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ERIC Number: ED563809
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2015
Pages: 20
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
Building from the Ground Up: An Innovative Approach to Community Development in Baltimore's Oliver Neighborhood
Annie E. Casey Foundation
The Oliver community, only a couple of miles northeast of the city's business core, is just a sliver of East Baltimore that could be easily overlooked. Once a stable neighborhood filled with sturdy brick row houses, thriving churches and small businesses, Oliver declined--along with much of the city--over the course of several decades, beginning in the 1960s. The area's low point came in 2002, when a firebomb ripped through the home of a local family, killing seven, in retaliation for the family's efforts to rid the area of drug dealers. The tragedy shocked the community and a city hardened to news of violent crime. A decade later, signs of hope, progress and financial investment abound in Oliver. Over the past five years, more than 130 homes--rental and owner-occupied--have been built or rebuilt, and an ambitious strategy to build many more homes is underway. An unusual, market-driven redevelopment project has fueled this revival, bringing together the city's leading community organizing group--Baltimoreans United In Leadership Development (BUILD)--and The Reinvestment Fund (TRF), a nationally prominent community development financial institution. BUILD recruited many partners and funders, including the Annie E. Casey Foundation and other Baltimore philanthropic institutions, which have played a role in this thoughtful and successful approach to restoring a struggling urban neighborhood. This report details the history of the Oliver project, highlights its achievements and offers some lessons in community engagement, community-focused development and innovative financing of revitalization efforts. The unrest in Baltimore in spring 2015 has brought additional focus on the issues facing low-income communities in the city and across the nation. The lessons from Oliver can help funders, policymakers and others involved in addressing these issues and working to promote community development.
Annie E. Casey Foundation. 701 Saint Paul Street, Baltimore, MD 21202. Tel: 410-547-6600; Fax: 410-547-6624; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Annie E. Casey Foundation
Identifiers - Location: Maryland