Baltimore Community Foundation Target Neighborhood Initiative

The Target Neighborhood Initiative is an extension of Baltimore Community Foundation’s (BCF) strategy to invest in “middle neighborhoods,” neighborhoods with underlying strengths but that have been historically undervalued—many of which are now retaining and attracting new residents and serving as critical regional building blocks.

Reservoir Hill Improvement Council was selected to be one of two initial target neighborhoods.  BCF commits $300,000 plus significant staff and other human resource support over a three year period.

BCF worked closely with RHIC in developing a plan for the three year investment, and in incorporating issues of race, equity and inclusion into the planning process and work.  A series of leadership team sessions, a Board of Directors meeting, and joint meetings of the teams, Board, and staff in May – July 2012 established a set of priorities.  This constituted the core of RHIC’s planning processes for the BCF three-year investment.  Sixty-five individuals participated in the process.  Partner organizations represented in the leadership teams included Beth Am Synagogue, Bolton-Park Neighbors, Child First, Historic Mt. Royal Terrace Association, John Eager HowardRecreation Center, John Eager Howard School, Lakeside Neighbors Coalition, New Lens, Reservoir Hill Mutual Homes, Upper Eutaw Madison Neighborhood Association, and Whitelock Community Farm. Discussions are underway with St. Francis Neighborhood Center to better incorporate the Center into neighborhood planning.

Below you will find RHIC’s action plans for this initiative.

Healthy Neighborhoods Inc.

Healthy Neighborhoods Inc. (HNI) helps strong but undervalued neighborhoods increase home values, market their communities, create high standards for property improvements and forge strong connections among neighbors.  This revitalization strategy focuses on neighborhood strengths, amenities, resident involvement and leadership to create neighborhoods of choice.

Healthy Neighborhoods offers low interest purchase and rehab loans at 1% below the Fannie Mae rate and 110% appraised value.  Block and capital projects and neighborhood events are also supported by HNI financing to engage residents to forge stronger connection, attract new home buyers and create positive neighborhood images.

Here are just a few successful neighborhood projects supported by HNI funding:

  • Restoration of the upper Park Avenue fountain
  • Attractive iron window boxes on Newington Avenue
  • Iron tree well fences on Linden Avenue
  • Restoration of vacant lots
  • Neighborhood festivals

How does HNI help?

  • provides capital for purchase and rehab by homeowners
  • provides professional advice for rehabbers
  • supports community projects with positive images
  • provides neighborhood marketing
  • provides performance measures
  • solicit partnerships

And how do we know its working?

  • increased home values
  • rising tax base
  • decreased time on market
  • increased equity investments
  • neighborhood organization and activity

Baltimore Education CoalitionTransform Baltimore

Through the Baltimore Education Coalition and Transform Baltimore, RHIC works with city-wide partners to foster excellent schools and stellar school facilities, and promote strategic investment in neighborhoods.

Baltimore Education Coalition is a citywide grassroots network that advocates for high quality public education for Baltimore City students.  In recent years, the coalition has prevented over $100 million dollars in proposed funding cuts to city schools, which ensured that John Eager Howard and schools citywide did not lose critical funding to maintain teachers and resources in the classrooms.  The coalition also played a critical role in the Transform Baltimore campaign, which won $1 billion to rebuild or renovate schools in Baltimore City.  This $1 billion represents the first phase of Baltimore City Public School System’s 21st Century Schools for Our Kids – the initiative to modernize all city school buildings - to get started.  This effort was successful due to the dedication and perseverance of thousands of parents, students, teachers, administrators, and community leaders who came to Annapolis and City Hall to make their voices heard for Baltimore City’s 85,000 students and their communities.

The Transform Baltimore campaign calls upon elected officials and decision-makers at city, state, and federal levels to adopt and implement a funding plan to renovate and modernize all public school buildings in Baltimore City within eight years.  Now that the first $1 billion has been secured, the campaign (1) monitors and supports the implementation of the city’s 21st Century School modernization initiative, (2) advocates for full funding of the entire ten year plan for modernizing city schools, and (3) advocates for strategic planning in communities where schools are being built to increase and guide neighborhood investment.

In this way, we Build Schools and Build Neighborhoods