BFGCF Welcomes It's Second Year of Partnership Supporting Safe and Sound Maryland

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Towson, Md. – April, 2019 – Building for God Community Foundation has announced the start of its second year of partnership with Safe and Sound Schools.   This comes as part of the Foundation’s Champion in Life Partnership Program, in which select non-profit organizations are selected to receive professional leadership support and capital resources for the purpose of developing, implementing and growing a specific program, which in this case is Safe and Sound Maryland.  The capital resources come in the form of a $20,000 recurring grant award that matches individual, corporate, and foundation gifts for five years. 

During the first year of the partnership, Safe and Sound Maryland provided dedicated trainings, workshops, and education programs exclusively for Maryland school districts. In a recent State of School Safety report, Safe and Sound Schools found that nearly all parents and educators surveyed want their school to take extra steps in school security, but don’t necessarily have the expertise, resources, or training available. The Safe and Sound Maryland program, primarily funded by the Building for God Community Foundation, directly addresses this need for all the families in Maryland. 

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 “Partnering with the experts from the Safe and Sound Schools team has allowed us to strengthen our schools’ abilities to guard against a wide variety of threats,” said Michael O. Brooks, Founder and Chairman of the Building for God Community Foundation. “With a recurring grant, we can be true collaborators, working together, year over year, to positively and measurably change the lives of students, teachers, staff, parents, and administrators in our schools in our local community and throughout our entire state.” 

 In 2018, Safe and Sound Maryland reached 12 districts, covering 600 elementary, middle and high schools, with the power to impact 400,000 students. For 2019, Safe and Sound Maryland will focus on recruiting parents and students to implement local school safety initiatives to meet the unique needs of each community.

 “Building for God Community Foundation is a true leader in the community, giving its resources to selflessly support Maryland schools,” said Michele Gay, executive director and co-founder of Safe and Sound Schools. “We are grateful to be entering into the second year of our partnership with the Building for God Community Foundation and look forward to not only furthering the initiatives begun in Maryland, but positioning the state as an example for other school districts to follow, nationwide. 

 The $20,000 grant award will match individual donations, as well as corporate and foundation gifts. To make a donation, visit For more information about Safe and Sound Schools, including free assessment tools, tool kits and resources, visit

 For more information on Building for God Community Foundation, its programs and events, the Champion in Life Partnership Program, and the local nonprofit organizations the Foundation supports, visit  

 About Safe and Sound Schools 

Michele Gay and Alissa Parker founded Safe and Sound Schools in 2013, following the tragic deaths of their children at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Safe and Sound Schools works with school communities and mental health, law enforcement, and safety professionals to create and ensure the safest possible learning environment for all youth. The non-profit organization delivers crisis-prevention, response, and recovery programs, tools, and resources, backed by national experts, to educate all members of the school community, from students and parents, to teachers and administrators, to law enforcement and local leaders. Winner of the 2015 New England Business Association Innovation Award for nonprofits, Safe and Sound Schools continues to answer the growing needs of school communities with custom programs, assessments, and training, reaching schools in every state in the country. For more information, visit

 About Building for God Community Foundation 

Founded in 2007, Building for God Community Foundation’s mission is to affect a positive and determined impact in our local community in the areas of sheltering the homeless, feeding and caring for families, fostering the educational needs of our youth, and supporting those who protect our community. Since its founding, Building for God Community Foundation has supported many local nonprofits through its Champion in Life Grant Award, which distributes grant funds to support deserving organizations in our community. For more information, visit   


2019 Champion in Life Recipient, Touching Young Lives, Featured at DesignFest on Saturday, March 2nd

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On Saturday March 2, 2019 Touching Young Lives will be participating in the annual T. Rowe Price Foundation’s Grassroots DesignFest at MICA. The event brings together designers and non-profit organization in order to solve design problems. Several months ago, the DesignFest organizers put out a call for local nonprofit organizations to submit proposals of their design challenges and those with potentially significant impact would be considered. Touching Young Lives Founder & Executive Director, Shantell Roberts, submitted a proposal to collaborate with designers on an updated outer design for future Portable Alternative Cribs. They were selected and will collaborate with a team of volunteer designers throughout the day to leave with usable designs. Several other local nonprofits participating as well. The event is open to the public and more information about the event is available at To learn more about the great work being done by Shantell and her organization, visit


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A Great Visit with Sisters Circle

Building for God Community Foundation Board Members, Craig Hayward and Paul DiBari had a chance to visit with Sisters Circle, a 2018 Champion in Life Grant Award Winner. Sisters Circle provides long-term mentoring to foster meaningful and sustainable change in the lives of girls and young women in Baltimore.   Craig and Paul met with Stephanie Raddy, pictured here, as well as some of the young ladies who are part of the wonderful work being done at Sisters Circle. As Craig Hayward said, “The need for our Foundation to invest in the great work being done at Sisters Circle is great…and the ultimate benefit to these young women and their community is even greater.”

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Safe and Sound Schools is Hard at Work Keeping Our Children Safe


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When it comes to Building for God Community Foundation Partner, Safe and Sound Schools, 2018 has proven to be another successful year! In the past few months their events have reached thousands of people, delivering their unique message of safety in our schools. Some of these events include:

  • Ivymount School for students with special needs – site visit and consultation

  • Marriotts Ridge High School, Howard County – Safe and Sound Youth Council presentation and a community night

  • DHI Security Conference, Baltimore

  • Baltimore County Public Schools School Safety Conference

  • Federal Emergency Management Association PrepTalk, available online

  • School Safety webinar, hosted by Raptor Technologies

  • Axis School Safety Symposium

  • National Association of School Resource Officers

Curious about what some of what Safe and Sound Schools is sharing? They recently released the State of School Safety Report ( and published Parents for Safe Schools web page (

If you’d like to read more about the wonderful things Safe and Sound Schools is doing for our community, you may enjoy these two great reads:

The Building for God Community Foundation is obviously very proud of the work being done by Safe and Sound Schools and looks forward to sharing more of their successes in the month ahead.



Help Support Empower4Life on Saturday, April 8, 2018!


2018 Champion in Life Grant Award Recipient, Empower4Life, is hosting a fundraising yard sale on April 8th.  "Sip & Shop" is being held from 7:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. at their office located at 3224 Joppa Road in Carney.  More than 1,000 quality/name brand items are available for purchase in an effort to fund their educational programs. Items range from housewares, to clothing for all ages/sizes, to handbags to baby items!  Stop by...Sip, Shop, and Support!

Empower4Life is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that serves to teach children to develop the skills needed to be healthy and productive in school, feel empowered to overcome challenges they face, and inspired to learn, grow and succeed the rest of their lives.  

Congrats, Van! (We're so proud!)

We're excited to know of Van's latest accomplishment!  Here is a blurb from one of SAFE's earlier announcements...  

"On this 13th anniversary of his injury, we are proud to tell you that Van has been selected to serve as Director of The Governor’s Office of Service and Volunteerism. It is a richly deserved honor as well as an incredible opportunity for Van to develop new skills that will allow him to serve SAFE in the years to come. While serving the Governor’s Office, he will still remain at the helm of SAFE, overseeing its continued growth.  He will be joined in that effort by Deonta Sweets, who will direct day-to-day operations as SAFE’s new Assistant Director."

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Support Our Foundation Through Amazon Smile

If you're not familiar with Amazon Smile, it's a great way to give to the Foundation.  Instead of purchasing through, log into  It's the same website but a percentage of your purchase dollars will be donated back to the Building for God Community Foundation! Try the link below.  It's sure to make us SMILE!

Next One Up Launches Its Summer Programming

2016 Champion in Life Award Recipient, Next One Up ( recently shared some great news:

Next One Up's Summer Program will launch June 26th! The program has been fully funded by Under Armour and the Weinberg Foundation, and will serve 40 of our program members, grades 7-12.  The program will also employ four of our college-aged program members as camp counselors:  Tynard Barfield (Hobart), Sherrod Hawkes (Towson U), Keontay Gaines (Tulsa) and Winfield Hopkins (Goucher).  

This Summer's program will feature:

  • 60 hours of classroom time. Instruction will focus on combating summer learning loss; preparing students for SAT success; burnishing social/soft skills; and providing financial aid and college counseling sessions with NOU's expert college counselor,  Mavis Jackson.
  • 5 days of College Immersion at McDaniel College. Students will experience life on campus and a 'college-like' schedule. They will live in the dorms, eat in the cafeteria and fill their days with classes and workouts.
  • 5 days of industrial apprenticeship at the Foundry in Port Covington. NOU is excited to partner with the new Foundry to provide a truly novel experience for our participants. Student will spend their final week of the summer program learning how to use industrial-grade tools and learning about various trades.
  • Compensation from YouthWorks. All students will receive compensation from Baltimore City's YouthWorks Program upon successful completion of the five-week program.  

We have also scheduled guest lectures by visionary leaders, athletes, and scholars. These include: 

Mike McCray, Ravens Ring of Honor Member and Super Bowl Champion will discuss his athletic career and the lessons he learned along the way.

Dominique S. Moore, will speak to our student athletes about her legal career and community development work. She will also discuss the impacts of structural racism. 

Eddie Penney, retired Navy SEAL and former member of SEAL Team 6 who is the Founder and CEO of The Contingent Group, will discuss his career in public service.