Just in time for this weekend’s B-360 Day festivities, tangible support arrived in the form of congressionally directed spending for B-360’s founder Brittany Young — and, more importantly, youth in Baltimore City.
The Baltimore-based organization announced Friday that it secured $3 million of federal funds to expand its career training and related programming at what will be the nation’s first dirt bike campus. The funding came with the backing of Maryland’s U.S. Senators Chris Van Hollen and Ben Cardin, who submitted a joint $2 million request to fund the campus alongside Sen. Van Hollen’s separate $1 million proposal to support B-360’s programming; both requests were part of a larger $80 million federal appropriation for the Baltimore area that Sen. Van Hollen, a member of the Senate’s Committee on Appropriations, announced in December.
Founded in 2017 by Young, a native of Baltimore’s Park Heights neighborhood, B-360 aims to provide a secure and permanent location for Baltimore’s youth to ride dirt bikes while also receiving STEAM-related education. In 2021, to support B-360’s efforts, Baltimore’s Mayor Brandon Scott designated March 25 as B-360 Day. Young and the organization’s participants and supporters will commemorate this new $3 million of congressionally directed funds with special events at the B&O Railroad Museum on Saturday and Sunday. (more on that below).
In a phone interview with Technical.ly, ahead of a Friday press conference that the senators are expected to attend, Young described this significant funding as cause for celebration — not just for her, but for all grassroots organizations working in Baltimore. B-360 is likely among the first Black-led orgs in Baltimore to secure funding at this level. However, Young aspires to see more Black-led entities tap into similar resources in the future. The transformative funding will impact communities in the city, as well as the work of Young’s colleagues who seek positive change in Baltimore every day.
To that end, Young plans to invite other organizations’ leaders to the Friday afternoon press conference announcing the funding. Those invitees include principals from the RICH-Restoring Inner City Hope program and Tendea Family, both of which focus on building structural supports for Black Baltimoreans. She named a goal of helping these organizations access funding in the future and acknowledged other deserving organizations such as Safe Alternative, Catherine Family Services and CLIA.
“Our press conference today is not just about B-360, but about recognizing and supporting other leaders and organizations in Baltimore doing amazing work with youth,” she said.
Sen. Van Hollen praised B-360’s unique program, which promotes public safety and economic opportunity in historically marginalized communities. He highlighted the direct federal investment of $3 million, stating that it will provide a safe place for young people to ride and teach them practical skills they can apply to future careers.
“When B-360 came to us with their funding request last year, we saw an outside-the-box approach to improving safety and increasing opportunity in disadvantaged communities,” he told Technical.ly via email. “And Senator Cardin and I fought to invest in them because we believe they have been — and will continue to be — part of making Baltimore a stronger community with greater prosperity.
Young shared that the location of the dirt bike campus will be in Baltimore City. She also emphasized that the organization is committed to building up the diverse fabric of the city’s neighborhoods.
“We want everyone to know that wherever the campus finds its home, our mission will be to serve and uplift the community,” she said, adding that B-360 plans to engage with and canvass the chosen neighborhood to ensure that the community supports and embraces the organization’s mission: “We want the location of the dirt bike campus to be a good fit not just for B-360, but also for the neighborhood and its residents.”
Despite the challenges faced by local Black-led grassroots organizations, B-360 is enthusiastic about offering a glimpse of what attendees can expect at the dirt bike campus. Even with the rain forecast and a prior rescheduling of the org’s Family Fun Day at the B&O Railroad Museum to Sunday (March 26, 1-5 p.m.) B-360 is inviting community members to try their hand at riding dirt bikes. According to Young, attendees will receive safety lessons on wearing protective gear and starting and stopping the bikes. In addition to bike rides, attendees can expect DJs, face painting and food vendors.
Young, who also works as B-360’s CEO, added that the organization still needs to raise $11 million to fully fund the dirt bike campus project. To support these fundraising efforts, B-360 is hosting a reception and fundraiser on Saturday, March 25 from 6 to 10 p.m. Despite the recent $3 million, Young emphasized that there is still a long way to go toward securing the necessary funds. The event will provide an opportunity for guests to hear from junior instructors and learn more about the organization’s plans for the campus.
Attend B-360 Reception and Fundraiser
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