BALTIMORE, Md. (WJZ) -- Johns Hopkins University's Innovation Fund for Community Safety awarded nearly $6 million in grants to grassroots projects aimed at preventing violence in Baltimore.
The university said each winning project approaches the complex issue of violence with a creative, community-led approach.
"If we hope to turn the tide on violence in our community and in our city, then we must look to models like the Innovation Fund that demonstrate what can happen when we pool our collective resources, leverage our individual expertise, and explore new solutions together," said President Ronald J. Daniels. "We are truly excited about the selected projects and look forward to the impact they will make in our city and for our neighbors."
The fund was announced in September, and community organizations could apply for up to $250,000 a year per project. Out of 75 applicants, the nine projects chosen will receive three years of funding, with the opportunity for more funding based on the project's progression and the availability of funds.
As reported by Johns Hopkins, the winners and their projects are:
- Abuse Intervention Supportive Services, House of Ruth Maryland: This project will intervene with men and women who have criminal histories of intimate partner violence and aims to protect their prior victims, children, future partners and the community at large.
- Baltimore Legacy Builders Collective, Job Opportunities Task Force: The Collective is a collaboration of three organizations that provide social emotional learning, STEM education, and workforce development programming to youth and young adults in Baltimore. This project will support youth mentoring, after-school programming, and direct engagement with dirt bike culture to identify and support people at high risk in Baltimore, and aims to serve 180 youth over 3 years.
- Block Captain Boot Camp, No Boundaries Coalition: This project will train community leaders to be "block captains" and provide them with funds for environmental improvements and other innovative projects in their areas. The goal is to encourage engagement at the household level, so that community members can organize, advocate, and act on behalf of their own needs.
- Existential Determinants of Health, WombWork Productions: This project will support arts and storytelling workshops to process and reflect on traumatic memories in an open and supportive forum with coaching and mentorship. Community members will be trained to lead mentorship and support activities.
- Good Harvest Occupational Skills Training Program, St. Vincent de Paul of Baltimore: This project will enroll young people, who are not currently engaged in school or work, in a food service occupational skills training program. The model combines in-classroom instruction with real-world experience in the Good Harvest production kitchen and leads to an industry-accepted certification. The program aims to support 225 youth over 3 years.
- McElderry Multiracial Organization Project, CASA: This project will support mediation and relationship building between Black and Latinx communities in McElderry Park through neighborhood community organizing, antiracism and leadership training, community-building events, and youth programming. The project aims to reach 1,650 people over 3 years.
- Mildred A. Allen Arabber Equestrian and Heritage Center, Baltimore Heritage: This project will establish a food justice intervention, co-curricular and workforce training program, mentoring services ranging from trauma support to visiting artists and relatable young business leaders to advance community health and safety, cultural preservation, and youth entrepreneurship in traditionally African American communities. The project aims to serve 4,980 youth over 3 years.
- Safety at the Margins, Charm City Care Connection: This project seeks to increase safety for people who use drugs and people who do sex work in East Baltimore by increasing the presence of trained outreach staff in areas with high levels of violence and drug use; connecting people into wraparound services, supporting them to increase safety in their lives through access to resources and improved housing; and, engaging in community building with sex workers to build alternative public safety mechanisms. The project aims to reach 7,410 people over 3 years.
- Stable Homes – Safe Communities, Pro Bono Resource Center of Maryland: This project will utilize volunteers and staff lawyers to host up to 12 free legal clinics annually with wraparound social services in targeted low-income neighborhoods in East Baltimore with a focus on securing safe and affordable housing, preserving intergenerational resources, preventing homelessness, and stabilizing communities. The Resource Center will also offer free legal "Know Your Rights" presentations relevant to stable housing, community safety, and other core issues. The project aims to serve 350 families over 3 years.
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