Tag: non-profits

Surface Project Gives Baltimore Residents the Skills to Work With Reclaimed Wood

Surface Project Baltimore

Ever wondered where local establishments like Red Emma’s Cafe, and Cosima Restaurant got their beautiful table tops? Would it surprise you to find out Baltimore residents with little to no prior woodworking skills crafted them using reclaimed wood?

Year Up Baltimore to be Featured on 60 Mins. next Sunday


Courtesy citybizlist – GBC Training program Year Up will be featured on 60 Minutes this Sunday, February 2,  at 7 p.m. on CBS.

Catholic Relief Services Director Talks About the Business of Charity



carolyn woo

Recently named one of the “top 500 most important people on the planet” by Foreign Policy magazine, Carolyn Woo took the reins in 2012 as head of Catholic Relief Services, headquartered in Baltimore.  As the official Catholic international humanitarian aid organization, (Catholic Charities is domestic) Catholic Relief Services has over 5,000 employees in 91 countries serving more than 100 million people annually. Its mission  — based on need, without regard to race, nationality or religion — is to “promote human development by responding to major emergencies, fighting poverty, and nurturing peaceful and just societies.” With annual revenues of $823 million, CRS is currently 39th on the Forbes list of the largest U.S. charities. Its offices, at 228 W. Lexington Street, are in what was once Stewart’s department store.

Dr. Woo came to CRS from the University of Notre Dame (not to be confused with Notre Dame of Maryland University on Charles Street) where she served for 12 years as the Dean of the Mendoza College of Business. While there, she brought the undergraduate business school up to its current number one ranking (Bloomberg Businessweek) while maintaining its Catholic mission. Her expertise in the areas of corporate strategy, entrepreneurship, and management bring a new, more financially-based perspective to the enormous and far-reaching charity.

Dr. Woo has an interesting personal story as well. Born and raised in Hong Kong, she attended a Catholic school run by the Maryknoll Sisters, American nuns who devoted their lives to overseas service.  Influenced by these women, she came to America against the wishes of her family, having raised on her own the money for one year of schooling. She attended Purdue University, where, after the first year, she won a scholarship for international students, and graduated with highest honors with an undergraduate degree in economics.  She stayed on at Purdue to earn a masters degree and a Ph.D., as well.

Warnock Foundation Releases Findings, Funds Ideas to Improve Baltimore


Today the Warnock Foundation published the Baltimore Social Innovation Journal, a new publication that features social innovators, profiles their ideas, and provides seed money to help them implement their projects. The first volume of the journal is available online here and in limited-edition print.

David Warnock
David Warnock

The 13 innovative ideas profiled in the inaugural issue include a nomadic art museum, a way to crowdsource business ideas for abandoned properties, a re-imagining of neighborhood greening and a project that dreams of bringing a world-renowned light festival to the Inner Harbor.

“We hope you enjoy our profiles of these innovative, bright and committed Baltimoreans,” said David Warnock, the chairman, founder and funder of the Warnock Foundation. (We interviewed him a few weeks back. Read the interview here.)  “No foundation working alone can fund systemic change – but we are convinced we can help people who are bettering Baltimore one person and one neighborhood at a time.”

The genesis of the Baltimore Social Innovation Journal was the Speak Up, Baltimore survey, an online poll conducted by the Warnock Foundation in fall 2013. The survey asked area residents to assess Baltimore’s assets, obstacles, and make determinations about the city’s future. The survey solicited participants through email, advertising, and social media. Ultimately, 632 people participated.

“We were deeply grateful for the hundreds of people who shared their perspectives on Baltimore with us. It will guide our activities at the Warnock Foundation in the years ahead,” Warnock said at the time.

OSI Is Looking for a Few Good Fellows to Make a Difference for Baltimore



The Open Society Institute Community Fellowship Program is now seeking applicants for its 17th class!  The program offers $60,000 over 18 months to individuals who are interested in implementing projects that address problems in communities all over Baltimore. The 2014 fellowships begin in November 2014.  To read about the 2013 projects, read Change Agents: OSI Announces Its 2013 Fellows

Application deadline: Monday, March 3, 2014 at 5:00pm. To apply, click here.

Congratulations, Baltimore. You Are the Most Generous City in America



For a city that so often makes the news for its problems, it’s lovely to see Baltimore getting some press for something 100 percent positive: on Tuesday, Baltimoreans donated more than $5 million to local non-profits (yes, in a single day), making us the most generous city in America.

“Audacious Individuals” Receive Award From OSI


The Open Society Institute-Baltimore awarded yesterday its “Audacious Individuals Awards” to James DeGraffenreidt, Dan Rodricks, Bebe Verdery, and The Core Alliance of Youth Leaders at a standing-room-only gathering of business, philanthropic, and political leaders, who came together to discuss ideas for moving Baltimore forward. The event, “Big Change Baltimore: A Forum of Ideas That Are Reshaping Our Future,” marks the organization’s fifteenth year of working to create changes in the city.

“We are thrilled to present this year’s ‘Audacious Individuals Awards’ to members of our community who have displayed exemplary efforts to improve the quality of life in the city in which we live,” said Diana Morris, director of OSI-Baltimore.

“Fifteen years after beginning our work here in Baltimore, we continue to be enriched by the ideas of individuals who persist in their audacious efforts, and never tire in dedication, commitment and determination. Our city is better off because of these individuals.”

A Tree Grows in Curtis Bay-Brooklyn, Thanks to a Smart Fellow and Community Volunteers



Jason Reed used support from OSI-Baltimore’s Community Fellowship program to transform this neglected lot in Curtis Bay from one with beer bottles and hypodermic needles into a vibrant space with raised beds and plots, including perennials, herbs, asparagus and strawberry fields.
Jason Reed used support from OSI-Baltimore’s Community Fellowship program to transform this neglected lot in Curtis Bay-Brooklyn in South Baltimore. Photo by Colby Ware.

Courtesy of The Open Society Institute Baltimore – When Child First Authority asked Jason Reed to take charge of a neglected community garden in Curtis Bay-Brooklyn nearly four years ago, he jumped at the chance. With help from the Curtis Bay Community Association, the Parks & People Foundation, nearby schools and willing community members, Reed transformed the neglected lot from one with beer bottles and hypodermic needles into a vibrant space full of life.

The acre of raised beds, plots and orchards—run by Reed, community gardeners, elementary, middle and high school students—now boasts tomatoes, asparagus, pumpkins, kale and sprouts. There are beets, peppers, watermelon and colorful perennials. There’s a strawberry field and 40 blueberry bushes. There are irrigation towers, a nature path, picnic tables, a brick oven and a shed with a mint-covered roof.

It is an oasis in Curtis Bay-Brooklyn, a part of south Baltimore where the nearest grocery store is a mile away.

But the Filbert Street Garden, as it is known in these parts, is more than just a place where residents can grow and obtain healthful food. It is an outdoor classroom where elementary children learn about planting and growing, and where older children learn the business of buying and selling produce.

Jason walks around the corner from the garden to visit the wife of a community gardener, who has made tangy pickles out of cucumbers that grew in abundance this summer. Jason and Gary showcased the pickles at a taste-testing at the Middle Branch Waterfront Festival.
Photo by Colby Ware.

It is a patch of zen for the dozen or so community gardeners who come to quietly tend to their shoots and greens, patiently wrapping chicken wire around top-heavy plants, watering and weeding and watering some more.

High school students, like Gary Brown, work alongside Jason at community events to bring healthful food choices to Curtis Bay residents, and teach those who are interested the value in urban agriculture, outdoor spaces and community gardening.
Photo by Colby Ware.

Best of all, Jason says, it is a gathering place for the people of Curtis Bay.

Breaking Silos: Racial Progress in a Divided Community


Rodney FoxworthThe following essay is re-published with permission from local writer and social entrepreneur Rodney Foxworth. It appeared on the website of Changing Media, a company committed to “helping visionary organizations harness the power of new media for social change.” -The Eds.

I live an intensely bifurcated life, which has begrudgingly placed me in the role of cultural translator and community bridge-builder. And the bifurcation of my life has never been more pronounced than it has been over the past year.

For the past year, I’ve worked to help build a community of social entrepreneurs in the field of Black Male Achievement through BMe, a project of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and Open Society Foundation; concurrently, I’ve helped organize and connect a growing network of (mostly white) self-identified social entrepreneurs and changemakers, with very little overlap between the two communities, a sad reality that haunts me day and night. While there are traumatic structural and historical forces that have produced a city as doggedly segregated as Baltimore (and the world of social change has not been exempted), I’ve largely failed in my responsibilities as an organizer and advocate for Baltimore City.

The Ivy Bookshop and Baltimore Clayworks Join Forces Tonight



IVY10-e1350927055992Surround yourself with books, enjoy some light refreshments and join the folks at The Ivy Bookshop Friday night, April 12 at a reception to celebrate the art and artists of Mount Washington’s Baltimore Clayworks.

Baltimore Clayworks is a nonprofit ceramic arts center dedicated to providing outstanding artistic, educational and collaborative programs. Through classes, exhibits and special events, Clayworks sustains and promotes a vibrant artist-centered community.

The Ivy Bookshop will donate to Baltimore Clayworks 15% of all purchases at the event April 12, from 7 – 9 p.m.

Join supporters of Baltimore Clayworks at The Ivy Bookshop, 6080 Falls Road.  For more information, visit the Ivy Bookshop website or the Baltimore Clayworks website.