Baltimore Children & Youth Fund Commits $5.5 Million to Support City Nonprofits and Create New Opportunities for Young People

bcyf staff group photo

New aligned grantmaking strategy is designed to strengthen the nonprofit ecosystem 

Contact: Adam Jackson,

The Baltimore Children & Youth Fund has adopted an interim funding strategy for 2021 that devotes major resources to strengthen the nonprofit landscape in Baltimore and supports proven strategies that provide work and learning opportunities to young people.


In a strategy adopted by the BCYF Interim Board of Directors on May 19th, the organization has committed $5.5 million this year to support four key initiatives:


B-CIITY (Baltimore City Intergenerational Initiatives for Trauma and Youth) – BCYF will invest $1 million to sustain the work of this coalition in central west Baltimore that focuses on addressing youth violence and trauma. B-CIITY was created through a federal grant by residents, community activists, service providers and youth to provide resources to local organizations that are working to address youth violence and trauma. This coalition has demonstrated a commitment Black, grassroots leadership that is aligned with the values of BCYF.


Fusion Partnerships – BCYF will invest $1.5 million over three years to support Fusion Partnerships, which serves as the fiscal sponsor for 120 programs in Baltimore City. Fusion is working to support and build the capacity of nonprofits as a way to create a Baltimore where everyone has equitable access to resources and opportunities. BCYF recognizes the urgent need for stronger fiscal sponsorship institutions in Baltimore to better allow public funds to be invested in community-based organizations and to meet rising demand from programs seeking fiscal sponsorship. Along with this commitment, BCYF is looking to organize the grant-making community to invest in stronger fiscal sponsorship institutions as a way to expand opportunities for funding for community-based programs serving youth.


YouthWorks – BCYF will invest $1 million in YouthWorks, which connects thousands of young people between the ages of 14 and 21 to summer jobs with private, nonprofit, and city and state government employers throughout Baltimore. Participants work in a variety of industries and gain basic workforce readiness and career-specific skills. BCYF will partner with, and invest in, the Mayor’s Office of Employment Development to strategically build capacity within the YouthWorks infrastructure. This partnership will be focused on ensuring that more young people not only have access to summer and year-round jobs, but that they also have a quality and supportive experience while participating in the program. This partnership will also focus on building capacity with a diverse set of partners in the broader Baltimore community to host YouthWorkers in ways that create mutually beneficial experiences that center young people’s needs, dreams and interests.


Baltimore Summer Funding Collaborative (SFC) – BCYF will invest $2 million in the Baltimore Summer Funding Collaborative. SFC is a partnership between public, private and nonprofit organizations that supports high-quality summer programs serving children and youth from low-income backgrounds in Baltimore City. This investment will impact grantmaking for grantees of SFC in Summer 2022. The application window for SFC grants will open in October 2021.


After becoming the permanent intermediary for the Children and Youth Fund in mid-2020, BCYF, Inc. continues to work through a transition phase that will end in December and includes the hiring of staff and development of a permanent organizational infrastructure.


During this time, instead of soliciting new grant applications, BCYF will focus on aligned grantmaking and technical assistance for community organizations as a way to expand and strengthen the youth-serving nonprofit sector. This strategy allows BCYF to continue to invest to meet urgent community needs while the organization develops a permanent infrastructure.


BCYF expects to solicit new grant applications in the second quarter of 2022.


“BCYF is excited to make these investments in strong organizations like B-CIITY, YouthWorks, Summer Funding Collaborative and Fusion Partnerships,” said Dion Cartwright, Chair of the BCYF Board. “We continue to focus on building the infrastructure to sustain the Youth Fund over the long term. This interim strategy ensures that we are supporting programs that provide our young people with opportunities to grow and thrive. And our investment in Fusion will pay long-term dividends by strengthening the city’s ability to support small and promising nonprofits.”


The Fund was authorized by the City of Baltimore following the 2015 unrest in the city sparked by the death of Freddie Gray while in police custody and was strongly supported by Baltimore voters during a ballot referendum in 2016. The measure establishing the fund dedicates a percentage of Baltimore’s annual property tax revenue to BCYF.


The investments made in this package of aligned grantmaking are steps in the direction of the democratization of service to young people in Baltimore. These are investments in the infrastructure necessary for the community to exercise more ability to drive the nature of the kinds of programs made available to youth.


To date, BCYF has granted $18.8 million in grants to 79 organizations over two years. Two-thirds of BCYF grantee organizations are led by people of color. The Youth Fund’s initial grant decisions were made by a panel of Baltimore community members.