Diversity & Inclusion
Awards / Communities / Finance / Funding

The Aspen Institute and M&T Bank want to give $7K to Baltimore’s neighborhood connectors

M&T Bank and the Aspen institute's Weave initiative are looking to award ten community builders with grant money to complete local projects. The Weaver Awards are debuting in Baltimore.

Impact Hub Baltimore led a Connect and Trek hike in 2020. (Photo by Matthew Pasley)

M&T Bank and the Aspen Institute’s Weave: The Social Fabric Project on Wednesday debuted an awards program in Baltimore that aims to celebrate and support leaders building connections between neighbors.

The Weaver Awards is providing $70K in funding through its inaugural program in Baltimore, with a focus on highlighting those who prioritize relationships, and “weave Baltimore’s social fabric,” per a news release.

Ten people or groups will be awarded $7,000 for projects that create connection and relationships in city neighborhoods. Applications opened Wednesday, and will close on July 2.


The awards are designed for people who may not have an organization or any experience getting grants, and will be given to efforts working with a budget under $250K.

Applicants answer just a few questions about themselves, their communities, and their project, then invite three recommendations from neighbors. Winners will have regular check-ins with the Weave Project, but no formal reports or budgets to submit.

“Some of the most trusted people getting things done in their communities may not be running nonprofits,” said Frederick Riley, executive director of the Weave project, in a statement. “They just see needs and inspire neighbors to look out for each other. Those are the Weavers we want to honor.”

For inspiration, the organizers looked to Bea Gaddy. Known as the “Mother Teresa of Baltimore,” she used lottery winnings to provide Thanksgiving dinner for 40 neighbors in 1981, launching an annual tradition that fed thousands.

M&T Bank, which has 20 branches in the Baltimore area, is providing funding for the program. Augie Chiasera, M&T Bank’s regional president for Greater Baltimore, said its participation “reinforces our mission to be the community leader in Baltimore.”

“We strive to not only understand the issues critical to Baltimore’s success but also support the growth and sustainability of the grassroots community efforts that are so important to making Baltimore a better city,” Chiasera said.

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.
Companies: The Aspen Institute / M&T Bank

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