Mission: Created in 1998 by a merger of the Maryland Food Committee and Action for the Homeless, the Center for Poverty Solutions is dedicated to eliminating the root causes of poverty through public policy, education, research, direct-service programs and community mobilization. The statewide charitable organization's programs include grants and technical support to emergency food providers; nutrition, hunger and homeless education in schools; homelessness prevention and services through 26 AmeriCorps volunteers; Baltimore Grows, an urban-gardening project; and self-sufficiency programs.
Latest accomplishment: In 1998, the center and other advocates for the poor successfully lobbied for the creation of the Maryland Emergency Food Program, which was funded at $500,000 to provide a much-needed resource for emergency food providers to purchase food. The Center for Poverty Solutions is now administering the program for Baltimore City and 16 counties in Maryland. And the center's fund-raiser, "A Chocolate Affair," held in January at the Baltimore Museum of Industry and attended by more than 600 guests, raised $60,000.
On the horizon: Baltimore Grows is an urban community agriculture project that will plant its seeds in Baltimore this summer. The program will teach gardening and entrepreneurial skills, increase access to healthy, locally grown produce in low-income neighborhoods, and transform vacant derelict land into productive garden businesses. Future events include a "Community Shopping Night" Thursday at Ten Thousand Villages, a store in Fells Point, which will donate 15 percent of sales to the center, and a benefit performance by the Capitol Steps, a political satire group, June 26 at Johns Hopkins University's Shriver Hall.
About the center: Number of people assisted: 84,000 each month through food grants; about 60,000 annually benefit from direct service programs. Operating budget: $4,177,500.
Where and when: Headquarters at 2521 N. Charles St. Office hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday. Call 410-366-0600. Web site: http://www.ctrforpovertysolutions.org.
Daniel M. Billig, chairman of the board of directors: "The Center for Poverty Solutions continues the hard work of two successful organizations, the Maryland Food Committee and Action for the Homeless. We are working to assure that those who are poor have equal opportunities to meet their basic needs and move out of poverty. We are focusing on workable solutions."
Members of the board
Kenneth W. DeFontes Jr.
Jean C. Halle
Dr. Jane L. Halpern
Rev. Norman Handy Sr.
Layla Anderson Hollender
Linda H. Jones
Dr. Ralph E. LeBlanc