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Ongoing Projects

Black people and organizations have created an expansive reservoir of intellectual and cultural resources. We draw from these resources in the development and implementation of the various methodologies for our work and apply it to a range of projects and initiatives. 

Baltimore Children and Youth Fund

Demonstrating the power of community centered grant-making

There are two major aspects of LBS’s contribution to BCYF:

  • First, is political advocacy and community organizing.  For many years, LBS has highlighted the way that the non-profit sector and philanthropy more broadly has rendered Black people primarily as recipients of services and as meal tickets for a business model rooted in profiteering off of Black suffering.  LBS identified BCYF as an opportunity to use public dollars to push philanthropy into a direction that places Black people as experts of our own liberation, and to build BCYF to be a community resource that empowers Black people in the non-profit sector.  Years of organizing on this issue provided LBS the political and community organizing power to bring BCYF into existence.
  • LBS’s second major contribution is our community engagement and communications work for BCYF.  LBS has led BCYF in developing liberatory programming and communications that are a resource to the community.  This includes technical assistance programs regarding youth development, organizational sustainability, the fiscal sponsorship landscape, youth violence prevention, and the establishment of a youth leadership Institute called the Avis Ransom Institute, that trains young people to have the skills needed to exercise leadership in centers of civic power in Baltimore.


black arts district logo

Revitalizing West Baltimore through culture, arts, and entertainment

In 2018, Lady Brion, as the cultural curator for Leaders of a Beautiful Struggle was asked to sit on the task force for Safe Arts under Mayor Catherine Pugh. This led to her recommending that the city support the creation of a Black Arts District. From there she worked to organize with a coalition of organizations and individuals who later named her the Executive Director of the district. The coalition included: Leaders of a Beautiful Struggle, Historic Pennsylvania Avenue Main Street, Druid Heights Community Development Corporation, the Arch Social Club, Upton Planning Committee, the office of Councilman Leon Pinkett, Fight Blight Bmore, and the Avenue Bakery. The work of the coalition is also supported by aligned partners such as the Neighborhood Design Center, University of Baltimore and the Department of Transportation.

mural of a woman singing on a wall in the black arts district
marquee sign in the black arts district

Building on 30 years of work by those before her, Lady Brion and the coalition succeeded. In July 2019, the Pennsylvania Avenue Black Arts & Entertainment District was designated as an official arts district in the state of Maryland. The Black Arts District is the only district in the state dedicated to supporting, uplifting, and celebrating Black creatives of today and the rich history and contributions of Black creatives who paved the way.

Pennsylvania Avenue Black Arts & Entertainment District

Mission: The Black Arts District through an anti-displacement framework empowers Black creatives and continues the community-based revitalization efforts in West Baltimore through culture, arts, and entertainment.


New Timbuktu Seminars

Educating professionals using African-Centered professional development tools.

  • The purpose of the New Timbuktu Seminars is to provide high quality professional development that is based on and draws from methodologies that are derived from the bodies of work and community based institutions that have traditionally been marginalized. 
  • The seminars provide a variety of African-Centered, Liberation Focused, Community Empowerment tools that are substantively informed by racial equity. These tools are useful particularly for those who work in the human/social service sector (teachers, school administrators, social workers, community organizers, public health professionals etc.), but the methodologies and tools can be applied to any area of focus.