Capacity Building

Our Impact Programs

Learning Lab


The city-wide learning series to explore racial justice and liberatory practice in youth-centered organizations with BCYF as a convener for intergenerational leaders to explore ideas in real-time. 


By undertaking this project, we aspire to inspire positive change and cultivate a more equitable and inclusive future within the Baltimore youth development sector. Together, we can create impactful dialogue, foster understanding, and build a network committed to addressing racial inequities.



  1. Empower community leaders, institutions, and organizations: Recognizing the need for collective action to address racial inequality within the Baltimore youth development sector, this project aims to empower community leaders, institutions, and organizations by equipping them with knowledge and skills related to racial equity and laboratory practice.
  2. Foster dialogue and understanding: By hosting a series of engaging discussions, workshops, and presentations, we intend to foster dialogue and understanding among participants, enabling them to address racial inequities effectively.
  3. Promote collaboration and knowledge sharing: Through this project, we strive to facilitate collaboration and knowledge sharing between community leaders, institutions, and organizations, creating a network of change agents committed to racial equity in Baltimore’s youth development sector.



#bcreds is the Baltimore Children & Youth Fund’s micro-credential, professional learning program for Baltimore youth-serving programs and organizations. A micro-credential is a short, competency-based recognition demonstrating mastery in a particular area. Participants design their own learning agenda, by selecting small learning modules based on their unique needs and interests. 


Each module is grounded in research and designed to be personalized, flexible, and interactive.  Successful completion results in a shareable professional endorsement from the Baltimore Children & Youth Fund. Offering pathways such as financial management, fundraising, and youth development best practices to help leaders better serve their communities and support their organizations’ growth.

Pre-Application Technical Assistance


BCYF builds the capacity of applicants by providing individualized, small-group, and large-group technical assistance. Prior to the grant cycle, BCYF hosts technical assistance to prospective Grassroots Fund applicants on application preparation. Offerings may include a Grassroots Fund Launch Event, Computer Lab sessions, and 1:1 Application Support. Additional topics may be provided based on BCYF’s current grantmaking priorities and identified areas of application

Avis Ransom Institute


The Avis Ransom Institute, a program under the Baltimore Children & Youth Fund (BCYF), is a leadership development initiative that equips young people with the skills and knowledge they need as community advocates, leaders, and stewards of power and resources. Participants cultivate a practice of civic leadership that is rooted in Black Liberation. 


The program includes the following components: instructional, community immersion, and pipeline connection.

BCYF, in partnership with Leaders for a Beautiful Struggle developed an experiential-learning curriculum focused on Black Baltimore’s movement history and the current civic and political landscape.

Additionally, the program consists of a community immersion component, allowing youth to apply the skills and knowledge they have learned in real-world settings. This includes field experiences, guest speakers, and case studies.

The pipeline connection component bridges the youth participants with local, statewide, and national leadership opportunities. This includes board service, mentorships, internships, and other opportunities for development.


The program aims to empower young people to become active and engaged members of their communities. It aligns with the Baltimore Children & Youth Fund (BCYF) values, which promote social and civic engagement and support community development.

Who is Avis Ransom?

The Leadership Institute is named after a Baltimore Legend; Avis Ransom. Avis spent her life working to create a better Baltimore. Her body of work ranges from working cooperatives to investing in the lives of Baltimore’s youth. 


Avis was a member of BUILD in its beginnings. She was most proud of its ability to amass grassroots power to eventually have an impact on the state budget. She keenly understood the importance of Black people being able to exercise power over the distribution of resources. Avis was one of the lead trainers of Baltimore Racial Justice Action. She has trained many of the most respected minds on racial justice in Baltimore. 


Avis had a unique ability to connect anti-racist theory with practical steps toward movement building. She played a central role in the Baltimore Black Workers’ Center and the Baltimore Transit Equity Coalition (BTEC). Her work at the Black Workers’ Center focused heavily on equipping Black workers with knowledge about rights and resources to effect change around the conditions they faced on the job. At BTEC, Avis worked tirelessly on the Red Line Transit system slated to come to Baltimore. She worked to have the routes be accessible to working-class Black people. 


Avis was also the Board President at The Baltimore Algebra Project. At the Algebra Project, Avis spent her time supporting youth taking control of their education and growing into exceptional leaders. 


Through all of her work there have been two undeniable threads: organizing for Black institutional power in Black communities and intentionally grounding that work in a character of integrity. For this reason the mission at the Avis Ransom Institute, in addition to building leadership skills, is to prioritize cultivating integrity in the hearts and minds of those who enter the institute.