /Forest Park area (served by Calvin Rodwell Elementary Middle School and Liberty Elementary), and Reservoir Hill/Penn North area (served by Dorothy I Height Elementary). In these three schools and their surrounding neighborhoods, we will support projects and activities designed to make the communities safe, clean, green and vibrant; and improve the quality of the schools. Some projects may be neighborhood-focused, some school-focused and others collaborative projects between the schools and their respective communities.

Early Learning & Judy Centers

High quality early childhood education has a lifelong effect on students. Through our Early Learning grant program, we are interested in system-wide early childhood education proposals that will help Baltimore City and County's youngest learners, and their families, get the start they need. Nonprofit organizations that offer programs and/or services to Judy Centers are encouraged to contact the centers directly to explore partnership opportunities.

How Can We Help?

John A. Gilpin

J.D., CAP®,AEP®

Director of Planned Gifts
410-332-4171 ext. 132

How Can We Help?

Kate Sam

Communications Officer
410-332-4171 ext. 181

How Can We Help?

Cathy Brill

Executive Director
Leonard and Helen R. Stulman Charitable Foundation