William G. Baker, Jr. Memorial Fund


The William G. Baker, Jr. Memorial Fund was established in 1964 by Mary S. Baker in memory of her husband. Awarding grants that range from $1,500 to $45,000 the Baker Fund continues its founders’ civic-minded philanthropic tradition benefiting the residents of the greater Baltimore area. The Baltimore Community Foundation has managed the Baker Fund’s grants program since 1985.

Board of Governors

Connie E. Imboden, President
Gwen Davidson
Laura L. Gamble
Steven G. Ziger


Cultural organizations (or their fiscal agents) serving the Baltimore area that qualify as public charities under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code and do not discriminate on the basis of race, creed, national origin, political persuasion, age, physical handicap, gender or sexual orientation.

Typical Grants



The William G. Baker, Jr. Memorial Fund believes that arts and culture play a central role in the development and growth of healthy individuals and thriving communities and commits its resources to promote and sustain a vibrant arts and culture sector in metropolitan Baltimore. Its grants support organizational effectiveness, promote local artists and their work, and provide cultural experiences that welcome people of all backgrounds, enhance residents’ lives, and strengthen the region’s sense of cohesion and identity.


  • Enrich metropolitan Baltimore life
  • Support a lively creative environment
  • Deepen civic connections and engagement through arts and culture
  • Ensure that programs are inclusive and outreach efforts broad
  • Sustain a healthy cultural ecosystem
  • Provide funding opportunities to strengthen the programs and practices of organizations that offer significant cultural experiences, foster sector cooperation and alliances and sponsor an artist awards initiative that supports and promotes local artists through a nonprofit intermediary

Funding Priorities

1.Strengthening Organizational and Artistic Practices

  • Capacity programs to improve internal organizational and management practices—including board training, strategic planning, fundraising and marketing expertise, budgeting and financial planning, program planning, professional development, technology upgrades and training and operating support for key partners.
  • With submission of a full proposal, qualified applicants may apply for a working capital reserve or fixed asset replacement reserve grant requiring a 1:1 match. See Reserve Funds Grant Application.
  • Occasional capacity requests from arts magnet schools
  • Professional development programs for the benefit of practicing metropolitan Baltimore artists
  • Small grants for facility enhancements (not renovations)

2. Innovative Programs

  • Innovative programming initiatives and projects from organizations with budgets larger than $75,000 to present or exhibit the work of professional artists that will deepen audience engagement or engage new audiences.
  • Small grants (up to $1,500) to present or exhibit the work of professional artists/performers that will deepen audience engagement or engage new audiences.  Eligibility: organizations with budgets under $75,000 which operate as nonprofits or are under the auspices of a fiscal agent and individuals using a fiscal sponsor. Application Process: History of presenting organization, description of project, most recent year-end organizational budget, project budget, Data Arts Profile in Baker format, and IRS Determination Letter. Letter of Inquiry required.  Applications accepted year-round.

3. Cultural Sector Collaboration

    • Strategic alliances that support collaboration and cooperation across the cultural community and strengthen organizational abilities to work at the highest levels.

The Baker Fund does not generally support the following types of requests:

  • Arts programs and projects that use the arts as a mechanism to achieve other ends, such as community development, health, social justice, arts education or youth development objectives
  • Multi-year funding, annual appeals, event sponsorships, capital (except for its Working Capital or Fixed Asset Replacement Reserve Fund Programs) or endowment campaigns
  • Replacement of decreased public sector funds
  • Services outside the greater Baltimore area

No grants will be made for religious purposes or directly to individuals.

How to apply

Please submit a two-page letter of inquiry with basic background on your organization including current operating budget, the identified need(s) your project proposes to address, an overview of the proposed project, and the amount you intend to request. Letters of inquiry must be received one month prior to the proposal deadline(s) listed below and may be mailed or sent by email to:

William G. Baker, Jr. Memorial Fund
c/o Melissa Warlow
Director of the Baker Funds Grants Program
Baltimore Community Foundation
2 East Read Street
Baltimore, MD 21202

If there is a match between your project and the mission of the William G. Baker, Jr. Memorial Fund, you will be invited to submit a full application.


  • December 20, 2019 for consideration at the March 5, 2020 board meeting
  • March 13, 2020 for consideration at the May 14, 2020 board meeting
  • July 10, 2020 for consideration at the September 17, 2020 board meeting
  • October 2, 2020 for consideration at the December 10, 2020 board meeting

Special notes

If you are invited to submit a proposal, please complete the following:

  1. Grant applicants must complete a Data Arts Profile and receive a “review complete” status. To allow maximum time for your profile review, enter data from your most recently completed fiscal year as soon as your board-approved audit or financial statement is available.
  2. Download the Baker Fund Application Form and fill out as indicated.
  3. Download a Grant Evaluation Chart and fill out as indicated.
  4. Email your application to Melissa Warlow. Send each document as a separate attachment.
  5. If submitting a full proposal, you may also apply for the Reserve Fund Grant Program. Download the Reserve Fund Grant Application and if qualified, fill out as indicated.



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


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Select this option if you have never used our website to apply for a grant from BCF.


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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.

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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.