BALTIMORE – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.) today joined leaders of local foundations and non-profit organizations at the headquarters of the Abell Foundation to discuss the challenges and opportunities in efforts to reinvigorate the city following the tragic aftermath of the death of Freddie Gray. The conversation included groups like the Annie E. Casey Foundation, Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, Goldseker Foundation, Bon Secours Community Works, Second Chance, Leaders of a Beautiful Struggle, the Family League of Baltimore and several faith-based organizations, such as Catholic Charities and The Potter’s House of Baltimore. It centered on the need for sustained and far-reaching reforms like those contained in the senator’s recently introduced BALTIMORE Act proposal.
“The national spotlight is turning away from Baltimore, like we knew it would, but we cannot allow that to divert our momentum toward addressing the problems in our communities,” said Senator Cardin. “What Baltimore’s non-profit organizations have done to give people skills and hope is incredible, and all should be proud of what they have accomplished so far. The problem, however, is that there are large numbers of people we still haven’t been able to reach. We need to combine our efforts to make sure that no one is allowed to slip between the cracks, and that there are ways for people to receive second chances if and when they need.”
Recurrent themes in the roundtable discussion were the need to ensure accountability in grant-making and government programs designed to help urban communities; aid the re-entry into society of ex-offenders; reform criminal sentencing; and to take risks in finding new ways to reach the most troubled members of our communities. Above all, Senator Cardin urged the assembled organizations not to be deterred in their attention to Baltimore as national media attention fades.
“In conversations with those harmed by the recent civil unrest, I’ve heard consistent notes of hope and optimism sounding through the pain. Those of us born and raised in Baltimore harbor something in common: an unshakeable appreciation for this great American city. We are determined to use recent events to find ways to make Baltimore an even better place to live, visit and do business,” said Senator Cardin. “Our conversation with Baltimore-area non-profits and charitable foundations showcased the work and perspectives of those who are working for change where we need it most. These groups impressed me with their ongoing dedication to support Baltimore’s recovery, as well as with their willingness to listen to local residents when deciding where to make philanthropic investments and focus their programs. Their confidence fueled my long-standing optimism for Baltimore’s future.”