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Baltimore Living

Best Nonprofit Organization

Living Classrooms Foundation

In an age when governments at all levels are hurting for revenues and cutting programs and services, others must pick up the necessary slack. Quietly but effectively, Living Classrooms Foundation has been doing exactly that in Baltimore for years. From its origins more than a quarter-century ago, when it built and operated a single boat, the Lady Maryland, to educate and train at-risk youngsters, it has grown into a job-training, educational, neighborhood-revitalization, and maritime-tourism powerhouse. According to its own economic-impact analysis, the foundation “generates nearly $120 million in annual output in Maryland each year and supports over 1,820 full-time jobs.” Its programs provide crucial relief to the city’s overburdened, resource-starved public-schools and recreation-center systems; help usher ex-offenders into fruitful lives; work to prevent violence before it happens; train youngsters and young adults for life-sustaining careers; work to renovate and restore ailing buildings in deteriorated neighborhoods; maintain Baltimore’s maritime heritage; and bolster the dynamism of the city’s crucial tourism sector. It has stepped in where government has had to withdraw, and its continued success is likely to become even more necessary as Baltimore’s hard times persist in the years to come.

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