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When LifeBridge Health acquired Bon Secours Baltimore Hospital, the health system’s vision wasn’t just to provide hospital care there, but to offer a portal of health and wellness to the west Baltimore Community.

Enter the newly launched West Baltimore Renaissance Foundation, a separate nonprofit organization started by LifeBridge as an outside-the-box effort to invest in the west Baltimore community and improve social determinants of health, ranging from employment to food access to youth mentoring.

Since starting in 2021, the foundation has issued initial grand awards to nonprofits for programs to benefit more than 1,000 youth, 500 workforce training opportunities, food services for 700 and a range of needs from financial literacy and homeownership counseling to trauma and violence response services.

Small, one-time neighborhood grants of up to $2,500 support groups in the 21223 ZIP code, immediately surrounding the Grace Medical Center, the new name for the hospital. A second group of larger funds supports larger, ongoing initiatives.

Renovations are also underway to convert a former gelato factory in the Franklin Square neighborhood into a community resource center called the Factory, five blocks from Grace. LifeBridge facilities including VSP, the health system’s workforce development arm, and the Center for Hope (violence prevention programs) will also be located in the Factory.

“One of the key projects the WBRF currently has underway is a two-year initiative to build the capacity of nonprofit organizations serving the community through workshops and tailored training for organizational leaders,” Executive Director Kurt Sommer said. “We are excited to be working with more than 50 organizations serving the west Baltimore community.”

This is a winner profile from The Daily Record's Health Care Heroes awards. Information for this profile was sourced from the honoree's application for the award.