How a neighborhood-focused Baltimore initiative is employing patience, partnership, and resident leadership to drive long-term change
At the corner of North and Cecil Avenues in Central Baltimore sits the newly constructed home of a community-based organization, Roberta’s House, which provides mental health and grief counseling services to residents who may not otherwise get these much-needed services. The building represents a transformational investment designed to bring new life to a vacant block that was previously occupied by rowhomes.
When construction on Roberta’s House broke ground in 2018, the two sides of Cecil Avenue at this corner were divided, both physically and symbolically. The juxtaposition of abandoned rowhomes on one side and hope rising from the ground on the other side, sparked a thought among staff at Baltimore’s Weinberg Foundation: What if this building were to be the start of a ripple of redevelopment and opportunity in the neighborhood?
And so, the revitalization of this one building on this one corner would soon become part of something bigger—a philanthropic-funded effort to improve the health and life trajectory of Central Baltimore residents. This piece tells the story of lessons from the Greenmount Life, Opportunity, and Wellness (GLOW) Initiative, a new effort to concentrate financial and social investment in select neighborhoods that have long experienced underinvestment.
Written by MPN Member and The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation Baltimore Program Director, Darius Graham