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Baltimore donors investing $5 million in program to help needy families

Dozens of Baltimore donors have invested $5 million in a national nonprofit group that aims to help Baltimore families struggling with poverty, according to a news release.

The GreenLight Fund will work with Baltimore community leaders to first identify “unmet needs” of struggling families and then seek out and physically bring an existing nonprofit that specializes in meeting that need to Baltimore, a company spokeswoman said.

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The $5 million will be allocated over the next five years.

“Baltimore’s strong philanthropic and nonprofit ecosystem, along with the commitment of local community, government and business leaders to find innovative ways to address persistent challenges, make the city one where GreenLight’s model is poised to make a significant impact,” John Simon, co-founder and board chair of the GreenLight Fund and a managing director at Boston-based venture capital firm Sigma Prime Ventures said in a news release.

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The fund is being launched with the support of more than 80 Baltimore based investors, the release said, including the Ravens, T. Rowe Price, The Under Armour Foundation and Charm City Run.

Baltimore joins Atlanta, Boston and Philadelphia, along with six other cities with a GreenLight Fund.

Throughout 2020, GreenLight reached more than 325,000 children and families across its locations, the news release said. The initiative has focused on a wide variety of issues in the various cities including early childhood literacy, college access and persistence, teacher effectiveness, poor health outcomes, family income and asset-building and youth aging out of foster care.

The Baltimore initiative will be led by a yet-to-named executive director with “deep roots” in the city who will form a an advisory council with local leaders and residents from businesses, nonprofits, government and community members. The council will help pinpoint issues that have yet to be addressed, the release said. The first selection is expected to be made in 2022.

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Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott said he knows there is more work to do, particularly because of the impact by the coronavirus, which makes the GreenLight Fund a welcome addition to the city.

“That is why I am energized by GreenLight Fund’s model, and am thrilled to welcome them to Baltimore,” Scott said in a news release. “Their focus on listening to the community as integral to their process and their commitment to bring proven programs with measurable results to fill needs not already addressed here will be game changing.”

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