What Does It Mean To Be A BCYF Community Reviewer?

Each time we open a new funding opportunity at Baltimore Children and Fund, our goal is to make sure we’re funding organizations that offer meaningful and engaging services for youth in Baltimore City. We are entrusted with public funds, and we take our task of investing it responsibly very seriously.  


To receive BCYF funding, organizations must first apply, explaining to us what services they plan to provide and what impact they expect those services to have on youth in Baltimore City. Once applications are submitted, it’s time for our team to begin reviewing so we can make recommendations to our board on who should receive funding. Our board makes the final decision on all funding opportunities.


Although our staff members bring deep knowledge and expertise to the review process, we feel strongly that members of the community also have a say in how funds are put back into the community. Each time we open a new funding opportunity, we invite people from outside of our organization to help us review applications. This year, we are inviting youth as well.

What Background Do You Need?

We are looking for people with two types of backgrounds (or both!) to help us review applications and make recommendations to our board.


First, we’re looking for people with lived experience in the youth programming space. This means you have had some personal experience working in, designing and/or operating youth programs; attended or benefitted from youth programs and/or are familiar with Baltimore’s youth service landscape. You may have used these services yourself, or you may have experience helping youth navigate them. Both are valuable experiences to draw from when helping us decide which services are best for our community.


We’re also looking for people who have professional experience working with youth and/or designing and/or operating youth programs as well as those with grant reviewing experience. If your background is in managing youth non-profits, social work, education, the arts, counseling, grant reviewing or any other relevant subject area, your experience can help us make the right choices.

Who Cannot Be A Community Reviewer?

Community reviewers cannot currently work for or provide services for an organization that is applying to receive BCYF funding. While many people who work for these organizations have strong expertise in the youth programming field, we feel it’s important to keep this separation to ensure the process is as fair as possible.

What Does A Community Reviewer Do?

To put it simply, community reviewers review applications to help us determine if an organization is a good fit to receive funding from BCYF. In general, community reviewers are responsible for:


  • Attend an In-Person Orientation
  • Attend two virtual training sessions
  • Attend one Small Group Validation session
  • Reading and scoring applications
  • Attend a final In-Person Consensus session


Each community reviewer will be placed in a review group facilitated by BCYF staff. Everyone in the group will be assigned the same applications to review. You will review them through our online platform on your own time to score them and take notes. Your group leader (a BCYF staff member) will then schedule a time for your group to meet and discuss feedback and which organizations they would like to recommend for funding.

Do You Need Anything Specific To Participate?

There are a few things each community reviewer will need to participate, including:


  • Access to a computer with Reliable Internet access to attend training sessions and complete reviews and scoring
  • Ability to commit time throughout the review period for scoring (approximately 3 weeks)
  • Ability to use our online application reviewing platform (training will be provided)
  • Ability to manage timely communications with BCYF staff via email or phone throughout the review process


Before we start reviewing, we have an orientation session for all reviewers to walk you through the process and answer any questions you might have. Our staff is also available throughout the review period to support you and make sure you understand your role and responsibilities.

What’s In It For You?

Being a community reviewer is an opportunity to have a say in how BCYF reinvests funding into the community. It’s also a chance to be part of making sure youth have access to quality programming. Your thoughts, ideas, and expertise around what services will have the greatest impact will help us make the best decisions for the community. In short, your participation will help make a difference in the lives of children and youth in Baltimore City. 


Because your time and expertise are valuable to us, you will also be compensated for being part of this process. We pay our reviewers a flat rate of $1500 for completing the entire process.

Now What?

If you’re interested in being a community reviewer or know someone who would be a great fit, the next step is to apply! We are currently seeking community reviewers to help us evaluate applications for our 2024 Grassroots Fund opportunity. Applications are due February 2, 2025. 


In-Person Meet and Greet - Kickoff

Saturday, March 16, 2024 10am - 2pm

Virtual Training

Wednesday, March 20, 2024 6pm - 7:30pm

Virtual Training

Tuesday, March 26, 2024 6pm - 7:30pm

Review and Score Applications

Wednesday, April 3- Monday, April 22, 2024

Virtual Small Group Validation

Tuesday, April 23, 2024 6pm - 7:30pm

In-Person Consensus Session

Saturday, April 27, 2024 10am - 2pm