May 29, 2012

Johns Hopkins Neighborhood Fund helps 21 local nonprofits

Twenty-one local nonprofit organizations have received financial support from the Johns Hopkins Neighborhood Fund in the form of grants totaling nearly $263,000. Sixty-six agencies applied in February for funding, with requests totaling nearly $800,000 for projects that address the needs of communities around Johns Hopkins campuses in the areas of public safety, health, employment, education and community revitalization.

The Neighborhood Fund was created in 2007 to support nonprofits that serve the communities surrounding Johns Hopkins campuses and that are associated with Johns Hopkins through institutional involvement or affiliation with faculty, staff, retirees or students. Donations to the Neighborhood Fund are accepted through the annual Johns Hopkins United Way campaign.

Charlene Hayes, the university’s vice president for human resources, has been involved with the program since its inception. “The Neighborhood Fund is the crown jewel of our community programs,” she says. “It provides every Johns Hopkins employee an opportunity to respond en masse to a clearly articulated community need. Johns Hopkins is a part of Baltimore, and the Neighborhood Fund demonstrates our commitment to the community in which we live, work and study.”

Grant applications were reviewed by the fund’s Allocation Committee, which comprises a cross section of Johns Hopkins employees and is chaired by Frank Bossle, executive director of JHI Internal Audits.

“It is extremely rewarding to see the generosity of my fellow employees in supporting very worthy organizations in our neighborhoods,” Bossle says. “The Allocation Committee was impressed and pleased with the quality of the applicants.”

Since its inception, the Neighborhood Fund has awarded 79 grants totaling more than $816,000. The 2012 recipients and how they will use their funds are as follows:

• AIDS Interfaith Residential Services will offer young people transitional and permanent housing, along with services and training opportunities, through the City Steps program.

• Baltimore Reads will offer reading, English for Speakers of Other Languages and GED preparation across Baltimore through the Portable Classrooms program.

• Baltimore Symphony Orchestra will provide year-round during- and after-school music education and mentoring to an additional 40 pre-K and kindergarten students in Baltimore City’s urban neighborhoods through the OrchKids program.

• Baltimore Urban Debate League will use in-school hours, after-school workshops, weekend tournaments and summertime programming to enrich the academic experience of the city’s youth through its elementary and middle school debate program.

• Caroline Friess Center will fund a career coach to initiate contact with students and follow up with graduates to assist with employment issues.

• East Baltimore Development Inc.’s Elev8 Baltimore initiative will provide school-based health services and out-of-school programs to ensure that middle grade students achieve success in school and in life through the Children’s Defense Fund Freedom Schools.

• Helping Up Mission will provide healthy meals to men participating in a long-term residential recovery program.

• Higher Achievement Baltimore will help at-risk youth transition successfully through middle school and place them in top high schools that get them on track to four-year colleges through the Afterschool Academy program at the East Baltimore Achievement Center.

• Historic East Baltimore Community Action Coalition will assist with the operating costs of a computer-learning center that will provide instructor-assisted and self-paced computer skills training for local residents.

• Incentive Mentoring Program will continue its work with students who exhibit poor academic performance by stabilizing their school and home lives.

• International Rescue Committee’s Pregnancy Support Program will ensure that newly resettled refugees from politically unstable countries are supported during pregnancy and birth.

• Living Classrooms Foundation will support the Safe Streets program, a public health campaign that aims to reduce violence in several Baltimore communities.

• Manna House will employ a part-time cook to expand meal serving from only weekdays to seven days a week.

• Marian House will provide immediate housing, meals, personal supplies, addiction recovery programs, transportation, medical care referrals and other services to homeless women and their children.

• Maryland New Directions will offer two-week workshops and one-on-one counseling to low-income Baltimore residents to enhance their employment readiness skills.

• Meals on Wheels of Central Maryland will deliver meals for one year to a maximum of 15 homebound, frail and elderly individuals in Baltimore.

• My Sister’s Place Women’s Center, a Catholic Charities program, will support a cook who prepares meals for 85 homeless women and children a day.

• Playworks Education Energized, Baltimore will provide safe, healthy and inclusive play to students at low-income schools by preserving recess and making play and physical activity a part of every day.

• The Family Tree will launch the Enough Abuse Campaign to prevent child sexual abuse by providing training and prevention messaging to 500 local adults.

• Wide Angle Youth Media will provide advanced training in media technology to Baltimore City students ages 14–20 with the objective of enhancing their academic and job-readiness skills.

• Writers in Baltimore Schools will provide low-income middle school students with a vibrant environment for literary development through in-school, after-school and summer creative writing workshops.

When informed that My Sister’s Place Women’s Center was an award recipient, program manager Valerie Tarantino responded, “When I think of the difference you are helping us to make with this grant, I remember something that St. Francis of Assisi once said: ‘All the darkness of the world cannot extinguish the light of a small candle.’ Thank you for sharing your light with those whose lives have become darkened by poverty and hopelessness.”

Rebecca Potter, institutional giving specialist with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, said, “Together, we are not only enriching the lives of Baltimore’s urban youth through mentorship and music education, but also we are strengthening whole-community potential in East Baltimore by building a strong family, school and neighborhood support network anchored by OrchKids school sites.”

Additional information about the Johns Hopkins Neighborhood Fund can be found online at or by contacting the Office of Work, Life and Engagement at 443-997-7000.