Nonprofits Receiving ARPA Funding Face Funding Cliff: Maryland Nonprofits Responds with Support for Capacity Building

Nonprofits receiving ARPA funding face funding cliff: Maryland nonprofits responds with support for capacity building
May 11, 2023 / BALTIMORE, MD – Maryland Nonprofits is launching a new program to provide training, technical assistance, and capacity building services to a group of Baltimore City nonprofits that received federal pandemic recovery funds under the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). The program, called Strategic Opportunities for ARPA Recipients (SOAR), was conceived in partnership with The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, which provided a $300,000 grant to support the program and Maryland Nonprofits’ operations statewide.

As part of the program, Maryland Nonprofits will provide consulting services in strategic planning, fundraising, board development, succession planning, marketing, and related topics – with the goal of ensuring these one-time infusions of federal funding have a long-term impact on the growth and sustainability of the recipient nonprofits.

So far, eight nonprofits that have been awarded ARPA grants from Baltimore City will receive these services:

  • Downtown Partnership of Baltimore
  • Druid Heights Community Development Corporation
  • Healing City Baltimore
  • KEYS Empowers
  • Fight Blight Bmore and Parity Homes’ Stop Oppressive Seizures (SOS) Fund
  • Project PLASE
  • South Baltimore Community Land Trust
  • Southwest Partnership

Maryland Nonprofits expects to add more nonprofits to the SOAR program, for a total of 13 organizations.

“The SOAR program is about building for the future, taking steps now to ensure the sustainability of these vital organizations, and making them stronger in all the ways that will help them thrive and grow,” said Maryland Nonprofits President and CEO, Heather Iliff.

The City of Baltimore awarded $43.4 million to 45 nonprofit organizations following an open RFP process. These grants focused on nonprofits that provide housing ($23.1 million, 53%), training and education ($9.8 million, 23%), health services ($3.5 million, 8%), and business assistance ($3.1 million, 7%). The remainder is dedicated to public space and parks ($2 million, 5%), nonprofit relief ($1 million, 2%), violence prevention ($500,000, 1%), and household assistance ($500,000, 1%). These grants represent significant infusions of funds, with some nonprofits receiving grants similar to or exceeding their annual operating budgets.

“It is critical we start now to strengthen these organizations’ ability to sustain their operations after their ARPA funding ends, and to help ensure they have the infrastructure and capacity to use these funds in ways that are effective and sustainable,” said Darius Graham, Program Director for the Weinberg Foundation’s grantmaking in Baltimore. “Funders increasingly recognize the importance of investing in the long-term health of organizations serving the community, and the SOAR program is a wonderful example of that.”

Maryland Nonprofits has also provided training programs on federal grant compliance for the 45 organizations receiving ARPA funding, in partnership with the Mayor’s Office of Recovery Programs.

Shamiah Kerney, Chief Recovery Officer of the Mayor’s Office of Recovery Programs, said, “Using ARPA funding to build coalitions between City agencies and nonprofits is one of the essential ways in which Baltimore City will recover from the negative health and economic impacts caused by the COVID-19 public health emergency. Nonprofits are part of the City’s ARPA response because of the critical services they provide our residents. As we work together to build a better Baltimore, we must ensure partner organizations meet the complex federal grant requirements and be better positioned to sustain operations after the end of the grant period. I am pleased that the Weinberg Foundation and Maryland Nonprofits are partnering with the Recovery Office to help support the success of these grantees.”

Maryland Nonprofits reached out to all 45 Baltimore City ARPA grantees, and 13 nonprofits – including those listed above – have opted to work with SOAR, with a vision of building a solid foundation for a sustainable future so they can continue serving the community for many years to come.


About the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA)

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act in March 2021, providing $1.9 trillion to speed the nation’s economic recovery and address the widespread impact on public health. Nationwide, the ARPA program allocated $350 billion in relief funds to state and local governments, of which Baltimore City received $641 million. In an open RFP, the Scott Administration awarded $43.4 million in direct grants to nonprofits in the city. In four rounds of ARPA funding, the Mayor’s Office of Recovery Programs provided grants of $250,000 or more to 45 city nonprofits, focused on several key aspects of community development: affordable housing, youth services, small business support, and arts and culture. The City must have all ARPA funds committed by the end of 2024, and all funds must be expended by the end of 2026.


About Maryland Nonprofits

For 30 years, Maryland Nonprofits has worked to promote a thriving and effective nonprofit sector in Maryland and nationally through our Standards for Excellence® Institute. With our 1,600+ members, we coordinate advocacy with nonprofit leaders to advance equity and public policy that supports vibrant community organizations and civil society. Maryland Nonprofits’ capacity-building services include the state’s largest nonprofit consulting group, training, an annual conference, and accreditation through the Standards for Excellence program. Maryland Nonprofits is the home of the Maryland Association of Resources for Families & Youth (MARFY), Maryland Latinos Unidos, and the Charge Up Collaborative. Maryland Nonprofits is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, non-partisan organization with a mission to strengthen organizations and networks for greater quality of life and equity. Visit for more information.