BALTIMORE WISDOM PROJECT is one of the best charities to donate to in 2023.
The Baltimore Wisdom Project (BWP) is the Baltimore division and headquarters of Wisdom Projects, Inc., an almost 15-year-old, secular, nonpartisan 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. In our six peacemaking programs, we work with youth and families to prevent violence through grassroots movement organizing. This work involves justice-focused, trauma-informed community education and community healing.
Everyday low-income Black and Brown people are frequently shut out of powerful systems (run by police, prosecutors, businesses, and politicians) to change the tide of gun violence and other forms of harm in their communities. We empower low-income predominately Black and Indigenous enrollees to carry out nonviolent campaigns within their homes, neighborhoods, schools, and streets as trained peacemakers.
Often, only one strategy is deployed to prevent violence. Or one main population (like boys and men) are emphasized. Or mental health is privileged over physical health, or visa versa. Our work is holistic because we integrate multiple evidence-based values and practices in an intergenerational and gender-inclusive manner to prevent neighborhood violence. At the center of our work is our commitment to Restorative Justice rooted in Conflict Resolution Education and Services with healing circles
Research shows that immersive, evidence-centered, around-the-clock, community-engaged practices are most likely to prevent neighborhood and school violence. Gaining community members' trust, engaging with them equitably, and working immersively around the clock 6-days-a-week helps community members share why and how violence occurs in their lives. We use this information to build peacemaking plans, mediations, trainings, and peer counseling. We enroll interlocking family groups of diverse genders and ages, and help them cultivate healing. Our daily healthy food service for enrolled youth and families has played a major role in our violence prevention work.
Our work is 100 percent free/no-cost. We accept no fees or gifts from community members and our institutional partner, the McKim Center. To support our work, we fundraise, offer consultations and trainings to organizations about conflict navigation and justice services, and provide communications/editorial/media services. Please donate to uplift the people we serve.
Click here for data about our impact, milestones, and successes.
Currently, we are the official Educational and Health Services Partner of the over 200-plus-year-old McKim Center in East Baltimore City. Guided by a longterm memorandum-of-understanding, we work 6-days-a-week in partnership with McKim and to execute six peacemaking programs.
At McKim, we prevent violence and cultivate a science-centered and equality-centered culture of healing and justice. We also offer deep institutional support to elevate the McKim Center's operations, communications, programming, and fundraising.
Each year we serve approximately 200 low-income predominately Black and Indigenous youth and adults within interlocking families that live in 6 housing projects arrayed around the McKim Center in the Jonestown neighborhood of East Baltimore. These housing projects are called Albemarle Square, Latrobe Homes, Douglass Homes, Pleasant View Gardens, Broadway Homes, and New Somerset Homes. Our enrollees constitute 1⁄8 of the total population of an estimated 1,550 low-income predominately Black households in these housing projects.
We cultivate enrollees with community-engaged participatory research consisting of ongoing home visits (going door to door or extensive phone or Zoom connections), community counseling, case management, and intake sessions where we discover, re-discover, and assess individuals and families' needs, values, histories, identities, customs, and practices in culturally sensitive ways. Our work is fully beneficial and accountable to community members, and in turn, community members are accountable to themselves and to the values and practices that we espouse.
52 percent of the people that we serve are women and girls, and the remainder are men, boys, and nonbinary individuals. Over 90 percent of the youth and families that we serve report being trauma-impacted survivors and/or victims of violence. A majority of our adult enrollees have experienced addiction and recovery (approximately 68 percent). Many also have endured incarceration or their relatives have endured incarceration (approximately 65 percent). 45 percent of our enrollees are survivors of police harassment and/or police brutality.
Our work has greatly reduced incidents of violence against enrolled women, girls, and LGBTQ+ community members, and cultivated nonviolence in the lives of enrolled boys and men.
Our curricula empowers youth and families to become neighborhood peacemakers that embrace healing arts. For youth, we integrate these healing arts into daily out-of-school-time lessons (as well as school-time consultations) emphasizing STEM (life sciences, environmental justice, math, and engineering); justice studies; cultural studies; and civic studies. Nature and wilderness studies are a vital part of our scientific curricula. For adults, we ground all peer counseling, training, and support groups in life science, linking peacemaking and wellness to biological, botanical, and environmental knowledge.
We offer assistance with administrative forms, limited transportation services, limited help with emergency expenses, and other wrap-around services to aide community members as they contend with both interpersonal and systemic problems that impede peace, health, and wellness.
Previously, the Baltimore Wisdom Project worked in partnership with community centers like the former Penn North Kids Safe Zone/Harambee Center in the West Baltimore neighborhood of Sandtown-Winchester and the 29th Street Community Center in the Greenmount East neighborhood of East Baltimore City.
Click here to learn about the central role that STEM education plays within our peacemaking work. Our peacemaking champions scientific intelligence. When enrollees learn life science about the healthy function of their organ systems, about environmental health and justice, about nutrition, and about the well-being of nonhuman species, then they gain factual knowledge that gives them the evidence to uplift peaceful, healthy living.
Click here to learn about our Planet Protectors Laboratory, our youth sub-program within our STEM & Healing Arts Program where youth carry out ongoing field activities and experiments for beneficial Environmental Justice and urban ecology.
Our work has high impact. We prevent and eliminate incidents of violence for the youth and families enrolled in our programs. We decisively uplift the organizations with whom we partner.
Your donations changes lives for peace, equality, and wellness.
We are a regional leader in the Middle Atlantic United States for peace, violence prevention, equality, holistic education, and community healing.
Become a Patron of Wisdom Projects and support us with recurring monthly donations for just the price of a cup of coffee at https://www.patreon.com/wisdomcommunity.
Or send your tax deductible donations in any denomination of U.S. currency via PayPal to @wisdomprojects Or click here to donate directly via PayPal.
Contact us on the form below to donate by regular mail.
We are deeply grateful for your support.
We are deeply grateful to our present and past individual and organizational supporters and funders, including the NoVo Foundation, William Jordan, Gunpowder Friends, the Miles White Beneficial Society, Youth As Resources, the Baltimore Development Corporation, Education First, and the Chesapeake Bay Trust.
Copyright © 2024 Baltimore Wisdom Project of Wisdom Projects, Inc. - All Rights Reserved.
All program images used with permission of the subjects. | Stock images are licensed. | Some photographs are deliberately blurred to protect the identities of subjects.