Did you know? African-American men from all walks of life who are making a positive impact in Baltimore now have the opportunity to win grant money from BMe to continue making the community stronger.
From January 23 to February 28, 2013, black men who have uploaded video testimonials of what they do to better their community and fill out brief applications at BMeCommunity.org, have a chance at grants of up to $20,000 each. BMe will be giving away a total of $200,000 in Baltimore.
The idea is to acknowledge what so many brothers are already doing for their communities and to support their willingness to work together for the greater good. To forward that mission, priority for funding will be given to projects that include partnerships or multiple people working together to deepen their impact.
“So many brothers are doing more than their fair share to make Baltimore a better place to live. By providing funding, BMe hopes to both give them the boost they need to go further with their work, and bring more people into the growing ranks of engaged black men,” said Trabian Shorters, vice president of communities for the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, which is piloting BMe in partnership with the Open Society Foundations.
Numerous events—from barbershop talks to “random acts of community”—have taken place in three cities—Detroit, Philadelphia and Baltimore—since BMe’s official launch in November 2012. Hundreds of men have shared their stories at these events—many of which can be found at here.
“BMe is a powerful platform that builds on the existing assets and contributions of black men in Baltimore,” said Shawn Dove, manager of the Open Society Foundations Campaign for Black Male Achievement. “We’re thrilled to partner with the Knight Foundation in this endeavor that spotlights and supports the iconic leaders we need who are already in our communities doing the work.”
This is the first year of the BMe pilot in Baltimore. Last year more than 2,000 men from Detroit and Philadelphia shared video testimonials of what they do to give back in big and small ways—and Baltimoreans are now following suit.
For example, Cory McCray, an electrician, community advocate and father, grew up on the streets in Northeast Baltimore. Now, he is a community advocate for safer neighborhoods in Baltimore, presides on several executive boards, and actively participates with numerous local unions. He is an energetic advocate for social justice and wears many hats in support of effective leadership. Hear his story here!
David Ross, also known as Native Son, is co-founder of The 5th L (Element), a spoken-word poetry/hip-hop group that uses art to help people overcome trauma. His group also facilitates a violence intervention program at the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center. Listen to his story here!
Grant recipients will be announced this spring. Applying is easy, with just five questions on the initial application. BMe will also offer a webinar and an in-person town hall to answer questions and help people with their applications.
Past BMe participants have included coaches, fathers, business owners, returning citizens, students and artists who have led collaborative projects in Detroit and Philadelphia that do everything from helping youth become more effective advocates of social justice issues to helping people set up businesses and connect internationally. For dates of the webinars and other information or to apply for a grant, click here.