Behind the scenes, The Associated’s agencies and volunteers are working to transform the city of Baltimore every day.
From taking a leadership role in revitalizing and stabilizing city neighborhoods to working with local schools and other nonprofit partners to foster educational success, The Associated is committed to ensuring that Baltimore thrives.
“The Associated and its network of non-profits are proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with Baltimore City residents and to partner in building bridges, deepening relationships and enhancing the community together,” says Ruth Miller, vice president of Community Planning and Allocations at The Associated.” In fact our Baltimore Community Partnerships committee is working to enhance collaborations and partnerships in the city as an expression of our Jewish values, history and traditions.”
Beginning in 2015, The Jewish Museum of Maryland (JMM) took a leadership role in the Jonestown Vision Plan initiative to redevelop this southeastern neighborhood of Baltimore City, north of Little Italy. The JMM is one of the anchor institutions in the community.
Since the launch of the initiative, Jonestown has seen significant redevelopment along East Baltimore Street.
“The Jewish community has deep roots on the east side of Baltimore,” says Marvin Pinkert, executive director of the JMM. “We are thrilled to be working with other neighborhood and institutional partners to be part of the redevelopment of this historic community.”
CHAI, meanwhile, has always been at the forefront of strengthening and stabilizing communities in neighborhoods with substantial Jewish populations. In the more than 30 years since the agency’s establishment, CHAI has strengthened five neighborhoods in northwest Baltimore City through promotion of home ownership.
The agency provided hundreds of loans over the years to help residents buy or renovate their homes. They even off er energy-eﬃcient grants and loans to assist low and moderate income homeowners with weatherization and energy eﬃciency upgrades and improvements to increase energy savings.
In addition, senior home repair programs help seniors who are aging in the community with maintenance, repairs and accommodations so they can live in their homes as long as possible.
Yet for a city to thrive, it needs more than economic development. It needs an educated workforce.
Jewish Volunteer Connection (JVC) is committed to working with city schools and other youth-serving programs, providing more than 200 volunteers who tutored, mentored and engaged students during the year and in the summer.
Recognizing that many of the children living in economically depressed areas of the city need additional support, JVC partners with Living Classrooms Foundation, an organization committed to strengthening communities and inspiring young people to achieve their potential through hands-on education and job training.
To date, JVC’s volunteers provided more than 375 soup kits, 485 snack bags and hundreds of homemade casseroles to Living Classrooms. Additionally, 85 volunteers donated their time for direct service opportunities such as leading camp activities for kids during field day.
“Our partners at Living Classrooms and in other youth-serving programs aim to motivate and empower children from low-income communities to reach their education and career goals,” says Ashley Pressman, executive director of JVC.
CHAI works with the schools in its neighborhoods to promote educational success.
One of those schools is Fallstaff Elementary and Middle School. According to Mitch Posner, CEO of CHAI, more than 80 percent of the students at Fallstaff receive free and reduced lunches.
Understanding that many students go hungry after school, CHAI partners with the Family League of Baltimore City (FLBC) to participate in their End Hunger campaign. The Supper program provides nutritious full course dinners, five days a week to all students who stay after school for activities, tutoring or enrichment.
CHAI has partnered with the Baltimore Hunger Project to provide more than 60 students from Fallstaff with backpacks filled with non-perishable food for students to take home for the weekends.
The goal of CHAI’s partnership efforts is to provide schools and students with much needed supports to help them achieve academic success.
In one of the more innovative school partnerships, Pearlstone Center received a grant to work with at-risk youth from Baltimore City Public Schools through the Promise Heights Initiative in West Baltimore.
The Promise Heights initiative was established by the University of Maryland School of Social Work to improve educational outcomes for youth and ensure families are healthy and successful in the West Baltimore communities of Upton/Druid Heights.
Students visit Pearlstone three times a year for hands-on workshops where they are exposed to healthy eating and respect for animals, nature and humankind. Students plant, cook, milk and feed the goats, and the program culminates in a fifth grade overnight retreat.
The results to date have been impressive. To participate, students need to improve school attendance. Since they’ve been part of the Pearlstone project, attendance has increased by 10 percent.
CHAI, JMM, JVC and Pearlstone are supported by The Associated.