The Neighborhood Grants Program of the Baltimore Community Foundation (BCF) recently awarded $85,647 in grants to 23 community-led projects in neighborhoods across Baltimore City and County.
The BCF neighborhood grants fund a varietyy of projects like community gardens, neighborhood signs, and community festivals that have been proposed by a community organization. They reflect various interests and causes, with each project underlining the value of citizen power in action and how community organizations mobilize residents to complete a neighborhood project, build new leadership, or strengthen existing leadership within neighborhoods.
In Remington, for example, residents are working to provide constructive summer activities for neighborhood youth by organizing a first annual summer science camp. The 10-week program will provide young people with an exciting and enriching outlet during the summer months and into the fall, with lessons on steam engines, hot air balloons, solar ovens, and bio-fuels. The camp will help keep neighborhood youth off the streets and engaged in healthy activity while at the same time providing academic enrichment to combat the summer learning loss.
"The Neighborhood Grants Program is in many ways at the heart of what we do at BCF," says BCF President and CEO Tom Wilcox. "Our support of resident-led efforts to strengthen neighborhoods is a crucial investment in the life of our city, and one central to our vision of a Baltimore with a growing economy where all have the opportunity to thrive."
BCF's Neighborhood Grants Program is supported in part by the William Donald Schaefer Civic Fund at BCF, created in 2008 as a living legacy for Governor Schaefer, one that honors and perpetuates his commitment to Baltimore's neighborhoods.
BCF's 2010 Neighborhood Grants Program awards include:
Better Waverly Community Organization (Abell, Better Waverly) - $5,000
To attract more residents and merchants to Waverly's commercial corridor by designing, publishing and distributing a self-guided historic walking tour brochure focused on the area.
C.A.R.E. Community Association (Middle East) - $5,000
To discourage illegal dumping by reclaiming and beautifying a vacant lot in Baltimore's Middle East neighborhood.
Cherry Hill Community Coalition (Cherry Hill) - $5,000
To engage adults and middle school youth from Baltimore's Cherry Hill neighborhood in establishing the Eat Healthy, Live Healthy Community Garden, which will offer farm shares to community residents.
Duncan Street Miracle Gardens (Broadway East) - $3,892.95
To help this long-standing and successful community garden pursue a rodent abatement campaign.
Edmondson Heights Civic Association (Edmondson Heights) - $2,087.50
To increase neighborhood visibility and resident pride by installing a neighborhood sign in the center of the community.
Fells Prospect Community Association (Fells Prospect) - $4,900
To discourage and reduce littering, graffiti, and crime in the neighborhood by gating a problematic alley and transforming it into a community green space.
Greater Remington Improvement Association (Remington) - $1,384.68
For the first annual Remington Science Summer Camp, a 10-week Saturday workshop series for neighborhood youth that runs from late summer through the first weeks of the school year.
Hanlon Improvement Association (Hanlon-Longwood) - $3,000
To increase the number of active community association members by hosting a day-long forum that will explore neighborhood issues and community building solutions through resident focus groups.
Hezekiah Movement (Roundhouse) - $2,000
To support the Our Families in Healing Program's participation in the SoWeBo Recovery Expo, an event that provides Southwest Baltimore residents with information and resources related to addiction recovery services and drug prevention.
Lutherville Community Association (Lutherville) - $2,357
To improve community cohesion and neighborhood identification by installing a community sign, park benches, and greenery on land that sits at the neighborhood's gateway.
Madison East End Multipurpose Center (Madison East End) - $3,250
To promote healthy eating and exercise among neighborhood youth by conducting interactive workshops that incorporate technology and field trips to address issues of proper nutrition, mental health, and physical fitness..
Milton/Montford Improvement Association (Milton/Montford, Madison East End) - $3,160
To fund a summer peace camp for neighborhood youth, ages 6-13, that offers computer classes, arts and crafts, gardening, leadership development, and field trips.
Monument East Development (Dunbar/Broadway) - $1,300
To promote community pride and resident interaction by holding a Monument East Community Day celebration.
New Greenmount West (Greenmount West) - $4,942.50
To increase community engagement, awareness, and interaction by launching a neighborhood communications campaign that includes the use of community bulletin boards, newsletters, community dinners, new resident welcome packets, and a Greenmount West stories booklet.
Oliver Community Association (Oliver) - $3,500
To promote community involvement and social interaction through two "Evening of Jazz" events, featuring live jazz performances, poetry, art, and local vendors.
Overlea Community Association (Overlea) - $5,000
For the Lead On! Overlea project, a year-long leadership and community organizing training for neighborhood residents.
Richnor Springs Neighborhood Association (Richnor Springs) - $3,000
To improve neighborhood safety through Operation Safelight, a project to install energy efficient light bulbs and timing mechanisms on porch lights of neighborhood homes to ensure that the community's streets are illuminated from "dusk 'til dawn."
Seton Hill Association (Seton Hill) - $4,000
To raise awareness about the neighborhood by holding La Fete Francaise, a free community event with an emphasis on the neighborhood's historic French origins and featuring live music, French-themed food and drink, performers, art displays, and walking tours of neighborhood landmarks.
St. Frances Neighborhood Center (Reservoir Hill) - $4,772.61
To provide information and services to neighborhood residents by hosting the 5th annual Reservoir Hill Resource Fair, which will feature employment, health, and academic vendors in a block party atmosphere.
Stevenswood Improvement Association (Stevenswood) - $5,000
To promote community pride and awareness by installing lamp post street banners featuring the name of the neighborhood, as well as by beautifying the neighborhood gateways with new planters.
Union Square Association (Union Square) - $5,000
To beautify three target blocks in the neighborhood by conducting trash clean-ups and installing and maintaining planters and raised beds for flowers, plants, and trees.
West Edmondale Community Association (Gwynn Oak) - $3,100
To engage residents in a neighborhood-wide clean-up and beautification project by holding a "Motivation Day" contest that will reward blocks claiming the greatest number of participants.
Windsor Hills Neighbors (Windsor Hills) - $5,000
To raise the neighborhood's profile and increase resident pride by cleaning up and beautifying a neighborhood gateway with a community sign, plants, and flowers.
Writer: Walaika Haskins