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Baker Donelson Opens Application Process for 16th Annual Community Grants Program

Non-Profits Serving At-Risk Youth in Baltimore and Washington, D.C. Eligible for Support Grants
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The law firm of Baker Donelson is accepting applications for its annual Community Grants Program, which awards $35,000 in community grants to aid non-profit organizations serving at-risk youth living in Baltimore City and Washington, D.C.

Baker Donelson will award two $10,000 grants and one $15,000 special grant to non-profit, community-based organizations that focus on educating, clothing, sheltering or feeding at-risk youth in the metropolitan Baltimore or Washington, D.C. areas. In addition to financial support, the $15,000 special grant will include a volunteer supplement through which Baker Donelson employees will volunteer their time to the grant recipient.

Now in its 16th year, the Community Grants Program has distributed more than $570,000 to community organizations and has donated countless hours of community service to tax-exempt community organizations serving at-risk youth living in Baltimore City and Washington, D.C. The recipient of the 2018 special grant was Soccer Without Borders Maryland (SWB), which uses soccer as a vehicle for positive change, helping under-served youth overcome obstacles to growth, inclusion, and personal success. Using soccer as a common ground, SWB's goal is to help increase the English language proficiency rate of refugees, immigrants, and asylum-seekers across sites in Baltimore City, Baltimore County, and Prince George's County, Maryland.

Baker Donelson's $15,000 grant allowed SWB to attract and retain coaches trained in trauma-informed approaches. These coaches served as role models and mentors and were committed to building strong, interpersonal relationships with the youths. The grant also financially supported the SWB soccer teams, provided for field reservations for its Baltimore City High School program, and removed the transportation barriers that would have prevented many participants from attending SWB programs and games. For the volunteer supplement of the grant, on April 6, 2019, Baker Donelson employees participated in an SWB event marking the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace, an annual celebration of the power of sport to drive social change and community development and to foster peace and understanding. The SWB event featured activities such as a scavenger hunt, cooperation games, and a field clean-up.

Christopher P. Dean, a shareholder in Baker Donelson's Baltimore office and chair of the Community Grants Committee, said, "The Community Grants Committee works hard to select groups that are offering real solutions to issues facing at-risk youth in our communities. The commitment, spirit, and creativity demonstrated by so many organizations like Soccer Without Borders inspires us to do more. Baker Donelson is honored to play a role in supporting these organizations, and we're excited to see where we can provide our support in the coming year."

Grant applications and guidelines for the 2019 Baker Donelson Community Grants Program are available at https://www.bakerdonelson.com/community-grants-program. Completed applications must be received by Monday, August 5, 2019. Applicants are encouraged to frame their requests with details on how the grants would support specific programs within the organization rather than being applied to an organization's general overhead. All organizations applying for assistance must be certified by the Internal Revenue Service as tax-exempt under § 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

Established in 2003 on the occasion of Ober|Kaler's 100th anniversary, the Ober|Kaler Community Grants Program continues as the Baker Donelson Community Grants Program. A committee comprised of the Firm's staff members, associates, and principals uses a democratic vote to choose specific programs focused on enriching the lives of underprivileged children, improving living standards for lower income families with children, and creating educational opportunities for at-risk youth. The committee reviews each application thoroughly and bases its selections on perceived need, the community served, and the impact the grant would have on the youths who will be served by the selected organization.

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