Our Strategy

Our Focus: Schools & Neighborhoods

BCF’s strategic grantmaking is focused on schools in neighborhoods where housing remains affordable and which offer some amenities like access to public transit, local businesses and green space, but need additional investment. We support schools with funding for enrichment programs that nurture academic excellence and expand opportunities for young people, as well as early childhood programs like Judy Centers, which provide educational, health and social services for families with children ages birth – 5 to promote school readiness. Grants to schools and school partners are paired with ones to community development organizations and nonprofits working collaboratively to build cleaner, greener, and more vibrant neighborhoods around each school, with all of the resources families need to thrive.

Our Context: Race, Equity & Inclusion

Our schools and neighborhoods strategy is guided by the knowledge that profound disparities in opportunity exist between people of color and their white counterparts. We acknowledge the historic and ongoing role that structural racism plays in creating and perpetuating those disparities. That is why we are committed to reducing racial disparities, identifying and combatting structural racism and fostering more equity and inclusion through our strategic grantmaking, impact investing, special initiatives and advocacy.

Our Tools: Grants, Investments, Special Initiatives and Advocacy

Making grants is one way BCF is helping to build a better Baltimore for all. But our capacity to invest in civic projects, pilot new initiatives and be a voice for change are powerful tools as well. We make impact investments in economic and community development projects that have the potential to improve quality of life and equity in our region. When it makes sense to do so, we create and operate special program initiatives to fill a gap or explore a new model to address long-standing, still unsolved challenges. And we recognize that to effect real change, we must operate at the systems level, advocating for public policies that can frame a better future for all of us.

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How Can We Help?

BCF Community Investment Team is here to help. Please fill out the form below with any questions you have and we will respond as soon as possible.

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Alexis Miller

Donor Services Officer

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If you need assistance with Donor Central, please fill out the form below or call (410) 332-4171 with any questions you have and we will respond as soon as possible.

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Dara Schnee

VP of Philanthropy

Contact Dara Schnee, VP of Philanthropy, for a confidential, in-depth consultation about these and other giving options, tax benefits of each and how they can help to achieve your financial and charitable giving goals.

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Nanyamka Hales

Donor Services Officer

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Cathy Brill

Executive Director
Leonard and Helen R. Stulman Charitable Foundation

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Kate Sam

Communications Officer
410-332-4171 ext. 181

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John A. Gilpin

J.D., CAP®,AEP®

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

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.

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.

How Can We Help?

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.