An organization geared toward helping survivors of sexual and other violence won the top five-figure prize at a Tuesday event celebrating the Johns Hopkins University Social Innovation Lab’s (SIL) latest cohort.
The event, which took place on the private university’s medical system campus in East Baltimore, also marked the graduation of the accelerator’s 10 impact-focused ventures. Ballet After Dark, founded by Tyde-Courtney Edwards, won the $25,000 top prize. The organization aims to provide free, trauma-informed and holistic resources to those who have survived sexual trauma and various levels of violence in Baltimore city. Informed by a dance therapy model, Ballet After Dark particularly seeks to uplift Black youth and women.
Edwards on Wednesday told Technical.ly that the award “means the opportunity to have a larger impact is more possible.
“Personally, this award makes me, my work and survivors in our community feel seen and heard,” she continued. “We’re finally growing into a space where private conversations about healing and the needs of our survivors are being elevated to public platforms.”
To that end, Edwards said that she will use the award funds to build out the organization’s staff and operational capacity. Ballet After Dark will also be completing a prototype for a content platform, called B.A.D. Studios, that it intends to launch in June or July 0f this year. The content will be created in tandem with Root Branch Media Group, a Baltimore-based communications firm.
Edwards also noted that she was driven to ensure that “survivors of trauma and violence to not experience the same lonely journey to healing that I experienced.” She praised SIL and its director, Madison Marks, for offering Ballet After Dark a support structure to better “reimagine the accessibility” of the organization’s resources.
This video from Procter & Gamble‘s “Queen Collective” series details Edwards’s story and the reasons for Ballet After Dark’s creation:
Taking second place and $15,000 was The Puzzling Disorder Project. The company acts as a resource and advocacy hub for the developmental needs of children with autism, connecting them to a network of peer advocates, licensed professionals, art therapy and alternative medicine services. GRASS Baltimore, a zero-waste cooperative that maximizes the value of glass by turning it into artwork and reselling bottles to local breweries, won third place and $5,000. An additional audience prize of $2,500, which audience members voted on after all of the companies made pitches, went to TamPal, which developed a smart machine for accessibly dispensing tampons and pads.
All participant companies in the accelerator’s 11th cohort received $1,000, along with the opportunity to access a reimbursable grant of up to $5,000 through the Johns Hopkins I-Corps Site Grant program.
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.-30-