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Giving Compass' Take:
• The Baltimore Children and Youth Fund helps allocate grant money to different youth-focused organizations. A task force of black-led grassroots organization leaders asked the local communities how the fund could help.
• Some members of the task force say they want to use the fund to "flip the dynamics around structural racism." How are they executing this with the fund?
• Read about how a social service organization adopted a racial equity lens in order to better evaluate if the center's work was effective.
Three years after the police killing of Freddie Gray triggered an uprising in Baltimore, little has changed for Black residents who make up 63 percent of its population. Attempts to prosecute Gray’s killers famously failed.
A 2017 consent decree, which the Baltimore Police Department (BPD) entered into after the U.S. Department of Justice found a pattern of civil rights violations against Blacks, is stalled. This year’s revelations about the corruption and violence of the BPD’s Gun Trace Task Force underscore more of the same.
There is, however, the potential for change in the form of the Baltimore Children &Youth Fund (BCYF). More than two decades in the making, the new $12 million fund provides local youth-focused groups with grants ranging from $500 to $500,000. BCYF is funded annually by 3 percent of the city’s property taxes. What’s innovative is how its principals structured it to ensure that small Black grassroots groups that usually go unfunded have a seat at the table.
The youth fund law didn’t specify how the money would be allocated or managed. Young appointed a 34-member taskforce of city agency heads, philanthropic leaders and grassroots activists to figure that out. Adam Jackson, the outspoken CEO of the Black “grassroots think tank” Leaders of a Beautiful Struggle(LBS) co-chaired the taskforce along with T. Rowe Price Foundation president John Brothers. Kim Trueheart,a Northwest Baltimore activist and city council meeting fixture who ran against Young in 2016, also served on it.
A core recommendation of the taskforce was that racial equity should be at the core of the structure. To that end, the taskforce did the most logical thing: “We went to communities and asked folks who run programs, parents, students, youth and young adults what they believed should be funded,” says Jackson
Read the full article about Baltimore Children and Youth Fund by Bakari Kitwan at Colorlines