West Baltimore Renaissance Foundation Quarterly Newsletter - Spring 2024


Building Organizational Capacity

Capacity building is an important component of the WBRF’s work in West Baltimore. We want to help organizations achieve their mission, get stronger and improve the ways they can support the community. WBRF is pleased to have three strategies underway to build the capacity of organizations serving West Baltimore:

1. Workshops and cohorts for grantees: MD Nonprofits, an organization supporting the nonprofit sector in Maryland, is launching a two-year series of 12 workshops for all WBRF grantees. The workshops will offer new content such as Financial Risk Management and Grant Reporting. They will also host focused cohorts for a subset of organizations focused on Fundraising and Sustainability in 2024 as well as a session for midlevel Executive Directors in 2025. MD Nonprofits offers programming for all nonprofits but has created this strategy for WBRF grantees. Learn more about MD Nonprofits

2. Supporting the BLK ED Network, a membership-based network empowering Black executive directors as they navigate the systemic challenges in the nonprofit sector by providing access to the community, capital and equitable development growth opportunities. Their work is statewide, but they have included a share of participants whose organizations are based in West Baltimore. A new cohort is expected to launch in October and will cover a wide range of trainings, conversations and capacity-building activities. To learn more about the BLK Leadership Accelerator Program and find out how you can be a part of our next cohort, please reach out to info@theblackednetwork.org

3. Supporting/Hosting Innovation Works at the Factory. Innovation Works helps rebuild neighborhood economies through social entrepreneurship and impact investing. Their work provides entrepreneurs in Baltimore City with the necessary resources and support they need to start, grow and scale their enterprises. Offerings are tailored to each entrepreneur, giving them the personalized support and resources needed to succeed.  Innovation Works offers two in depth cohort-based trainings, including Accelerator and Boost and will be basing their work at the Factory when it opens. For more information: https://iwbmore.org/  

Factory Update

Our new home - and that of many amazing organizations - has been delayed for more than a year because of community-wide water pressure challenges. We are pleased to report that through the support of the Mayor’s Office, multiple city agencies including DOT, BCFD, DPW and Planning, local elected officials including Councilman Bullock, community leaders, and our planned tenants, water pressure issues have been solved.

We are currently awaiting permits from the City to finish Phase 2 of the building, which we anticipate opening later this year! WBRF is actively fundraising for Phases 3 and 4 that will include two additional tenant suites and the kitchen that will come online at a future date.   

Golf Tournament

West Baltimore Renaissance Foundation was pleased to partner with the NFL Alumni Baltimore Chapter and LifeBridge Health for the third annual Tournament of Community Champions charity golf event. The annual event raises funding for youth programs and services and was held on June 10 at Green Spring Valley Hunt Club. Through the tournament, we highlight one of the amazing organizations supporting youth in the community. 

This year, we spotlighted the Ed Reed Foundation for their 20 years of support to the Booker T. Washington Middle School, their partnership with the SEED School of Maryland, and ongoing efforts to build the Ed Reed House to provide sustaining services in the Upton Community. Many thanks to our event sponsors and donors including CFG Bank, Berkeley Research Group, Parsons Extreme Golf, Precision Pro Golf Company, THB Bagelry and Deli, CareFirst, Comcast Business, Red River, Platinum Crush, MOI and SitOnIt Seating

Save the Date – Grace Medical Center Community Day

On Saturday September 14, 2024, Grace Medical Center will host its annual community day in partnership with area neighborhoods, churches and nonprofit organizations. A variety of free health services and screenings, vendors, food, games and activities will be available. 

Please reach out to Sherri Kronthal (skrontha@lifebridgehealth.org) for more information or to request to be part of the event.   

Grantees in the News!

Baltimore’s WMAR highlights the Food Project’s learner’s permit program.  https://www.wmar2news.com/local/i-had-no-id-no-birth-certificate-nothing-the-food-project-is-helping-solve-this-problem

Cardin, Van Hollen Announce Over $17 Million in Direct Investments including $1 million for 4MyCIty and $355,000 for the Goucher Prison Education Partnership Cardin, Van Hollen Announce Over $17 Million in Direct Investments for Greater Baltimore Region in Second FY24 Funding Package - U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (senate.gov)

Light Health and Wellness receives $850,000 from Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen https://www.cardin.senate.gov/press-releases/cardin-van-hollen-announce-over-56-million-in-direct-investments-for-greater-baltimore-region-in-senate-passed-fy24-funding-package/  

Parity and Innovation Works awardees among JP Morgan Chase $8 million commitment to Baltimore https://www.thebaltimorebanner.com/community/housing/jpmorgan-chase-affordable-housing-FGRPVDTSKVFBHOVUSUSJNQK6TQ/

Wide Angle Youth Media receives a $2 million Yield Giving grant! https://www.wypr.org/wypr-news/2024-03-19/five-baltimore-nonprofits-win-2-million-grants-from-philanthropist-mackenzie-scott 

WJZ-TV highlights Turnaround Tuesday’s new location in Southwest Baltimore and legislative accomplishments. https://www.cbsnews.com/baltimore/news/maryland-ex-offenders-soon-wont-have-to-pay-parole-fees-heres-why/ 

Daisa Johnson Joins WBRF

On March 18, we welcomed Daisa Johnson to our team as the new administrative and building coordinator.  For the last few years, Daisa has served as a public advocate for fiscal sponsorships, non-profits, the youth and mental health. Daisa enjoys giving back to the community and showing up for those in need. After working with the Baltimore Civic Fund, and BHS, Daisa knows and feels so much joy and is fueled with passion from helping others. Daisa also enjoys art museums and food adventures. She is also an animal lover with an 8-year-old chihuahua named Romeo and 3-year-old husky named Saint. Feel free to reach out to Daisa at djohnson33@lifebridgehealth.org if you have any questions or just want to chat and connect as she loves a good matcha or ice coffee.  

Grantee Spotlight – Unlimited Potential

Unlimited Potential was launched in 2021 because the founder, Haneef Hardy, is the kind of adult he needed as a young person. By ten years old, Haneef was homeless. His teacher adopted him because his mother was no longer able to care for him and his siblings. The program’s “be who you needed when you were a kid” motto was inspired by his own life experiences.  

Unlimited Potential's program is designed to empower and support older elementary-age youth from 3rd to 5th grade. The program operates four days per week from 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm at the Robert C. Marshall Recreation Center. The after-school component of Unlimited Potential offers homework help, exposure to the arts including visual art, music, dance and theater, field trips, entrepreneurship, mentoring and sports. Monthly offerings include barbershop talks and haircuts for young men, salon talks for young women and quarterly community field days.  

Their recent father-child basketball game was highlighted on Fox news Father and son basketball game: Empowering local Baltimore youth (foxbaltimore.com) 

Center for Hope – PAAVE Program

The PAAVE (Pathways to Advocacy Against Violence Everyday) program, operated by the Center for Hope, stands as a beacon of support for individuals affected by community trauma or violence. This community-based initiative offers a comprehensive range of services including case coordination, support groups, workshops and access to vital resources. With a commitment to inclusivity, PAAVE ensures no member of the community is left behind, catering to the needs of youth, elders and everyone in between. 

Through strategic partnerships with organizations like the Grace Violence Response Team, PAAVE addresses pressing issues such as gun violence, providing assistance with burial needs and fostering safe resolutions for affected individuals and families. In 2023 alone, PAAVE, in collaboration with GVRT, served 200 survivors of violence, showcasing its impactful role in healing, prevention and advocacy within the community.

To discover more about the PAAVE program, visit the Center for Hope website https://www.lifebridgehealth.org/main/center-for-hope 

Newly Awarded Grants

  • Baltimore Community ToolBank, Small Neighborhood Grant, $2,500
  • Baltimore SquashWise, Youth Mentoring, $100,000
  • Biotechnical Institute of MD, Workforce Development, $100,000 
  • B-360, Youth Mentoring, $50,000 
  • Hollins Roundhouse Association, Small Neighborhood Grant, $2,500
  • Intersection of Change, Food Access, $75,000
  • Parks & People Inc., Youth Mentoring, $135,000 
  • Pigtown Climb, Population Health $10,000 
  • UEmpower of MD, Food Access, $125,000 
  • United Way of Central Maryland, Small Neighborhood Grant, $2,500
  • VSP, Workforce Development, $300,000 

Program and Recruiting Opportunities

Byte Back: Offering no-cost digital literacy training and entry-level tech training for adult learners aged 18 and older. Our courses require no prior experience with computers. This training prepares you for employment by equipping you with the necessary technical skills to succeed in the workforce. Our certification training is designed to prepare you for entry into the rapidly expanding tech sector by providing the foundational knowledge required for future success. Please apply now at https://byteback.org/ We look forward to having you join Us.  

Code in the Schools hosts free computer science and technical training programs for Baltimore City youth ages 14 and up. Prodigy is our after-school computer science program for high school students takes place in the Fall and Spring Semester--more information about our upcoming programs can be found here: https://www.codeintheschools.org/prodigy-program. In partnership with Johns Hopkins, DataTrail is a no-cost, paid 14-week educational initiative for young-adult, high school and GED-graduates. DataTrail aims to equip members of underserved communities with the necessary skills and support required to work in the booming field of data science. Information about the program and registering for the next cohort can be found here: https://www.datatrail.org/.  

Higher Achievement is looking for mentors for 5th-8th grader scholars at three Baltimore City schools (Highlandtown #237, Lakeland and Mt. Royal). Mentors work in small groups of three-to-four students for one hour a week. Volunteers will receive training and curriculum to support their experience. You can get involved as a mentor, and learn more about Higher Achievement, by visiting this link!  

Join us for Camp SquashWise – a summer camp during the month of July for BCPSS students entering 6th-9th grades! Our day camp includes fun racquet games, squash instruction, field trips and general summer fun. No prior squash experience necessary! For more information, email Zach Bradley.

Mentoring Male Teens in the Hood has a STEM camp from July 8 thru August 9 from 9-4 pm daily. Male youth between the ages of 8 and 18 are eligible to participate.  For further information please call 410-852-8013

Per Scholas: Our hands-on, tuition-free technical training equips you with the skills and knowledge needed to kickstart your technical career with confidence. But that's just the beginning – we're here to support you every step of the way. From personalized assistance with job attainment to expert guidance in professional development, financial coaching and effective case management, our dedicated team is committed to your success. Plus, with our flexible options including both hybrid and fully remote boot camp-style training, you can choose the learning format that best fits your needs and schedule.  Visit our website at www.perscholas.org/baltimore to explore our tech training tracks and register for our next virtual information session. Unlock your potential today!  For more information contact: Charee Grover at (410) 387-8882 or baltimore@perscholas.org

Run Up To Juneteenth 5k Run/1mi Walk (RUTJ) is open to the public. This is a health & wellness community event that is the Baltimore City kickoff to our beloved AFRAM celebration! The SEED School MD’s RUTJ is on Sunday, June 9 at West Covington Park. Participants will run or walk over the iconic Hanover Street Bridge to bring awareness and critical funds to SEED’s College Transition and Success Program. This year we are also offering a $500 prize to the school in the SB6 with the most participants on their team!

Urban Alliance connects high school students and recent graduates to careers through paid internships – up to 500 hours, one-on-one mentorship, planning support and professional development. Recruitment is underway and applications are now open. To learn more about Urban Alliance and begin the application process, visit: https://www.urbanalliance.org/.

Vehicles for Change strives to support individuals facing multiple barriers to employment, especially returning citizens, by allowing them to earn a living wage as certified auto technicians. Our program, Full Circle Auto Repair and Training Center, offers a three-month paid internship with guaranteed job placement after the program. For more information and to submit an interest form, please visit FullCircleAutoTraining.org