B-360, the STEM-minded nonprofit founded by Brittany Young, finally seems to be getting its flowers from the city and the DMV region as a whole.
B-360 harnesses the passion for dirt bikes to teach engineering skills to Baltimore youth and directs them toward STEM careers. Last year, Young was on the “The Kelly Clarkson Show,” this year she had a mural in DC, and now it all culminates in a dedicated B-360 Day on March 25.
But with all the praise and recognition, B-360 is still essentially a startup. The org wants to grow from seven to 20 staffers, and Young wants to find B-360 a permanent campus instead of scrambling every summer to find a place to run programs since 2017.
“I don’t know what anyone else wants me to win,” Young told Technical.ly. “Now I just want things to be easier for us as we’re in this journey to make our campus and easier for me as Brittany Young to navigate this space.”
Today, alongside the fantastic B-360 Baltimore team, I proclaimed March 25th B-360 Day. Grateful for their dedication to using Baltimore’s dirt bike culture to advance STEM education for our young people. Looking forward to continuing this partnership, one wheelie at a time! pic.twitter.com/V9G4B0FjIS
— Brandon M. Scott (@MayorBMScott) March 25, 2022
Over the next two years, Young want to raise $10 million to create a B-360 campus doubling as the nation’s first permanent urban dirt bike park and education site. To achieve that goal, B-360 launched the Ride 4 Change campaign selling merch to raise $100,000 and break ground on the campus this year.
“How these flowers can actually grow into trees, i.e. money trees? Because that’s been missing,” Young said. “Often, Black women, we are overly mentored, awarded — but what’s different is we don’t often receive the amount of capital” that other groups do.
In the startup world, that funding gap means that Black and Latinx women founders receive just .64% of all VC investment, per the latest ProjectDiane report. And PitchBook data put the amount of money raised by solely women-founded companies at 2.1% of the total capital invested in venture-backed startups in the US.
B-360 often gets programmatic grant dollars because folks believe in the mission, but that money doesn’t cover operational costs. Unrestricted funds allows Young to build into this new venture of a B-360 campus and hire as the company’s vision expands. She’s trying to create a space where she can store dirt bikes, tools and equipment, have an office space for the org’s diversion programs and STEM classes, and no longer need to search for a place where Baltimore youth will be accepted and allowed to ride safely.
“Dirt bike riding isn’t going anywhere. We all want safer and slower streets. What I always have needed since 2017 is a home for B-360,” Young said. “It’s not just about us having a day. It’s the recognition of people noticing we do great work. Wonderful. Let’s make sure we notice we do great work with your financial commitments and also your in-kind support. Let make sure we get this done because its been talked about for, how many generations before me? How many administrations before me?
“Whether you like it or you don’t, if we don’t build a space, we can’t keep talking about it.”
Donte Kirby is a 2020-2022 corps member for Report for America, an initiative of The Groundtruth Project that pairs young journalists with local newsrooms. This position is supported by the Robert W. Deutsch Foundation.