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Living Classrooms

Founded in Baltimore in 1985, Living Classrooms Foundation is a Baltimore – Washington, DC nonprofit that disrupts the cycle of poverty and helps our community become safer, stronger, and healthier by meeting individuals where they are and building skills for life. Living Classrooms inspires children, youth, and adults to achieve their potential through hands-on education, workforce development, health and wellness, and violence prevention programming.

Living Classrooms has developed a distinctive competency in experiential learning – literally learning by direct experience – or what we call “learning by doing.” They utilize their environmental campuses, athletic fields, community centers, and historic ships as “living classrooms.”

They work with one child, one teen, one adult, and one family at a time to identify existing barriers towards success and provide resources and opportunities to help each person reach their full potential, thus creating stronger family units and more resilient communities.

While each of the program areas is distinct, in combination they create a powerful synergy. Their maritime heritage sites create opportunities for employment training. Their education programs use our environmental and maritime resources as living learning laboratories. Their employability programs create stronger communities that are better prepared to exercise environmental stewardship.

In 2020, the Oprah Winfrey Charitable Foundation contributed to the COVID-19 Community Needs and Recovery Fund, to aid vulnerable communities in the Baltimore area (where Winfrey began her career). 

Impact Statistics

  • 365,000+: Hours of academic instruction annually to students
  • 8344: Volunteers working with living Classrooms, yielding an economic impact of $1.1 million
  • 87%: Percent of middle schoolers from the Living Classrooms’ charter school Crossroads who go on to attend college preparatory high school

Recent Highlights

The COVID-19 Community Needs and Recovery Fund has provided over 57,000 meals, feeding over 400 families per day during the pandemic.

Living Classrooms has distributed over 500 Chromebooks and 1500 STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) activity boxes to help students with virtual school, and to encourage hands-on learning.

Over 1500 health and wellness kits were sent to students and their families as they combat the virus. Many do not have access to good health care services, so Living Classrooms is aiming to support them.

Spotlight: Impact story