MCBF awarded $1,500 to this organization for its “Trash Bags to Travel Bags” initiative.  This initiative provides children living and entering into the foster care system with luggage -- replacing the current practice of transporting their belongings in trash bags when changing homes.  A Step Closer Foundation gives real travel bags filled with essential items including a small photo album to contain a few pictures of pre-foster care life the child may have brought, a journal for recording important information and their thoughts, a coloring book and other puzzles and reading books for their leisure.  The younger children, in particular, get stuffed animals, blankets, book bags and school supplies.  Essential toiletries based on gender are also provided, as well as seasonal items such as winter hats and gloves.  This is a repeat grant recipient for this very worth-while program.  The program reaches thousands of foster children within the Baltimore metropolitan area.  For more information, go to www.astepcloser.org.





               MCBF awarded $1,500 to this non-profit for its DIVAS program.  The DIVAS program is a psycho- educational group program developed for teenage girls who have been exposed to child sexual abuse or other types of trauma.  The program participants are lead through curriculum on a variety of topics such as communication skills, self-esteem, personal safety awareness and conflict resolution.  The young women are given workshops demonstrating positive body language and communication, as well as professional development activities.  The program spans 8 to 12 weeks and is modeled around the school calendar.  DIVAS also encourages involvement of the participants’ parents or caregivers who can attend program orientation to learn the goals of the program, as well as learn how to reinforce the lessons presented through the DIVAS program in their households.  In addition, there is a closing ceremony to which caregivers and parents are invited.  For more information on DIVAS or on the Baltimore Child Abuse Center, go to www.baltimorechildabusecenter.org.



BALTIMORE SEMAA (Science, Engineering, Mathematics, Aerospace Academy)

               MCBF has awarded a $1,500 grant to the above non-profit for this NASA inspired and developed program, started in 2000, which exposes historically underrepresented youth to activities in the STEM field and to increase the number of these students enrolling in science, mathematics, engineering and technology related majors in college.  The project is needed to expose underserved youth to science, math, engineering and aerospace careers to encourage them to enter college with a view to pursuing these types of careers.  The project consists of Saturday classes for students in grades K through 12 in Baltimore City and in surrounding counties, as well.  It is a free program historically supported by NASA grant funding, with facilities supported by Morgan State University.  Due to changes in NASA grant funding additional funds were needed to continue this very unique and worthwhile program.  Last year, we learned of this program and gave them a grant.  We are pleased to repeat a grant award this year.  For more information, Google SEMAA, or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..




               MCBF has awarded a $1,500 grant to the above non-profit for its “Extended Time” program.  KIPP, the Knowledge Is Power Program is a national network of free, open enrollment college preparatory public schools with a track record of preparing students in underserved communities for success in college and in life.  KIPP Baltimore is a local non-profit organization whose mission is to create and operate public schools in Baltimore City that lead students from low socio-economic backgrounds and a diversity of skill levels to attend and succeed in four year colleges.  The “extended time” program is aimed at reaching students who need additional academic help to progress through high school and remain on the path to college.  An extended day means that students are engaged in productive and engaging activities during after school hours – the time when more privileged peers typically participate in enrichment activities, such as sports and dance, outside of school.  KIPP provides structured activities and adult supervision, combined with continued learning opportunities in 4 core subjects like art, music, Spanish and technology.  This program helps impact students who are at risk of participating in or becoming victims of illegal activities involving drugs, alcohol, sex and crimes.  For more information on KIPP Baltimore, Inc. go to www.kippbaltimore.org.





               MCBF has awarded a $1,500 grant to the Maryland Zoo for its ZOOmobile educational outreach program.  This is another repeat recipient which MCBF is very proud to support.  This is a very unique educational program which takes the zoo to children in Baltimore City Title I Elementary Schools – children who might not have an opportunity to visit a zoo and see these animals.  During the ZOOmobile program, trained instructors travel to our City schools taking live animals to students and allowing them to participate in hands-on activities.  These human and animal educators help students learn important life science concepts and develop an appreciation for the natural world.  ZOOmobile programs align with state and national education curriculum standards.  The ZOOmobile program in the upcoming year will target second grade students with one of two 50 minute programs, either lessons on habitats of animals or animal classification.  For more information on the ZOOmobile program, go to www.marylandzoo.org.





               MCBF has awarded a $1,500 grant to the above organization for its “The Museum To Go” program.  This program will extend the museum’s community outreach efforts to serve underserved children and their families in Baltimore City and Baltimore County.  There is an overwhelming number of school groups who want to visit the museum but do not have the resources to provide admissions cost and/or transportation.  In partnership with other funders and the Museum, MCBF grant funding, will allow more school groups to visit the museum, a target audience that the museum needs to strategically engage.  It will help to implement outreach efforts to each respective school system, creating relationships with superintendents, principals, teachers, parents and other educational organizations to visit the museum with free/reduced admission and/or bus transportation to explore Maryland African American history and culture through the museum’s lesson plans and permanent exhibits.  The museum seeks to engage all cross sections of society through scenic dialogue about the community and the people that live in it.  In order to fulfill this mission, the museum feels it is extremely important to engage citizens at an earlier age and to build stronger bonds with local education systems.  For more information on this program, or other programs, at the Lewis Museum, go to http://rflewismuseum.org.