Empowering Youth Leaders and Supporting Social Justice

Following the Baltimore uprising in April,  BCF participated in a youth leadership and  philanthropy meeting hosted by the Annie E.  Casey Foundation. During that meeting, we  heard from many of Baltimore’s youth that  they were interested in building youth leadership, empowering the youth  voice for social justice and increasing youth engagement opportunities.

For over twenty-five years, BCF has focused on supporting ways to engage  residents of all ages in communities in Baltimore City and County through our Neighborhood Grants Program, but one area that continues to be a  challenge is getting older adult residents to engage youth residents, get their  perspectives and provide opportunities for the youth to take a leadership role  in things that impact not only the community but their individual lives.

The Baltimore Community Foundation aims to increase the livability of Baltimore neighborhoods and develop and support community leaders to be advocates for issues that are important to them. The Annie E. Casey Foundation aims to build the capacity of leaders to achieve better results, transform disinvested neighborhoods, and raise awareness of critical issues impacting communities. It’s a natural fit for the two foundations to work together to build leadership and engagement opportunities for Baltimore’s young people.

With financial support from the Casey Foundation, BCF has created the Youth Leadership for Change grant program that will provide not only funding, but networking, training and technical assistance opportunities to youth-led and -driven nonprofit organizations in Baltimore. Grants of up to $10,000 each will support projects and/or programs targeted at addressing issues in the community, projects that foster new youth leaders or improve existing leadership in the community, and that build the confidence, knowledge, skills, and collective leadership of youth while addressing the root causes of injustice and inequity in their lives.

But these grants go beyond the dollars. In addition to providing funding, BCF will provide the grant recipients the opportunity to build their organizational and individual skills. Through trainings and workshops, technical assistance, networking and the convening of Baltimore’s youth and adult leaders, BCF will help to build a youth leadership pipeline that empowers our youth leaders and helps prepare them to be a voice for our city.

There’s an old quote that says, “keep true to the dreams of our youth.” If we want to know the dreams of our youth, we must ask them. If we want to help our youth fulfill their dreams, we must empower them. If we want Baltimore to thrive, it must be a place where people of all ages, races and backgrounds have an opportunity to be heard and where resources are offered that translate ideas into action.

Learn more about this grant program on our Neighborhood Grants Program web page.


+ posts
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on email

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:


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.


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


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