BHCA’s Social Action Task Force (SATF) formed after the unrest in Baltimore in spring 2015 to take steps to support greater solidarity and community between Bolton Hill and nearby neighborhoods in the 21217 ZIP Code.
SATF’s main efforts began with organizing Parties with a Purpose and then compiling a Volunteer and Giving Guide to highlight the many local community organizations and non-profits doing wonderful work. Whether you like throwing parties or giving your time, money, or needed supplies, there are several ways to show support. Contact email@example.com for more information and also look here for BHCA’s opportunities to improve neighborhood greening, safety, and connections between neighbors.
Volunteer and Giving Guide
If any updates or additions are needed for the opportunities and organizations listed below, please email firstname.lastname@example.org–and thank you for your generous support of these terrific local organizations! Together we can foster the thriving, safe, and caring community that we all call home.
Linden Park Apartments Community, 301 McMechen Street
The beautifully renovated and energy efficient Linden Park Apartments has a strong and vibrant social community. Bingo is very popular, so it would welcome donations of prizes for general use, such as dish towels, detergent, and word puzzles. Alternatively, donations are needed for the Rent Support Fund to assist residents when they are in a pinch. Contact Resident Services Coordinator Dawn Matthews at the front desk at 410-728-5900 or email@example.com.
Baltimore Heritage, 100 N. Charles Street, Suite P101
Since 1960, Baltimore Heritage has worked to preserve and promote Baltimore’s historic buildings and neighborhoods, particularly important in the city’s disinvested communities. Current projects in the 21217 Zip Code include restoring the comfort station in Lafayette Square Park so it can be used for events such as the Billy Holliday Festival in September, restoring the only woman-owned Arabber stable building in Franklin Square, and helping stabilize and redevelop the Juanita Jackson Mitchell Law Office in Marble Hill. Plus, Baltimore Heritage has produced dozens of Five Minute Histories videos about really cool places in Baltimore. Support Baltimore Heritage’s work by becoming a member, donating money, or volunteering.
Baltimore Unity Hall, 1505 Eutaw Place
The newly renovated Baltimore Unity Hall serves as a much-needed community arts, education, and training center for the diverse neighborhoods of Central West Baltimore. Baltimore Unity Hall acts as a beacon of transformation, breaking down barriers, and creating an inclusive community resource space. High quality and affordable office spaces in the building house vibrant local community organizations such as Charm: Voices of Baltimore Youth, Arts Every Day, and the No Boundaries Coalition. In addition, it offers affordable artist studios and co-working memberships to provide these important services to an underserved community.
Baltimore Unity Hall’s facilities include an auditorium, art exhibition space, commercial kitchen, and a large event space with audio visual equipment that can accommodate 250 people, all of which are available to rent at affordable prices. Community meetings, art exhibits, music performances, conferences, and training programs, as well as private events, bring people together to form an inclusive community.
Baltimore Unity Hall needs neighborhood support to sustain these important community efforts and to keep rents affordable. As a non-profit 501(c)3, all donations to Baltimore Unity Hall are tax deductible.
Black Women Build
Black Women Build is a homeownership and wealth building initiative that trains black women in carpentry, electrical, and plumbing by restoring vacant and deteriorated houses in West Baltimore.
Make a tax-exempt donation to support Black Women Build.
Citizens Policing Project, 1546 N. Fremont Avenue
The Citizen’s Policing Project (CPP) continues the hard work of engaging the community to ensure police accountability and continuously uplifting the demands of the consent decree to reform the Baltimore Police Department. Working from St. Peter Claver Church at Upton Triangle, CPP focuses on building local community with its Beyond Youth Organizing program, which empowers youth voices while training youth as organizers and activists. On the third Thursday of every month from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., CPP hosts an outreach event called OpportUNITY Avenue, where CPP hosts a free expungement clinic and connects community members to job opportunities, job training, education assistance, access housing, housing supports, and other necessary resources.
CPP is one of the organizations supported by the Baltimore’s Heroes Campaign. Please donate money to support CPP’s mission. For more information, contact Ray Kelly at firstname.lastname@example.org or 443-718-9978.
Food Assistance Programs, Corpus Christi Catholic Church, 110 W. Lafayette Avenue
Support Corpus Christi‘s food assistance programs by donating non-perishable food items. For other volunteer opportunities, call Beth Steinrock at 410-523-4161.
Fresh at the Avenue, 1700 Pennsylvania Avenue
The No Boundaries Coalition’s commitment to bring quality products and other healthy foods to Central West Baltimore’s food desert created Fresh at the Avenue. The Coalition runs Fresh and the Avenue at a permanent food stall in the historic Pennsylvania Avenue Market every Thursday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Local residents can purchase a wide variety of fresh produce, much of which is grown in local Baltimore City farms, such as the Whitelock Community Farm and Strength to Love II in the 21217 ZIP Code. The program also provides workforce development by offering residents employment opportunities at the food stall. The jobs pay a fair wage, give public-facing responsibilities, and train workers in skills that will make them attractive to employers.
It’s easy to support this food justice program by simply shopping at the food stall. Or become more personally involved by volunteering for a shift at the market–it’s fun. You can also donate to Fresh at the Avenue. Email email@example.com for more information.
Intersection for Change, 1947 Pennsylvania Avenue
Intersection of Change undertakes projects and provides programs that enrich the economic, social, and spiritual lives of those impacted by poverty related challenges in Sandtown-Winchester, Upton, and surrounding neighborhoods. Its completed projects have significantly revitalized the 1900 and 2000 blocks of historic Pennsylvania Avenue by fully renovating six previously vacant and dilapidated buildings, transforming 18 vacant lots into community green spaces and meditative gardens, creating three dozen neighborhood murals, and converting 1.5 acres of vacant lots into an urban farm. Its programs include:
Martha’s Place: a recovery program for women overcoming substance abuse and homelessness that helps women achieve sobriety while maintaining a job and housing.
Jubilee Arts: a comprehensive art program that uses art as a catalyst for social change, as a tool for empowerment, and as a tool to learn Black history and improve the future.
Strength to Love II: this large urban farm creates a source of fresh vegetables for neighbors in the West Baltimore food desert while providing workforce development for citizens returning to the community from incarceration.
Support or volunteer for these programs directly or donate to the umbrella organization Intersection for Change.
Jubilee Baltimore, 25 E. 20th Street
Jubilee Baltimore is a non-profit that provides planning and development expertise to revive safe, stable, historic, attractive, and diverse neighborhoods in Baltimore. It helps residents build the kinds of neighborhoods they want. Your donation can earn Community Investment Tax Credits to offset state taxes, in addition to the regular charitable deductions on both federal and state taxes. Contact Charlie Duff at firstname.lastname@example.org or 410-327-7373.
Justice and Reparations Initiative, Memorial Episcopal Church, 1407 Bolton Street
Every year Memorial Episcopal‘s Justice and Reparations Initiative invests funds in Black-led justice initiatives in Baltimore City, focusing on small programs and organizations in the 21217 ZIP Code. Any donation you make will go directly to support them. Read about Memorial Episcopal’s Justice and Reparations Initiative, and support the church’s efforts by donating to the Hollyday Fund or by volunteering by emailing email@example.com.
Lillie Carroll Jackson Civil Rights Museum, 1320 Eutaw Place
The Lillie Carroll Jackson Civil Rights Museum is a living history museum in the home of freedom fighter Lillie Carroll Jackson showcasing Baltimore’s leadership in the national Civil Rights Movement. Donate to the museum or even better, go visit–it’s a real neighborhood treasure!
No Boundaries Coalition, 1505 Eutaw Place
Support the No Boundaries Coalition, Central West Baltimore’s resident-led advocacy organization and its many projects, such as improving healthy food access with Fresh at the Avenue produce market at the historic Pennsylvania Avenue Market and empowering residents of all ages to organize in their community around issues that are important to them through the Block Captains Boot Camp and No Boundaries Youth Organizer programs. Join in by attending monthly meetings on the second Tuesdays of the month at 6 p.m. in the Baltimore Unity Hall auditorium. You can also donate to the No Boundaries Coalition.
Open Doors Fund, Beth Am Synagogue, 2501 Eutaw Place
Beth Am Synagogue’s social justice programs support inclusive, sustainable community revitalization to make the synagogue in, for, and of Reservoir Hill. Donate to Beth Am’s Open Doors Fund.
Samaritan Community, 1407 Bolton Street
Poverty, unemployment, housing instability, hunger, abuse, and illness don’t take a break, and neither does the Samaritan Community. The Samaritan Community supports respectful assistance to improve the lives of individuals and families who have encountered a crisis in their lives. Donate to the Samaritan’s Fund and 100 percent of your donation will go directly to people who have lost their jobs or homes from a crisis. Or, donate non-perishable food for the Samaritan Community pantry; food items may be dropped off in the basket in the outside breezeway between Memorial Episcopal Church and Rectory on Bolton Street on Mondays or Thursdays, 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. Or, you can become involved by volunteering and joining a great community.
Women’s Housing Coalition, 119 E. 25th Street
The Women’s Housing Coalition supports families and individuals with permanent and affordable, service-enriched housing. Along with safe, comfortable housing, the Women’s Housing Coalition also provides case management, resident advocacy, and life skills training to formerly homeless women and their families. Dedicated to breaking the cycle of homelessness, its supportive housing services enable women to achieve and sustain social and financial stability. Residents are in need of many items for day-to-day living and welcome in-kind donations consistent with guidelines. You can also donate to the Women’s Housing Coalition.
Brown Memorial Tutoring Program, Brown Memorial Presbyterian Church, 1316 Park Avenue
The Brown Memorial Tutoring Program is a longstanding volunteer-based literacy tutoring program for local elementary school students. Volunteers undergo training and are paired with one or more students for regular tutoring sessions. Volunteer or financially contribute to Brown Memorial Tutoring Program.
CHARM: Voices of Baltimore Youth, 1505 Eutaw Place
In 2013, a group of teachers and their students founded CHARM Lit Mag, and since then, CHARM has produced 16 publications featuring the poetry, fiction, essays, and artwork of students across Baltimore City’s public schools. Believing that kids’ voices matter, its mission is to help young people develop as writers. In addition to the magazine, CHARM offers programming for middle and high school students, both during and outside of the school day, all focused on developing, inspiring, and amplifying student voices from its base in Baltimore Unity Hall. Support CHARM’s work by shopping at the CHARM Marketplace, where you can buy its publications and other cool items, or donate to CHARM.
Jubilee Arts, 1947 Pennsylvania Avenue
Jubilee Arts is one part of Intersection of Change. It offers community arts classes and more to residents of Sandtown-Winchester, Upton, and surrounding neighborhoods. Jubilee’s work honors the neighborhood’s rich African-American arts culture and makes it thrive in the community. In partnership with MICA, area artists, writers, and dancers, Jubilee Arts offers programming in dance, visual arts, creative writing, and ceramics, plus a really cool Youth in Business program.
St. Francis Neighborhood Center, 2405 Linden Avenue
St. Francis Neighborhood Center is Baltimore’s oldest youth enrichment center and provides classes, mentoring, and tutoring for Reservoir Hill families. The St. Francis is in the midst of completing a multi-year project of renovating and expanding its facilities. Once the construction is completed, it will be able to serve up to 200 youth, while supporting for the senior community with weekly senior socials. St. Francis has dozens of volunteer opportunities and a regularly updated Amazon Wish List with supplies for its programs. Expanding facilities and programing takes increased and sustainable support, so support St. Francis with a one-time or reoccurring donation.
Wide Angle Youth Media, 2601 N. Howard Street
Wide Angle Youth Media is a media arts organization that collaborates with and amplifies the voices of Baltimore youth and engages audiences across social divides. Training youth using state-of-the-industry video, recording, and editing equipment, its programs inspire creativity and instill confidence in young people, supporting them to navigate school, career, and life. Since 2000, Wide Angle Youth Media has worked with over 7,770 youth from across Baltimore City who have produced thousands of media projects about their lives and communities. This year, its Baltimore Speaks Out program includes Bolton Hill’s Mt. Royal Elementary-Middle School, engaging 30 middle school students. Show support by donating to Wide Angle Youth Media.
The Y at Druid Hill, 1609 Druid Hill Avenue
Baltimore’s first YMCA for the Black community, the Druid Hill Y opened at its current location in 1918, complete with an indoor pool. Thurgood Marshall, Cab Calloway, and many other are residents learned to swim at the Druid Hill Y when it was the only pool in the area that would allow people of color to swim. Find out more about its important history in a Baltimore Heritage Five Minute Histories video.
After a major restoration in 2010, the current state-of-the-art facility offers all the traditional athletic club equipment as well as a gym for basketball and racquetball, a dance and yoga studio, and a pool. Be part of this historical community by becoming a member for a lower cost than most gyms. One membership gives access to all YMCA locations, plus the benefit of working out nearby and meeting neighbors. You can join or volunteer. The Y’s Open Doors Program helps make all its programs and services as affordable as possible to everyone in the community, which you can support with a donation.
Bolton Hill Nursery, 204 W. Lanvale Street
Offering nursery school and childcare programs, Bolton Hill Nursery nurtures and empowers creative and inquisitive children with a play-based approach. It’s a neighborhood treasure. Donate to Bolton Hill Nursery’s annual fund to enhance its scholarship program and maintain and improve its gardens.
Parties with a Purpose
SATF originally organized Parties with a Purpose for any worthy nonprofit or project sharing Bolton Hill’s ZIP Code to strengthen connections between Bolton Hill and its greater community. Organizing a Party with a Purpose simply entails throwing a party for the joint purpose of 1) spreading awareness about the nonprofit or project to the Bolton Hill community and 2) collecting donations of money, time, and materials for the cause.
Anyone in Bolton Hill can throw a Party with a Purpose to spread awareness of a Baltimore nonprofit or project to the Bolton Hill community. BHCA can help promote it by emailing the list of Bolton Hill community members who’ve indicated an interest in SATF events. BHCA does not take a cut of any donations for a party it promotes because it is simply a conduit for supporting great work that builds up a better Baltimore.
- Identify a nonprofit or project you care about that you want others to know about and support.
- To make the organizing more manageable, it’s always a good idea to find one, two, or a few others to help with the organizing. If you’re looking for helpers, you could ask for like-minded volunteers through the SATF email list by emailing the details to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Start thinking and planning on a date for the party 8 to 12 weeks in advance to give ample time for arranging the details and spreading the word about the event.
- Create some sort of flyer to help with the advertising and list it in the Bolton Hill Bulletin by emailing it to email@example.com in the first half of the month for the upcoming issue (September through June). An image of the flyer can be used to promote the party through electronic communication channels. Printed flyers can be posted to the sidewalk kiosks around Bolton Hill. And you should be encouraged to promote it outside of the neighborhood as well.
- You can hold the party anywhere, whether it’s in a home, on a stoop, in a park, or at an indoor community gathering space around Bolton Hill. Sometimes it makes sense to hold it at a specific location if it’s associated with the nonprofit or project. If it’s held outdoors, make sure to make rain-related contingency plans.
- Plan for the party to last about two hours. SATF has found that weekday evenings or Sunday afternoons or early evenings are good times.
- You can probably expect around 40 people, but it’ll vary depending on an array of factors, many of them related to how well you promote the party.
- Plan how the program portion of the party will be structured. Some suggestions:
- Allot a 30-45 minute meet ‘n greet period, where people can arrive, socialize, and eat and drink.
- Then, a representative of the nonprofit or the party planners gives a presentation about the beneficiary of the party, usually about 30 minutes.
- Encourage attendees to support the cause with money and whatever else the nonprofit says it needs such as volunteers, materials, or general promotion.
- Feel free to expand the program with information about the nonprofit or project that you think people will want to hear before or during the party: videos, oral presentations, questions and answers, the latest research on the topic, or the latest good news about the work. Basically, you’d make a traditional fundraising pitch, but to an audience of neighbors.
- Finish with more party.
- Regarding the money:
- Crucially, be deliberate about asking for donations. Have a bowl or basket for people to contribute at the door and pass it around once the party’s underway. If the nonprofit has a website donation portal, have a laptop or flyers on hand with a QR code linking to it, which allows donors to take a tax deduction if they choose.
- Have two people count all cash and checks and give all the proceeds to the representative of the nonprofit or project at the end of the party.
- It is possible for BHCA to accept donations online on behalf of the party beneficiary for a limited period of time and then write a check for the total amount to the beneficiary. More information about that possibility is on the BHCA Finances for Events and Projects webpage.
- Don’t forget to figure out what drinks and food to serve and who’s in charge of providing them.
For more information or ideas, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.