Twelve Baltimore community groups were recently awarded more than $42,000 in grants to improve conditions in their low-income neighborhoods.
Grants ranging from $500 to $10,000 were awarded to the Druid Heights Community Development Corp., the Brooklyn Homes Tenant Council and other organizations by the Baltimore Community Foundation's Neighborhood Grants Program.
Druid Heights in West Baltimore was awarded $8,300 -- the organization's second grant from the foundation -- to continue Korean language classes for black youths. The language program is designed to bridge the cultural gap between Korean and black youths and decrease racial tension.
Brooklyn Homes plans to use its grant to publish a quarterly newsletter, designed to bring residents together as they work toward their goal of managing the public housing complex.
The McElderry St.-Decker Ave. Community Association Inc. will use its $3,040 grant for neighborhood cleanup projects and to purchase trash cans and rat poison to rid the neighborhood of its rat infestation problem.
"They are all great communities with worthwhile projects," said Gigi Wirtz, the foundation's marketing and development official.
"We've empowered them. They received that one little funding, and now they will use it to do something good," she said.
Since December 1991, the Community Foundation has awarded $2.1 million in grants to about 235 nonprofit organizations and more than $150,000 in grants to community organizations for self-improvement projects, according to Ms. Wirtz.
The foundation is funded through contributions from businesses and philanthropic organizations such as the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation of Flint, Mich., which recently committed an additional $160,000 over the next two years.
"We are very pleased that Mott is refunding the program," said Timothy D. Armbruster, president of the Community Foundation. a perfect example of how a national foundation can put its money to work on a local level."
"We are looking for contributors who want to do something concrete to empower Baltimore's inner-city neighborhoods," Mr. Armbruster said.
Other community groups receiving grants:
* The Claremont Homes Tenant Council, $5,000 for a recreational program.
* The Rosemont Neighborhood Improvement Association, $5,000 to complete a gardening project.
* Homeowner's Task Force Association Inc., $4,480 to increase home ownership by providing training for local residents.
* Baltimore-Linwood Improvement Association, $3,000 for an after-school tutorial program.
* St. Benedict Mill Hill Housing Council, $3,000 for an environmental study.
* Coldstream, Homestead, Montebello Community Association Inc., $2,800 for block parties and promotional materials to unite the neighborhood.
* Cottage, Park Heights, Springhill, Violet & Ulman Ave. Association Inc., $2,600 for development and training for members of the organization.
* Keywanda Community Association, $1,600 for a cleanup campaign.
* Rosemont Homeowners and Tenants Association, $1,200 for a beautification project.