A grant from the Baltimore Children & Youth Fund allowed Banner Neighborhoods Community Corp. to expand its programs for young people in East Baltimore – for example, launching a soccer league for kids and providing summer jobs for more young people.
But the support from BCYF was about more than direct financial aid. Mary Warren, a member of BCYF’s technical assistance team, provided hands-on help with an organizational strategic plan and building capacity for the board of directors.
“One thing that was really helpful to me was the technical assistance we received from the Youth Fund. T.A. provider Mary Warren was the best thing ever,” says Robin Truiett-Theodorson, Banner’s executive director. “She was just so helpful in so many ways. Banner has been around for a long time, but we had very little structure in place. Having that extra support in bringing more structure to our organization was really helpful.”
The BCYF grants to Banner in the first two grant cycles also helped leverage funding from the Goldseker Foundation to do strategic planning, expanding the organization’s financial base and giving it more security.
Banner, like all nonprofits, is now developing new ways to serve young people during the virus pandemic. The organization is using Zoom to stay in touch with the kids who were taking part in Banner programs, dropping off soccer balls and launching a contest for kids to keep track of their physical activities while remaining at home. Banner is also developing a plan to employ young people remotely this summer in a program that teaches them about job/career readiness, civic engagement and financial literacy.
“We’re committed to giving the kids the opportunity to earn money this summer,” Truiett-Theodorson says.