On July 13, Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker III and Kevin M. Maxwell, Prince George’s County Public Schools’ CEO, recognized nine non-profits that received $142,000 in grants from the Transforming Neighborhoods Initiative (TNI) Fund for Community Innovation.

Rushern Baker2

Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker III

This component of TNI is managed by The Community Foundation for the National Capital Region in Prince George’s County. Baker said in a press release, ” These organizations will receive various supports needed to allow them to continue and expand services and programs they provide to strengthen our communities.”

The nine non-profits receiving grants operate in the TNI communities of Langley Park, East Riverdale/Bladensburg, Kentland/Palmer Park, Suitland/Cora Hills, Hillcrest Heights/Marlow Heights and Glassmanor/Oxon Hill. The non-profits are 100 Black Men of Prince George’s County, Community Builders of Maryland, Derek Anthony Moore Charity, the Empowerment Center, Girls Excelling in Math and Science in Prince George’s County, Family Restoration & Healing Center, L.E.E.P. (Leadership to Education while Empowering Exceptional Performance) to College Foundation, Men of Valor and Purpose, PTA Maryland Congress of Parents & Teachers, and Strive to Tri and Vine Corps.

Chris Dwyer, the executive director of the Cheverly, Maryland-based Vine Corps, told the AFRO that $20,000 will be used to increase the academic skills of young people in the Bladensburg/Riverdale and Kentland/Palmer Park neighborhoods. “We are planning on using the money to run weekly study halls for high school-aged youth,” Dwyer said. “Many of the young people we serve are potential first generation college students but they don’t understand the college admission process. In the study halls, we will teach them how to fill out a college application and the importance of turning them in when they are due.”

She added that there is also a component for students who want to enter the workforce after high school and not go to college.

Dwyer also said the grant will be used to hire college students as mentors to the young people in the program. The mentors will advise Vine Corps program participants on the college admission process and reveal what goes into being a successful higher education student.

L.E.E.P. to College Foundation of Largo, Maryland, was founded in 2013 and Lisa A. Rowe serves as its founder and board chair. Rowe’s non-profit provides an extensive network of educational mentors and instructors for young people in middle and high school as well as college students. The program also sponsors college tours for high school students.

Rowe’s foundation receives support from Washington, D.C. area universities such as American University, Bowie State University, the University of Maryland, College Park, and Prince George’s County Community College in addition to corporate donors.

Nevertheless, Rowe appreciates getting the $19,000 from the TNI Fund and it will be put to good use. “We are planning on expanding our program to Oxon Hill, Northwestern and Suitland high schools,” she told the AFRO. “Our program focuses on improving the graduation rate and college attendance and we do that through mentoring, internships, scholarships and academic support.”