Our Impact:

Starting Strong with Social Supports 

As we put our strategic plan into action in 2019, we targeted programmatic investments to three school communities and surrounding neighborhoods: Calvin Rodwell Elementary/Middle School in Howard Park, Liberty Elementary School in Forest Park, and Dorothy I. Height Elementary School in Reservoir Hill. We supported schools with funding for capital improvements, support services and enrichment programs that nurture academic excellence and expand opportunities for young people. Grants to schools and school partners were paired with ones to community development organizations and nonprofits working collaboratively to build a cleaner, greener and more vibrant neighborhood around each school.

As we made grants, we reflected on how we might measure long-term impact and ultimately success. One metric that arose immediately was kindergarten readiness. In Baltimore City, just 39% of children are deemed ready for kindergarten and Black and Latino children are less likely to be ready than their white peers as a result of inequitable access to early learning opportunities. BCF has long supported Judith P. Hoyer Early Child Care and Family Education Centers—or Judy Centers, as they are more commonly known, and fortunately two of our target neighborhoods includes one. These centers work closely with schools and often share space in buildings, providing Pre-K classes and wraparound support services for children ages birth through five and their families. The wide range of supports Judy Centers provide include providing food assistance; help securing WIC, SNAP and other government benefits; rapid rehousing/eviction prevention; GED classes; job readiness training and certifications; mental health support; parenting classes and social activities. For the 2018-19 school year, 55% of incoming Baltimore City children with Judy Center experience met kindergarten readiness benchmarks.

At the Dorothy I. Height Judy Center, parents connect with their children and each other in regular playgroups and support groups. “That social emotional piece is so important,” says Crystal Harris, the Judy Center coordinator at Dorothy I. Height, which also has a full-time mental health consultant on staff. “If kids aren’t able to share, aren’t able to express their emotions, are they ready to learn?” Likewise, parents and caregivers need a safe place to release their emotions, venting about challenges and sharing solutions.  “We’re all out here thinking that it’s only ourselves, and really we’re all going through the same thing,” said one parent.

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Dara Schnee

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Nanyamka Hales

Donor Services Officer

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Cathy Brill

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Leonard and Helen R. Stulman Charitable Foundation

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John A. Gilpin


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Happy New Year!

Baltimore Community Foundation will be closed on Martin Luther King, Jr. day. Staff will be working remotely during the month of January, as well. Thank you for your support and we look forward to serving you in 2022.

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.

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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:   

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

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.

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.

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.