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January Newsletter

Supporting Students, Families and Educators: The Fund’s Impact in 2020

When challenges feel harder and hope feels out of reach, communities come together. As we settle into a new year, we’re reflecting on the work we and our partners have done in 2020 to support students and educators, to raise crucial funds, to celebrate excellence, and to ensure learning in Baltimore continues at the highest level.

The efforts of Baltimore City’s educators, district leaders, families and students throughout 2020 is an inspiration we seek to uplift. Here are some representative highlights of the Fund’s work and impact in 2020.

Helping Make Learning Possible
The Fund partnered with City Schools to create and manage the Baltimore City Public Schools’ Emergency School Closure Family Support Fund. The Fund helps families through COVID-19 who rely on schools for technology, food, or both. Our latest blog outlines how this fund has supported students and families since March. Find the Blog Here

Supporting City Schools
The Fund worked with City Schools to secure – and now manage – more than $20 million in funding for initiatives that directly impact students. This includes a $12 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to enhance programs for 9th grade achievement, a $5 million grant from The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation to create four new state-of-the-art school libraries, a $1.5 million grant from the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Philanthropies to enhance the district’s response to the pandemic, and a $1.5 million grant from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation for family engagement, virtual learning and professional development initiatives.

Sharing Perspectives
As everyone in education adjusted to remote learning, we created a space for City Schools principals, teachers and students to share their perspectives on the new experience. Our series of 12 blog posts offered a wide-ranging, inspiring look at the first-hand experiences in keeping our students learning. Check it out.

Finance & Grants Management: Supporting Our Partners Through COVID-19 and Beyond
The Fund provides high-level financial and grant management expertise to a range of mission-aligned local nonprofit organizations, community programs, and district initiatives. Over the past 12 months, we’ve brought on 34 new projects, onboarded 75 temporary employees on behalf of our clients for COVID related work, and managed $17 million in sponsored expenses including $3.9 million raised on behalf of the district and other local partners specifically for COVID relief initiatives. Learn more here.

Grade Level Reading: Supporting Literacy with Curriculum Aligned Tip Sheets
The Baltimore Campaign for Grade Level Reading (GLR) – the Fund program supporting early childhood literacy – worked with Baltimore City Public Schools to create literacy tip sheets that align with students’ Wit and Wisdom curriculum. The sheets help parents and care providers as they support student learning and reading at home. Find here.

Analysis and Engagement: Shift to Virtual Programming

  • Transportation Study: As part of our next research report, set to publish in the coming year, we interviewed 275 high school students by phone to understand their experiences with public transit commuting to and from school.
  • Bmore Ready: This summer, Bmore Ready and City Schools held Baltimore Beyond Graduation: Virtual Roundtable featuring practical guidance for students weighing post-high school options. Check out a recap and recording of the webinar here.
  • School Choice: The Fund facilitated 11 virtual workshops this fall to help students and families more easily navigate the middle and high school choice process.
  • Chicago Parent Program (ChiPP): The Fund supports parents of pre-school children through this 12-session, evidence-based parenting program. We successfully facilitated virtual programming with four Baltimore City Elementary Schools this past fall.

Baltimore Student Athlete Coalition: Supporting Student-Athletes Through COVID-19
The Baltimore Student Athlete Coalition – managed by the Fund – has supported students and educators with a wide range of significant initiatives. They are renovating facilities, distributing masks to all City Schools student-athletes, virtually convening students for their Student-Athlete Leadership Council, and guiding City Schools sports in training and professional development.

Celebrating City Schools Principals
Baltimore City Public School leaders work tirelessly to support their students and staff. To express appreciation, the Heart of the Schools – the year-round program managed by the Fund – hosted the Drive Thru For You in November. More than 100 principals enjoyed a socially-distanced outdoor celebration with cheers and gifts from sign-holding business leaders, community members and district leaders. Find a recap and photos here.

Of Note:

Additional insights, updates and resources:

  • Send a “Princi-PALentine”: This Valentine’s Day, show your principal appreciation with a “Princi-PALentine!” Send us a personalized message of thanks addressing a valued principal. We will share these messages with principals on Valentine’s Day and also via social media. Submit your message here.
  • ICYMI: City Schools recently held a town hall about second-semester in-person learning. Find a recording here
  • Great read: Viewpoint: Real equity in Baltimore means having a reliable, efficient transit system – Baltimore Business Journal
  • City Schools’ Family University: Find a collection of quick-tip videos and resources to help increase family engagement, support social-emotional growth, and foster students’ academic success. Learn more here.

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