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Johns Hopkins University awards nearly $6 million to nonprofits working to make East Baltimore safer

One Baltimore group will train “block captains” to keep peace in their own streets. Another will mentor young dirt bike riders. Yet another will improve safety for sex workers and drug users.

The efforts are among nine community projects to receive nearly $6 million from Johns Hopkins University for their work to make East Baltimore streets safer and its neighborhoods stronger. The university announced the recipients of the community safety grants Thursday.

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The money comes from the university’s new Innovation Fund for Community Safety — money to support neighborhood projects intended to stem street violence. The city has suffered more than 300 homicides in each of the last six years. This year, homicides are up 3%; nonfatal shootings up 14%.

“If we hope to turn the tide on violence in our community and in our city, then we must look to models like the Innovation Fund that demonstrate what can happen when we pool our collective resources, leverage our individual expertise, and explore new solutions together,” Johns Hopkins President Ronald Daniels said in a statement. “We are truly excited about the selected projects and look forward to the impact they will make.”

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Some 75 organizations applied for a share of the money. A committee of six community members and six university affiliates selected the winners. Their work will begin this month and the money will fund each program for three years. The funded groups and their projects include:

House of Ruth Maryland will intervene with men and women who have a history of domestic violence.

Baltimore Legacy Builders will provide STEM education, workforce development and mentoring to city youth, particularly dirt bike riders.

The No Boundaries Coalition will train neighborhood leaders to serve as “block captains” and advocate for and organize their neighbors.

WombWork Productions Inc. will hold arts and storytelling workshops to help families process trauma.

St. Vincent de Paul of Baltimore will enroll youth in food service training.

CASA will mediate between Black and Latino families in McElderry Park with community building events and youth programs.

Baltimore Heritage will deliver food, hold workforce training, mentoring, trauma support and other services at the Mildred A. Allen Arabber Equestrian and Heritage Center.

Charm City Care Connection will work to improve the safety of people who use drugs and do sex work.

Pro Bono Resource Center of Maryland will hold free legal clinics to help families find safe and affordable housing.

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