Baltimore Corps introduces The Elevation Awards 2016

A Baltimore Corps partnership with BMe, the T. Rowe Price Foundation, Impact Hub Baltimore, Invested Impact, and the Merrick School of Business, the Elevation Awards offers planning grants and personalized support to residents of West Baltimore piloting novel approaches to strengthen their communities. The aims of the Elevation Awards are to:

  • Directly leverage the assets of communities to pioneer new solutions in social entrepreneurship
  • Elevate leaders of community solutions and support the early-stage pipeline of social entrepreneurs in Baltimore

To accomplish these objectives, the Elevation Awards will give grants of $10,000 to three individuals with transformative ideas. Awardees will also benefit from ongoing support and coaching tailored to support their initiatives. At the conclusion of the 12-month grant period, awardees will have the opportunity to showcase their projects to prospective seed funders. 

We are beyond excited to partner with these leaders and their up-and-coming initiatives, and we cannot wait to see their powerful visions come to fruition. Without further ado, the 2016-17 Elevation Awards Grantees:

Michelle Antoinette Nelson,  Founder of Brown and Healthy K.I.D.S.

Michelle Antoinette Nelson, Founder of Brown and Healthy K.I.D.S.

The Brown and Healthy K.I.D.S. (Kindness, Intelligence, Determination, Strength)

The Brown and Healthy K.I.D.S. (Kindness, Intelligence, Determination, Strength) initiative will partner with Baltimore City public schools and community youth programs in West Baltimore to provide mental, physical, and emotional health and wellness programming once a week for at least eight sessions. Brown and Healthy K.I.D.S. program participants will not only learn about health, but also learn how to apply digital strategies and media principles to create positive stories that are strengths-based, share those stories, and promote wellness among their peers, families, and communities. The goal is to 'Redefine the 410' by creating an inclusive narrative of health using social media activities, that most youth already participate in daily, as vehicles for social change. Creating health-promoting memes and short videos that are easily and quickly shared, we believe, are extremely effective ways to engage young people and shift the typical health and wellness narrative surrounding brown people locally, nationally, and internationally. Program participants will also connect with health professionals of color, such as personal trainers, health educators, and wellness practitioners. Connecting youth to health professionals that look like them creates mentorship opportunities and serves as real-life examples that health and careers in health are inclusive of brown people.

Brittany Young,  Founder of B-360

Brittany Young, Founder of B-360


B-360 will create a dirt bike version of the X Games in West Baltimore that combines STEM fields with dirt bike culture. Teams will learn to build and repair bikes in order to compete for monetary gifts. Throughout the year, STEM leaders and dirt bike experts (professional and street) will mentor the teams. In order to compete in the Games, riders must be a part of a team and participate in community-based activities before dirt bike season to qualify. Teams will work with law enforcement to ensure the event's safety for the entire community. The activities will focus on learning the mechanics and electronics of bikes, 3-D models to test prototypes, learning stunts, creating business plans for sponsorship and fundraising. Teams will be exposed to the engineering design process in hopes of inspiring future engineers, entrepreneurs, and other career fields and opportunities. Overall, B-360 will use dirt bike culture as a platform to repair and build relationships in the community, expose residents to different career opportunities, give and enhance career skills, leverage the STEM gap and create an event that unities all of West Baltimore in a safe and fun way.

Wendy Camilla Blackwell,  Founder of Art Power

Wendy Camilla Blackwell, Founder of Art Power


The goal of Art Power is to provide a safe haven for children to create, share and sell art they develop, while learning basic business skills that will empower them to think of themselves as influencers. Too often, it is assumed that artists of color are "starving” and are often asked to discount their creative expression or make it "affordable". This project will provide children with simple art supplies, instruction, and opportunities to produce their best work for sale and distribution in their community. By being encouraged to create several works of art and refine one for reproduction and for sale, kids will understand their value as consumers and developers. During their artful journey, local artists and business owners will give them tips of the trade to refine their processes and develop the format of their saleable creation (e.g. t-shirt, poster, canvas, magnet, etc.) Children will host a Meet the ARTISTS museum & "shop" experience where they are "featured artists" who display, discuss and sell their wares.