$70,000 Weaver Awards To Support Baltimore Neighbors Who Build Connection and Community

June 2, 2021

Ten people or groups to receive $7,000 grants from the Aspen Institute and M&T Bank

Contact: Michael Skoler
Communications Director
Weave: The Social Fabric Project
573-256-9600 | michael.skoler@aspeninstitute.org

Baltimore, MD, June 2, 2021 –– M&T Bank and Weave: The Social Fabric Project, a program of the Aspen Institute, today announced the first-ever Weaver Awards to celebrate and support people helping to weave Baltimore’s social fabric. Ten people or groups will each receive $7,000 for projects that create connection and relationships across city neighborhoods. Applications open today and close on July 2.

The Weaver Awards are focused on highlighting those who prioritize their community’s emotional needs for connection and belonging. Baltimore was identified as an ideal city for the inaugural awards, with its rich ecosystem to support the organizations and people serving their communities. Winners will be announced on July 21, 2021.

Applicants are invited to propose a project that builds relationships among neighbors – whether gathering folks to build community spaces in vacant lots or creating networks to support people or families in need. Some of these “Weavers” might make meals from their kitchen or arrange food distribution across the community, while others might inspire teens to check in on isolated seniors.

“Growing up in Baltimore, I know how much these community Weavers meant in my life,” says Dan Porterfield, president and CEO of the Aspen Institute. “They created the social trust that made us proud and inspired us to look out for each other.”

Those 18 and older who live in Baltimore City can apply or nominate neighbors. The Awards are designed for people who may not have an organization or any experience getting grants. Applicants answer just a few questions about themselves, their communities and their project, and invite three recommendations from neighbors. Winners will have regular check-ins with the Weave Project, but no formal reports or budgets to submit.

The Aspen Institute’s Weave: The Social Fabric Project created the Awards to honor and support the often-overlooked anchors of a community, people like Baltimore’s Bea Gaddy, who used a modest lottery prize to feed her neighbors a Thanksgiving meal in 1981. M&T Bank is funding the program.

“M&T Bank’s participation in the Weaver Awards program reinforces our mission to be the community leader in Baltimore,” says Augie Chiasera, M&T’s regional president for Greater Baltimore. “We strive to not only understand the issues critical to Baltimore’s success but also support the growth and sustainability of the grassroots community efforts that are so important to making Baltimore a better city.”

M&T Bank has 20 branches in Baltimore City and gives $3.5 million toward community support in the Greater Baltimore area each year.

“Some of the most trusted people getting things done in their communities may not be running nonprofits,” says Frederick Riley, executive director of the Weave Project. “They just see needs and inspire neighbors to look out for each other. Those are the Weavers we want to honor.”

Weave: The Social Fabric project works to identify and uplift Weavers in communities across the United States. A Weaver is identified as someone who prioritizes relationships, shows up authentically, sees the humanity in everyone, and builds social trust. Examples of Weavers are available in video profiles of Asiaha Butler of Chicago, Claudia Saavedra of Newark and Katherine Hutton of New Orleans.

People can learn more, nominate someone, or apply by visiting Awards.WeAreWeavers.org.

A media kit for Baltimore’s Weaver Awards is available here.


About the Aspen Institute’s Weave: The Social Fabric Project
Weave: The Social Fabric Project is a nationwide program of the Aspen Institute that supports and inspires grassroots leaders who are building social trust and weaving an inclusive social fabric so their communities can thrive.  Weave supports and strengthens these Weavers by providing access to resources, opening doors to partnerships, and inspiring new generations of Weavers. New York Times columnist and author David Brooks founded the project in 2018 and serves as its chair.

About M&T Bank
M&T Bank is a community bank serving New York, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Connecticut, Virginia, West Virginia, Washington, D.C., and Florida that offers advice, guidance, expertise and solutions across the entire financial spectrum. In Greater Baltimore, M&T is one of the region’s largest corporate philanthropists, contributing $3.5 million annually to more than 200 nonprofit organizations.

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