Eric Jackson of Black Yield Institute
Eric Jackson of Black Yield Institute hands out produce at an emergency food distribution

COVID-19 Response Continues

Rapid Response

In March, as a wave of novel coronavirus cases shuttered schools and businesses, BCF rapidly launched the COVID-19 Evolving Community Needs Fund. The Fund was designed to meet immediate, intermediate, and long-range needs arising from what we knew—even then—would be a challenge unlike any we had ever faced. In just a few short months, generous individuals, families, foundations, and corporations contributed nearly $2.2 million to the effort.

The First Phase

In the first phase of our response, from March to June 2020, BCF awarded more than $912,000 to 88 organizations. These grants supported urgent needs like food assistance, credible information distribution, remote learning technology, mental health counseling, and workforce programs, among others. Students and their families, seniors, immigrants, and other vulnerable groups in Baltimore City and Baltimore County were cared for with food and essential supply distributions by a host of nonprofit partners, including The Movement Team in Baltimore City and Student Support Network in Baltimore County. HeartSmiles provided peer-to-peer mental health training for youth leaders, while hundreds of city residents were engaged in workforce development training to serve as contract tracers on the front lines of this global health emergency. COVID-19 Evolving Community Needs Fund grants also supported remote enrichment programming from nonprofits such as Arts Every Day, the Maryland Book Bank, and Improving Education. Those working to combat intimate partner violence and child abuse received additional resources to adapt and respond to people without the option to safely shelter in place. These are only a small sampling of the nonprofits that received support in the first phase of BCF’s COVID-19 Evolving Community Needs Fund grantmaking. A full list can be found at bcf.org/EvolvingNeedsFund. Much of our early grantmaking was conducted through the COVID-19 Response Funding Collaborative of Greater Baltimore. Together, with more than a dozen other funders, we reviewed proposals through a central application portal and were able to leverage our dollars to ensure that our resources had the greatest impact without duplicating efforts. When the Collaborative application process closed as planned in late May, BCF staff began gathering feedback from community partners to develop our strategy for a longer-term response. In July, BCF launched a COVID-19 Response Task Force made up of six BCF board trustees and staffed by Laurie Latuda Kinkel, BCF’s vice president of strategy, to guide future COVID-19 response grantmaking.

The Evolving Need: Education Equity

Almost immediately, the group honed in on the education equity implications of the crisis. Prior to the pandemic, BCF-funded research by The Education Trust had identified dramatic racial gaps in student outcomes, which were the direct result of disparities in school funding and access to opportunities. With the need to pivot to remote learning in the spring, the loss of in-person instruction time and summer programs, and the likelihood that most school systems would remain virtual in the fall, we saw the potential for already unacceptable inequities to be blown wide open. In early September, the COVID-19 Response Task Force awarded $1,000,000 to 24 organizations providing devices, internet connectivity, and technical support; subsidized child care for school-age children; take-home education and recreation kits; and support services like food assistance, rental assistance, and mental health counseling. Among the second-round grantees were community-based organizations like Elev8, which has deep relationships with families and will offer one-on-one and small-group tutoring, as well as home visits, to ensure students remain on track. We also supported organizations reaching especially vulnerable populations, including the Family Crisis Center, which will provide an academic support specialist and devices to children in their emergency shelter and transitional housing center. We look forward to providing more details on the second phase of our COVID-19 response in the coming months, as we strive to ensure every child has the opportunity to learn and sustain emotional, mental, and physical health at a distance.
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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