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Baltimore Community Foundation and City team on $1M Neighbors In Deed initiative

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Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake joined Tom Wilcox, President of the Baltimore Community Foundation, to announce a new civic engagement initiative starting in the city. Neighbors In Deed is a $1 million initiative funded by Atlantic Philanthropies, the Baltimore Community Foundation, and the Leonard and Helen R. Stulman Foundation to promote older adult volunteerism. The three-year program, which begins in six neighborhoods later this Spring, will recruit 1200 volunteers to contribute 500,000 hours of volunteer activity. Their combined effort is valued at more than $10 million over the three year period.

"In these difficult economic times, it is clear that we need community members to redouble their efforts to make our neighborhoods stronger and more stable for years to come," says Mayor Rawlings-Blake. "Baltimore has been at the forefront of tapping into the skills and wisdom of our older adults for a decade. This Baltimore Community Foundation initiative will allow us to help six communities in the City and County achieve important community goals they have identified by better using this valuable resource."

Older adults who volunteer will work on community enhancement efforts in six Baltimore neighborhoods: West Baltimore, Northwest Baltimore, North Baltimore, Belair Edison, Highlandtown, and Dundalk in Baltimore County. Older adults interested in volunteering can call the Baltimore Community Foundation at (410) 332-4172, extension 146.

The Intergenerational Center at Temple University will also support the program with Kellogg Foundation funding. The Center is working with the Highlandtown and Greater Homewood areas as one of six areas in the nation in its Communities for All Ages—an intergenerational initiative to help communities better meet the needs of all their residents from cradle to grave.

According to Mr. Wilcox, the Baltimore Community Foundation (BCF) is one of nine community foundations nationally to implement the project as a part of the Atlantic Philanthropies' Community Experience Partnership. Adding to Atlantic's grant are several Baltimore area foundations including BCF, the Stulman Foundation, and the Weinberg Foundation, which have committed over $500K in matching funds.

"The number of Americans over 60 will increase by almost 50 million in the next 20 years," Wilcox says. "We are proud to work with Atlantic Philanthropies and our local foundation partners to realize the potential of those who are determined to apply their experience to make a difference for others."

Each neighborhood identified priorities on which to focus with the help of a team of University of Maryland School of Social Work graduate students. Dr. Amy Cohen Callow, who led that initiative, will also do research and evaluation of the project.

  • In West Baltimore, older adult volunteers will seek to engage a cadre of younger adults to serve as the next generation of community leaders, working with the Citizen's Planning and Housing Association (CPHA).
  • In Northwest Baltimore, Comprehensive Housing Assistance, Inc. (CHAI) will work to promote public safety by actively engaging older adults.
  • In North Baltimore, the Govans Ecumenical Development Corporation (GEDCO) and the Greater Homewood Community Corporation (GHCC) will focus on two priorities. GEDCO plans to expand a Neighbors Helping Neighbors Time Bank Program from Stadium Place to a group of surrounding neighborhoods so that older residents are assisted to remain in their community. GHCC is developing a Communities for All Ages initiative to encourage families with young children to remain in the Charles Village community by strengthening the two neighborhood public schools.
  • In East Baltimore, Belair Edison is developing block-by-block leadership thru an expansion of the Neighborhood Ambassador Program.

In South Baltimore, the Southeast Community Development Corporation will involve older adults in Highlandtown in multi-cultural and intergenerational efforts to strengthen the social infrastructure of the neighborhood.

Source: Mayor's Office
Writer: Walaika Haskins
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