The David and Barbara B. Hirschhorn Foundation makes grants to improve the lives of families and children and cultivate a “level playing field” through expanding educational opportunity and addressing human needs. Established in 1986, the Foundation funds primarily in the Baltimore metropolitan area, supporting both Jewish and secular initiatives in its four program areas:
- Education and Literacy focuses on adult and family literacy and outreach programs
- Summer Camping and Learning seeks to address summer learning loss and support exceptional camp programs for low-income children
- Human Services seeks to support quality direct service and advocacy programs addressing challenges faced by people across the age spectrum, with a focus on the needs of children and seniors
- Intergroup Relations focuses on fostering mutual respect and cooperation among different faiths, races and ethnicities through joint learning, service, travel and community engagement
Recognizing that education is a key to economic opportunity, the Foundation supports organizations and programs that provide children and adults with the academic and literacy skills necessary to be productive and contributing members of society. High quality intergenerational literacy programs that work with children and adults to strengthen family stability are of particular interest. The Foundation also invests in programs that introduce children and families to the joy of reading and promote access to public libraries.
The Foundation prioritizes program models that demonstrate evidence of improving learning outcomes for participants such as increasing reading grade level as measured on standardized tests (for children) or securing a high school equivalency degree (for adults).
This program is focused on efforts in the Baltimore region. Generally, the Foundation does not provide support for individual public, parochial or independent schools.
Summer is a critical time for all children; a time to explore new interests and develop independence and self-confidence. It is also a time when young people can experience significant learning loss if they do not participate in educational or enrichment activities. Seeking to capitalize on the opportunities afforded by summer, the Foundation helps disadvantaged children gain access to exceptional summer camp and summer learning experiences.
The Foundation prioritizes summer camp programs that have a unique theme or focus and/or serve special populations. In the summer learning arena, the Foundation focuses on programs that demonstrate evidence of stemming summer learning loss among low-income children and adhere to best practices including duration of program, high-quality curriculum and strong attendance and staff hiring policies.
This program is focused on the Baltimore region, however, funding for exceptional programs beyond the region that serve children from Baltimore will also be considered.
The goal of this program is to invest in the well-being of the Baltimore community through programs that ensure that families, children and older adults thrive. The Foundation’s investments in programming for children focus on older youth, particularly those involved with the child welfare system and/or who are homeless, supporting strategies that help develop the skills to be self-sufficient. For older adults, the Foundation seeks to support programs that enable aging in place. Family strengthening focuses on training to ensure the adults are ready to work and parent effectively. Across this program, the Foundation seeks to support models that incorporate both direct service provision and public policy approaches.
This program is focused on efforts in the Baltimore region. Generally, grants support general operations or programs, typically not capital needs.
Reflecting David and Barbara Hirschhorn’s lifelong commitment to improving relations among people of different faiths, races and ethnicities, the Foundation invests in organizations that promote tolerance and understanding. The goal is to make intergroup cooperation a social “norm”, fostering mutual respect and cooperation through engagement and joint learning. The Foundation supports programs that bring members of the Jewish community together with people of other faith traditions. Funded program models typically include community service as an organizing framework for learning and collaboration, and efforts that focus on young adults (high school and college), who are in the process of forming their social identity.
The Foundation will consider programs working across the United States, with a preference for efforts that have a connection with the Baltimore region.