The Baltimore Community Foundation awarded nearly $123,000 for 33 community projects that will pay for litter clean up, increase the number of vegetable gardens and bring kids and police officers together for flag football games.

The foundation, which announced the grants Friday, will distribute the money throughout the city and Baltimore County as a way to spur neighborhood activism. The grants range from $1,500 to $5,000.

"Social engagement is key to neighborhood development, and we are seeing some real changes happening from the bottom up," Tom Wilcox, foundation president, said in a statement. "These grants might seem small but they can have a big impact on the entire community."

The Neighborhood Grants Program awards money for leadership, mobilization and community arts. Throughout all of its programs, the foundation distributed $19 million in 2013 to hundreds of nonprofits.

Among the awardees are $2,000 for Adopt A Block Inc. for neighborhood cleanups and block parties in East Baltimore and $2,000 for the Ashburton Area Association to boost the number of vegetable gardens in the community, host a Fall Apple Festival and work with students to publish mini-books on man's connection to nature.

The Safe Alternative Foundation for Education will receive $5,000 for a project to bring 25 middle schoolers together with police officers and firefighters for a six-week flag football program to improve relationships with law enforcement.

ywenger@baltsun.com

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