- Reduced school suspensions by 74% by advocating to rewrite the overly punitive Baltimore City code of conduct, and funding alternatives to student suspension over several years. Addressing harsh and inequitable discipline practices, this work reversed the devastating impact of out-of-school suspensions on student achievement, gradation rates, juvenile arrests, and post-graduation success.
- Supported and encouraged community-based organizations to gather input from Baltimore residents for the Department of Justice investigation of the Baltimore Police Department, which resulted in a consent decree that requires more community engagement and input than any other in the country.
- Launched the Baltimore Buprenorphine Initiative, which introduced a new evidence-based treatment for individuals addicted to opioids and ensured that public and private insurance adequately cover it.
- Reduced the prison population by 25% since 2002 by supporting advocates to advance significant reforms to sentencing, parole, and pretrial guidelines that allowed more people to be released without jeopardizing public safety.
- Created and fostered a network of 230 social entrepreneurs—Community Fellows—who have revitalized communities throughout the city and have founded some of Baltimore’s most effective organizations, including Wide Angle Youth Media, Community Law in Action, Power Inside, Restorative Response Baltimore (formerly Community Conferencing Center), Claypots: A Place to Grow, and The Featherstone Foundation.
- Launched the local news department of WYPR, Maryland’s largest National Public Radio affiliate, which projects a strong sense of place, introduces new voices, and adds critical analysis and depth to local broadcast news coverage.
- As a lead supporter of Baltimore’s Safe and Sound Campaign, helped build a stable network of high-quality after-school programs that engaged more than 20,000 students, providing extended learning opportunities that improve academic, social, and emotional outcomes.
- Worked with the Baltimore City Health Department to establish an overdose prevention program in 2000, which continues to offer training, naloxone distribution, and education about addiction and overdose, saving thousands of lives and training more than 34,000 individuals in overdose prevention and response.
- Reduced school-based arrests by an unprecedented 95% by implementing a school police training institute that defined officer’s roles in schools, and trained officers to use restorative practices to resolve conflict and deescalate student behaviors.
- Created programs to provide returning citizens with vital services, including transitional housing, addiction treatment, mental health care, and job training, which helped reduce recidivism rates from 50% to 36% and improved public safety.
- Launched the Baltimore Urban Debate League (BUDL), which began with 90 students in eight public high schools and went on to engage thousands of students from more than 60 middle and high schools, helping to increase graduation and college attendance rates and fostering some of Baltimore City’s most prominent young leaders.
- Working with the school district, fostered alternatives for students including making it possible for more than 25,000 city students to participate in lively, engaging summer programs to address learning loss, and the Reengagement Center, an innovative one-stop center that actively brings back those students who have become chronically absent or have dropped out of school altogether.
- Fostered a movement that stopped the plan to build a Baltimore City prison to incarcerate youth charged as adults and greatly reduced the number of youth now held in adult jails, reinforcing the message that detained youth need to be in a system that focuses on rehabilitation and can be emotionally harmed in an adult facility.
- Worked with the ACLU to document the need for new school facilities in Baltimore City and advocated for adequate funding to build them, resulting in the $1 billion 21st Century Schools initiative.
- Collaborated to establish specialized groups within Maryland Philanthropy Network (formerly the Association of Baltimore Area Grantmakers) focused on workforce development, education, and addiction to foster interest, collaboration, and expertise among grantmakers in the region.
- Established the free, public Talking About Race series in 2009 to spark crucial and sometimes difficult conversations about how race intersects with our lives. Held dozens of events with prominent guests such as Bryan Stevenson, Sherrilyn and Gwen Ifill, and Taylor Branch.
- Provided funding and advocacy to bring the cutting-edge Bard Early College High School to Baltimore, giving students an opportunity to earn a no-cost college associate degree during their high school years. Over half of the students graduate with a Bard College Associate Degree along with their high school diploma.
- Created and supported networks of capable, effective criminal justice advocates on a state and local level, such as the Coalition for a Safe and Just Maryland, which successfully pushed for a judicial change limiting the use of cash bail, defended the rule against a bail-bond industry lobbying campaign in 2017, and advocated successfully for state funding of pretrial services.
- Founded the Safe City Baltimore immigrant defense and education fund in collaboration with the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant and Multicultural Affairs to protect the due process rights of detained residents and provide legal defense and education services in response to aggressive immigration enforcement at the federal level.
- Led the Baltimore Equitable Vaccination Initiative, which reduced racial and socioeconomic disparities in COVID-19 vaccination rates by assisting more than 61,000 local residents to get vaccinated.
Using $6 million in public funds from Baltimore City, facilitated the COVID-19 Emergency Assistance Program that provided $400 pre-paid cards to 15,000 city residents who were financially impacted by the pandemic, including by engaging 13 community-based organizations to support outreach and implementation.
Co-led Bmore Invested, a philanthropic/community collaboration and a pooled fund that raised $2.3 million from 13 foundations and utilized an innovative and participatory process to identify and support 10 organizations led by people of color and focused on restorative approaches to community safety and healing.
Facilitated community involvement in the democratic process through the Solutions Summit that engaged more than 700 city residents to debate and vote on a policy plan for Baltimore’s new mayor and City Council and the Blueprint for Baltimore project, the largest issue-oriented survey in Baltimore history that asked more than 5,000 residents about their priorities for transforming Baltimore.
Collaborated with city officials and community partners to implement the Elijah Cummings Healing City Act, which is the first legislation in the country to require city agencies to receive trauma-responsive and restorative training to better assist residents in obtaining needed services. Healing City–style legislation has now been passed at the state level and is being expanded to other cities across the country.
Provided $6 million in catalytic funding to CLLCTIVLY’s Maryland Black Futures Fund that will provide financial support to Black power building and movement-based organizations.
- Programs and Impact
- Grantees and Fellows
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