With a motto of “building Black futures together,” community-based organization CLLCTIVLY.org is spearheading an effort to show the tremendous effect Black lives are having throughout the city.
Each month, the nonprofit social impact organization, which serves as a resource for those seeking to find, fund and partner with Black social change organizations in the city, has pledged to award a local individual or organization with a “Black Futures” micro-grant worth $1,000.
“In 2015, after the death of Freddie Gray, a coalition of grass-roots activists and concerned citizens came together to form Baltimore United for Change,” said CLLCTIVLY founder Jamye Wooten, referring to the 25-year-old Black man who died while in Baltimore police custody and the ensuing protests in the city. “And in the days following the uprising, we launched a skills bank to create an on-ramp for concern community members that wanted to serve.”
Wooten said more than 260 individuals and organizations answered the call.
“Community organizations often work in silos, these silos lead to fragmentation, fragmentation leads to duplication, and duplication leads to wasted resources — time, talent and treasure,” he said. “The first phase of our project (CLLCTIV ASSETS) will create an online asset map/directory of organizations in greater Baltimore listed by neighborhood and area of concentration.
“Our mission is to end the fragmentation and duplication of programs, to learn from and about each other, and to be a resource for the greater Baltimore community that seeks to find, fund and partner with Black social change organizations,” Wooten said.
The idea of CLLCTIVLY and the grant was conceived because many Black-led organizations are under-resourced and under-appreciated, he said.
“I want to shine a light on the individuals and organizations that are doing great work in our community,” Wooten said. “I know the grant process can be intimidating for many, so I set out to create an easy, no-strings-attached process to show gratitude to the organizations and individuals serving our community.”
The first $1,000 grant will be awarded Feb. 22 and the deadline for submission is Jan. 31. All are welcome to visit BlackFuturesGrant.org to apply. Details about qualification are also available on the website.
“CLLCTIVLY.org is very excited to offer the Black Futures Micro-Grant. Baltimore has amazing, dedicated individuals and organizations in our community who are making a difference without a spotlight, and often under resourced,” Wooten said. “We want to show our appreciation and motivate others to also use their time, talent and resources to strengthen our communities.”
It’s Wooten’s hope that CLLCTIVLY will help bring unity and foster collaboration among the many community organizations doing great work, he said.
“We are in a state of emergency,” Wooten said. “We must get back to pooling our collective resources and building community together.
He cited a recent report by the Institute of Policy Studies that found it would take Black families 228 years to amass the same amount of wealth White families have today if average Black family wealth continues to grow at the same pace it has over the past three decades.
Recognizing the large scope of its mission, CLLCTIVLY has organized its work into six phases. The first phase includes creating an online asset map/directory of organizations in Greater Baltimore, listed by neighborhood and area of concentration. There is also an online store where 20 percent of proceeds are directed to the Black Futures Micro-Grant Fund.
“If the organization’s first month is any indication, the future of CLLCTIVLY is bright,” Wooten said. “Members are joining, the Black Futures online store is fulfilling orders, and the first Black Futures Micro-Grant Award is just weeks away. The community is responding, and we’re excited about it.”