With the West x Northwest Baltimore Impacts Grant program, the Baltimore Community Foundation is building on the place-based investments it has made since 2019 between North Avenue and Liberty Heights Avenue. (Courtesy Photo)

By Megan Sayles, AFRO Business Writer
Report for America Corps Member

The Baltimore Community Foundation (BCF) recently used a $1 million investment from Facebook to distribute grants to 20 nonprofits that directly support the resiliency of majority-Black communities. 

The West x Northwest Baltimore Impacts Grant program expands on the place-based investments that BCF has been making since 2019 in the stretch between North Avenue and Liberty Heights Avenue with a special focus on the Dorothy I. Height, Liberty and Calvin Rodwell school communities. 

“We recognize that these neighborhoods have been disinvested in for decades, and we had the three years of experience with the strategic plan engaging in the selected school communities,” said Laurie Latuda Kinkel,  vice president of strategy at BCF. “This is a great opportunity to just go deeper, broader and build out a larger ecosystem in a part of the city that lacks the expensive nonprofit network that you see in other parts of the city.

The organizations that were chosen for the grant program will receive $50,000 over two years, which will go toward general operating support. Facebook will also provide training modules for the organizations to participate in to assist them in building their digital marketing and fundraising skills. 

BCF also intends to convene the cohort of grantees to get feedback that will inform future grant programs and investments in Northwest and West Baltimore. The objective is to discover what the local nonprofits need to achieve their mission in strengthening majority-Black neighborhoods. 

The group of grantees provide services that include food security, youth programming, arts and culture, cleaning and greening and crisis support. These grassroots organizations were instrumental in meeting the needs of their community during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Latuda Kinkel. Many expanded on their missions to provide digital skills training and perform wellness checks for residents. 

Latuda Kinkel hopes that the funding can help the nonprofits reinforce and build on their programming and find community within the cohort of grant recipients. The ultimate goal is to demonstrate the opportunities for investment in these communities.

“We want them to feel connected to a broader ecosystem of thriving Black-led nonprofits in these majority Black communities in this geographic area where the whole is greater than the sum of the parts,” said Latuda Kinkel. 

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