In mid-March, the Baltimore Community Foundation made a series of discretionary grants to meet urgent needs during the COVID-19 public health crisis. Simultaneously we launched the COVID-19 Evolving Community Needs Fund to meet immediate, intermediate and long-range needs and quickly partnered with other funders to create the COVID-19 Response Funding Collaborative of Greater Baltimore to accept grant applications via a central portal. The Collaborative accepted proposals for eight weeks throughout the spring (the Collaborative application process is now closed.)
In the first phase of our response, from March – May 2020, BCF awarded more than $912,000 to 88 organizations. COVID Response grants supported urgent needs like food assistance, credible information distribution, remote learning technology and community health programs among others.
We have already seen community needs evolve and know that the pandemic will continue to challenge our community with far-reaching effects. A COVID-19 Response Task Force made up of BCF board members guides our intermediate and longer-term grantmaking in response to the pandemic. The Task Force is composed of the following BCF board members:
- Lillian Bauder, Retired Executive
- Patricia P. Baum, RBC Wealth Management
- Ellen N. Bernard, Community Leader
- Brandon Etheridge, Baltimore Ravens
- Alec Ross, Author
- Kurt Schmoke, University of Baltimore
The Task Force is staffed by Laurie Latuda Kinkel, BCF's Vice President of Strategy.
For the remainder of 2020, BCF’s grantmaking from the COVID-19 Evolving Community Needs Fund will focus on the ways in which this public health crisis is affecting our region’s most vulnerable students. BCF is seeking community-based organizations with the experience and relationships to quickly mobilize to serve Baltimore City and Baltimore County public school students and their families to mitigate the negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on educational equity. We have identified the following areas of need, although we anticipate others will arise throughout the fall and winter:
- mental health supports for students and adults (parents, caregivers, teachers, school staff)
- digital literacy supports for parents
- school-aged child care / programs that provide supervised care for school-aged children during the school day
- supports for students with disabilities/IEPs/504 plans
- supports for English language learners
- tutoring/remediation beyond what is offered through the public school virtual curriculum
- meeting basic human needs of families (utilities, rent, food, etc.)
BCF is grateful to the wide range of donors who have given more than $2.2 million to date to address the effects of the pandemic on local families and communities. We continue to accept donations to sustain our response long-term.