Mayor Brandon Scott poses with the student entrepreneurs who are leading the Memory Creation program, one of eight programs selected to be part of the first cohort of Philanthropy Tank Baltimore’s CHANGEmakers initiative in 2020. Applications are open for the second cohort. Photo courtesy of Philanthropy Tank Baltimore.
Mayor Brandon Scott poses with the student entrepreneurs who are leading the Memory Creation program, one of eight programs selected to be part of the first cohort of Philanthropy Tank Baltimore’s CHANGEmakers initiative in 2020. Applications are open for the second cohort. Photo courtesy of Philanthropy Tank Baltimore.

Philanthropy Tank Baltimore is calling on student entrepreneurs to apply for the organization’s CHANGEmakers initiative to address a social issue of their choice in Baltimore City.

Individuals or teams of up to four students in grades 8-12 can submit an idea for a program that would address an issue in Baltimore.

Finalists who are chosen to be part of Philanthropy Tank’s second cohort of CHANGEmakers up to $15,000 to fund their programs, along with mentorship.

Philanthropy Tank, which was founded in 2015 Palm Beach County, Florida, expanded to Baltimore City in 2019.

In CHANGEmakers’ first year in Baltimore, Philanthropy Tank provided $91,500 in funding to support eight programs led by more than 20 Baltimore City students from 13 different high schools.

“We were amazed and impressed by our first cohort of CHANGEmakers,” Philanthropy Tank Baltimore’s Executive Director Joann Levy said in a statement. “The social impact programs that have come out of Philanthropy Tank in its inaugural year were personal and envisioned to solve real-life issues that students face daily. In just one year in Baltimore, and after six years in Florida, we have seen, first-hand what happens when young people are empowered, supported and mentored.”

Since a finals event in November, the student entrepreneurs in the first cohort of CHANGEmakers have been implementing programs across the city.

Some of the programs include Memory Creation, a garden paying tribute to people killed by gun violence; the Bird’s Eye View Podcast, in which teens discuss various issues and potential solutions; Explo Foods, a hydroponic garden for providing fresh produce to the community; and more.

Tayla Chambers, a Baltimore City College High School student and partner in the Play Your Way Initiative program, said Philanthropy Tank is providing an opportunity for young people to effect change in Baltimore.

“In Baltimore we are often seen as nothing more than troublemakers, but Philanthropy Tank has helped to make us something more,” Chambers said in a statement. “The experience so far has been really positive; we’ve been given the support to better our community and we already see it paying off.”

The students are working with five mentors from Baltimore businesses and nonprofits, including Stephanie Amponsah, vice president of Dream BIG Foundation.

“I’ve enjoyed working with my student mentees and seeing their creativity, problem-solving skills, and commitment to helping their community,” Amponsah said in a statement. “So much is possible when students are supported and empowered to create change.”

Applications are open now through Aug. 1.

After the application window closes, a panel of business and nonprofit community leaders will select semi-finalists. The mentors will then select finalists, who will work with a team of coaches to fine-tune their presentations.

Student teams will present their ideas, including goals and budgets, with the chance of being selected to be awarded funding and mentorship for the program.

Theo C. Rodgers, chairman and chief executive officer of A&R Development, was a Philanthropist Investor in the first year of the initiative and will return this year.

“Baltimore’s future relies on younger generations,” Rodgers said in a statement, “and I am eager to return as an investor to see what forward-thinking ideas they have for their communities.”

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Marcus Dieterle

Marcus Dieterle is the managing editor of Baltimore Fishbowl. He returned to Baltimore in 2020 after working as the deputy editor of the Cecil Whig newspaper in Elkton, Md. He can be reached at marcus@baltimorefishbowl.com...