The GreenLight Fund Launches its 10th City, GreenLight Baltimore


Fund intends to commit $5 million in Baltimore over the next five years to lead a community-driven process to attract innovative, proven programs and break down barriers to prosperity

The GreenLight Fund, with support from more than 80 local philanthropic investors, today announced Baltimore will be the tenth GreenLight Fund city. Through its effective model that connects select cities with proven social innovations from across the country, the organization will partner with the community to tackle locally-identified unmet needs aimed at addressing deep-rooted disparities and creating opportunities for children and families.

“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,” said John Simon, co-founder and board chair of the GreenLight Fund and a managing director at Boston-based venture capital firm Sigma Prime Ventures.

GreenLight Baltimore will be focused on breaking down barriers compounded by current and historic racial inequities. This Fund is set to bring four evidence-based programs to Baltimore over five years, addressing four community-identified needs. The organization will establish partnerships and embed these programs locally, growing reach and ensuring sustainability in order to provide economic mobility opportunities for more children, youth and families – with consistently measurable results.

Baltimore Mayor Brandon M. Scott shared his support, “I am so proud of our city, yet we know there is more work to do to build a more prosperous and equitable future for so many of our residents, particularly given the impact of COVID-19. That is why I am energized by GreenLight Fund’s model, and am thrilled to welcome them to Baltimore. 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.”

“GreenLight brings a framework that’s working in nine other cities including Philadelphia and Detroit. Once the community identifies an unmet need, we find a proven program to address that need, one with the best local fit and demonstrated scalable impact,” added Simon. “Social innovations addressing seemingly intractable problems exist across the country. The GreenLight model matches those with communities that need them, helping children and families thrive.”

In 2020 alone, GreenLight’s 33 portfolio organizations reached more than 325,000 children and families across the nine GreenLight cities with their innovative, replicable and effective programs.

“My wife Jackie and I have been impressed by GreenLight’s innovative, community-based approach that looks at best practices from around the country and has proven success in other cities,” said Freeman Hrabowski, President, University of Maryland, Baltimore County. “By listening to what we have to say, to Baltimore’s challenges and what we are doing well, GreenLight Baltimore will match strengths of proven programs with our needs and then measure results.”

GreenLight Baltimore will be led by an executive director with deep roots in Baltimore who will work in collaboration with the local community to address disparities and barriers to prosperity by: conducting an annual process to elevate issues not yet being addressed; supporting innovative, entrepreneurial organizations with demonstrated, measurable results elsewhere in the country to come to Baltimore to address those issues; and galvanizing local community support to help programs reach and sustain impact.

In other GreenLight cities – Atlanta, Boston, Charlotte, Cincinnati, Detroit, Kansas City, Philadelphia, the San Francisco Bay Area and the Twin Cities – the GreenLight Method has been used to make progress on a wide variety of issues 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.

In Charlotte, for example, early childhood resilience and parental support emerged as a priority unmet need. After working closely with community members and vetting dozens of programs, GreenLight Charlotte selected ParentChild+ and partnered with Charlotte Bilingual Preschool and INLIVIAN (Charlotte’s housing authority) to implement the program with families across Charlotte living below the federal poverty level. These partners committed their resources alongside GreenLight to ensure ParentChild+ was able to quickly begin enrolling families and making an impact.

Tomico Evans, executive vice president at INLIVIAN explained, “The city of Charlotte had to face some harsh realities when we were infamously ranked 50th out of 50 in economic mobility among the largest U.S. cities specifically on the chances that a child born in poverty would rise out of poverty. That spurred leaders like GreenLight to invest in vital programs like the ParentChild+ Program and its innovative approach to building pathways out of poverty for children. Because of GreenLight’s bold and tangible investment in bridging the opportunity gap, the young families INLIVIAN serves are moving forward and creating legacies of success.”

“When we found out about the way GreenLight supports other cities across the country by identifying sustainable ways to solve problems, it was something we knew we had to be a part of,” shared Delali Dzirasa, CEO and founder of Fearless. “The work Fearless does strives to better our communities and neighbors, partnering with GreenLight is a natural fit.”

An incredible, diverse coalition of investors has come together to enable the launch of GreenLight Baltimore. The record number of co-founding funders include: The Abell Foundation; The William L. and Victorine Q. Adams Foundation; The Annie E. Casey Foundation; The Associated: Jewish Federation of Baltimore; Peter and Millicent Bain; The Baltimore Community Foundation; The Baltimore Ravens; Baltimore Gas & Electric; Bank of America; Patricia P Baum, The Baum Foundation; Ed and Ellen Bernard; Rick Berndt; John and Nina Bond; David and Jernee Bramble; Sana and Andy Brooks; Brown Advisory; Brown Capital Management; Eddie and Sylvia Brown; Mitchell and Rebecca Brown; The Bunting Family Foundation; Linda and Mark Caplan; Catholic Charities of Baltimore; Jack and Cynthia Cavanaugh; Charm City Run; Renee and George Christoff; David and Allison Clapp; John and Stephanie Connaughton; Charlie and Katie Constable; Continental Realty Corporation; Melissa and Jonathan Cordish; Diana and Clinton Daly; Byron Deese; Deloitte; Christy and David DiPietro; Céline Dufétel and Brian Stafford; Marilynn Duker and Dale McArdle; Edward and Susan Dunn; Dr. Letitia and Delali Dzirasa; Elbow Fund; Fearless; Guy Flynn and Nupur Parekh Flynn; France-Merrick Foundation; Russell and Selah Fugett; The Fund for Change; Gallagher, Evelius & Jones LLP; Goldseker Foundation; Goldsmith Family Foundation; Doug and Jody Greenstein; The Hackerman Foundation; Rian Hargrave; Fagan Harris; Jeff and Shelly Hettleman; Richard and Margaret Conn Himelfarb; The David and Barbara B. Hirschhorn Foundation; Henry and Nancy Hopkins; Howard Bank; Freeman and Jackie Hrabowski; iHeartMedia; The Zanvyl and Isabelle Krieger Fund; Johns Hopkins University; Josh and Kara Levinson; Lifebridge Health; M&T Bank; The Madeline Foundation; MCB Real Estate;  Wes and Dawn Moore; David and Betsy Nelson; Anne and Yehuda Neuberger; Passano Family Foundation; PNC Bank; The Presidents’ RoundTable; Mark A Reid; Arnie and Alison Richman; The Rodgers Family Fund; Brian and Mary Jo Rogers; Michael Rosenbaum and Amy Kiesel; Rosenberg Martin Greenberg LLP; Ben and Esther Rosenbloom Foundation; Sandy Hillman Communications; The Shelter Foundation; Scott Sherman and Julie Rothman; John and Sue Simon; Robert and Terri Smith; David Stack; Stifel Foundation; STX; Jordan Thomas; T. Rowe Price; The Under Armour Foundation; United Way of Central Maryland; The University of Baltimore; The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation; Wells Fargo; Wiese Family Charitable Fund; Wm T. Burnett & Co.; and Matthew and Christine Wyskiel Family Charitable Gift Fund.

“This is truly community-driven grant making,” said Mark Joseph, Chairman, Shelter Foundation. “GreenLight’s model is completely locally focused, bringing together diverse voices from across all sectors and building partnerships for long term progress. At the same time, they bring a methodology, learnings and expertise from what they’ve accomplished in their nine other cities. Patricia and I are excited about this combination and the impact we hope it will have in Baltimore.”

“We are energized by the strong spirit and innovative culture in Baltimore and are eager to get started,” said Margaret Hall, GreenLight Fund CEO and co-founder. “The search for the GreenLight Baltimore executive director is underway. Once that person is in place, we’ll launch our first selection process and look forward to engaging closely with the community to ensure each selection addresses an unmet need with measurable impact.”

The local executive director will form a Selection Advisory Council and partner with that inclusive group of Baltimore leaders and residents from businesses, nonprofits, philanthropy, the community and government in the annual 9-12 month GreenLight process. Together, annually, they will identify issue areas not yet being addressed, perform diligence and select an organization for investment and community impact. The first selection is expected to be made in 2022.

Ed Bernard, Senior Advisor and Retired Vice Chairman, T Rowe Price, and Ellen Bernard added their enthusiasm for GreenLight’s work getting started locally, “We are impressed with GreenLight’s model of listening to the community and bringing innovative programs working elsewhere in the country to fill an unmet need in our city. Beyond that, their model is focused on sustainability of those programs – making sure once they are here, their impact will grow and continue to show measurable results for years to come.”

About GreenLight Fund

The GreenLight Fund helps open opportunities for children, youth and families experiencing poverty by engaging deeply with the community and running a consistent annual process to: elevate priority issues not yet being addressed; invest in innovative, proven programs that have a significant, measurable social impact; and galvanize local support to accelerate the selected program’s launch and ensure growth and long-term viability. Started in Boston in 2004, the nonprofit organization is addressing critical needs in Atlanta, Boston, Charlotte, Cincinnati, Detroit, Kansas City, Philadelphia, the San Francisco Bay Area and the Twin Cities. More information at

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