Frequently Asked Questions

Last updated: October, 2023


Unlike traditional grantmaking entities, BCYF is committed to authentic community engagement, and our strategy and grants decisions have been shaped by a range of Baltimoreans. BCYF partners with Baltimore residents themselves to decide how funds are spent and partners with other organizations that share our values.
Systemic change requires a systemic approach. We see racial equity and community engagement as essential to guiding our work, and they are embodied throughout the organization’s operations. We believe that in order to make the necessary investments in Baltimore’s young people, we must be guided by the voices of residents. By doing so, this is a radical approach to bring public resources into the hands of community-based programs working with our youth and young adults.

BCYF will open a call for applications in JANUARY 2025.

  • Broaden What Counts: Expanding the outcomes, data, expertise, and processes that drive grantmaking and technical assistance. 
    • Notions of expertise are conferred in a white supremacist society.  Experts are typically understood to be white, corporate, and distant from the community. We must shift this mindset and replace it with a media and social ecosystem that affirms the genius inherent in Baltimore’s Black and Brown communities.

  • Be a Community Resource: Contributing to the youth development sector in Baltimore holistically.
    •  BCYF will not be able to satisfy the financial needs of community-based organizations by itself. In response to the 2018 BCYF RFP there were $75 million in requests for funding.  The best use of BCYF is to be a catalyst for transforming the center of gravity of youth service into the hands of the community, and cultivate the community’s ability to be self-sufficient.

  • Invest with our Values: Integrating our practices with BCYF’s values to promote justice, inclusion, and equity. 
    • Leading with trust, making space for healing and relationship building in all things. Reflecting.

  • Commit to Transparency: Clarity about what happens and when and how decisions are made. 
    • BCYF is subject to city audits, public information laws and other reporting requirements. Unlike traditional philanthropic entities, BCYF is committed to authentic community engagement and our strategy and grants decisions have been shaped by a range of Baltimoreans. Instead of making decisions behind closed doors, BCYF partners with Baltimore residents themselves to decide how funds are spent. BCYF reports regularly to the Baltimore City government and citizens.


BCYF is one of the most unique grantmaking organizations in the United States. Instead of being sustained by private endowments, corporations and individuals, we are funded by Baltimore City residents, with an annual appropriation of 3 cents on every $100 of assessed value of all Baltimore City properties dedicated to BCYF. 



BCYF awards grants to organizations that provide programming to thousands of Baltimore’s young people ranging from academic support and science exploration to dance and photography and more. Unlike traditional philanthropic efforts in Baltimore, BCYF is committed to authentic community engagement. Our strategy, grantmaking priorities, and grant decisions are shaped and led by Baltimore community members and youth leaders.  



Through our strategic investments, we strive to resource a future where children and youth throughout the city enjoy access to high-caliber enrichment and learning opportunities, and children and youth programs have the resources they need to serve all our young people. 


According to the BCYF City Ordinance, BCYF funds programs and services that…


  • Are active in Baltimore City;– 
    • emphasis on programs or services operating in or meant to assist young people from the communities in Baltimore City most impacted by high poverty
  • Are credible with and accountable to youth and the local communities they are proposing to serve;
  • Have an element of youth-centered programming; and
  • Can demonstrate how they are designed to improve outcomes for young people.

Finances and Staffing

Since BCYF is funded by tax revenue,  information about its spending, including for grantmaking, technical assistance and administration,  is a matter of public record. If  you have questions about financial records, please submit a request under the Maryland Public Information Act. 

By law, BCYF is required to report annually to Baltimore City Council on its work. During that process, Baltimore City residents are encouraged to testify and give feedback on the work the organization has done.

We also strongly encourage residents to reach out to us directly if you have questions or concerns about BCYF.