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Baltimore 'youth fund' moves closer to distributing $12M

Baltimore City lawmakers unanimously voted Thursday for legislation that would bring the city closer to distributing money from a $12 million fund for children and teens.

“Today marks a turning point for the City of Baltimore,” said City Council President Bernard C. “Jack” Young in a statement. “It’s a moment we should truly celebrate and lift up as an example of the power of collectively investing in our young people and the power that comes from engaging in such a strong and forceful turn toward inclusion and equity.

After the unanimous vote of the City Council, a final vote is needed by the city’s spending panel, the Board of Estimates.

The fund was created when city voters overwhelmingly approved the new approach to funding youth programs last year.

By law, the city’s contribution to the youth fund is determined by the value of assessable property. The latest estimate of the city’s assessable base is $40.4 billion, which means $12.1 million in taxpayer money was funneled to the youth fund in the budget year that began July 1. The size of the fund is likely to increase in future years as property values increase.

For the first year of the fund, Young has proposed, based on a task force’s recommendations, that Associated Black Charities take the lead in distributing the grants and then set up a new organization to do so going forward.

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