Nearly $3M in community impact grants awarded by United Way

The United Way of Central Maryland will provide nearly $3 million in community grants intended to provide financial stability to families, quality education to children and healthy alternatives to individuals, the organization said this week.

In all, 71 nonprofit programs will receive funding to change the lives of impoverished Marylanders. The money is expected to help offset a loss in services some may experience as a result of federal sequestration.

"Our region is simultaneously experiencing increases in poverty rates and government cuts to critical social programs," said Dominique Moore, chairwoman of the local United Way's Baltimore City Partnership Board. "At a time when the need is so immense, we must be strategic about funding programs that provide immediate help, as well as those that move people in poverty toward self-sufficiency in the long-term."

United Way received about 250 applications for more than $12 million of Community Impact Grants. Money for the grants came from donations by individuals, businesses and foundations in Central Maryland. About $200,000 was previously approved for Community Response Grants throughout the year.

Among the Community Impact Grant recipients were $33,390 to AIDS Interfaith Residential Services, $50,000 for the Anne Arundel County Food Bank and $40,000 for Baltimore Child Abuse Center. A virtual supermarket program at the Baltimore City Health Department received about $57,000 and the Boys & Girls Club of Harford County was awarded $50,000.

Lisa Lazarus, regional executive director of Reading Partners, said the $35,000 the organization received to support its personalized tutoring program will have a direct impact on the lives of Baltimore children. Reading Partners is a national literacy nonprofit that pairs with Baltimore on the city's Third Grade Reads initiative.

"Funding from United Way allows us to connect elementary school students from low-income Baltimore families with literacy skills and personal attention they need to succeed in school and beyond," Lazarus said in a statement. "By bringing partners together to focus on the issues of education, financial stability and health — which are all interconnected — United Way is enabling real, lasting change here in the Baltimore metropolitan area."

The impact and response grants are among numerous United Way efforts to stabilize the lives of Marylanders living in poverty. Other initiatives include Access to Healthy Food and Read Learn Succeed.

United Way also contributes to Associated Black Charities, American Red Cross and the American Heart Association. The nonprofit operates a 211 help line as well for individuals in need to connect to health and human services, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

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