The Helen J. Serini Foundation supports innovative interventions that remove or address the root causes of systemic barriers to health, safety, shelter and opportunity in the communities where we live and work.

We strive to rectify economic and social inequalities by providing financial support, advice, time and resources to qualified charitable organizations that demonstrate creative and innovative thinking, a spirit of collaboration and partnership, and implement models that are constituent-driven and community-led. Wherever possible, The Helen J. Serini Foundation aims to combine one or more of these areas for the benefit of its target population.

We focus our grants on organizations working to break the cycle of poverty in the communities in which we live and work. This includes Anne Arundel County, Baltimore County, Baltimore City, Frederick County, and the British Virgin Islands.

Grant Philosophy

We believe that monetary grants can go a long way in effecting change, but we also believe in helping our grantees with more than just dollars. We encourage all of our Board members, staff, advisors and family members and spouses to volunteer their time to help our grantees. We aim to provide a broad range of advice, guidance and hands-on support at all levels, from serving as board members to providing complimentary marketing, legal, financial and investment advice (where appropriate and requested); from working at fundraising and creative joint venture creation to tutoring children and providing educational and career advice; from providing, preparing and serving meals to helping clean, repair and renovate properties.


Our support of direct service, emergency needs, or similar programs is rare, and usually occurs in instances where that service is used to inform systemic work, or if an organization can demonstrate that such a program, if implemented universally, would have systemic impact.

Individually, board and family members may support direct services and emergency needs organizations, but the foundation’s collective giving focuses on root causes and systems change work as outlined above.

The Foundation is seeking funding partnerships with non-profits who demonstrate the following characteristics:

  • A creative, innovative, entrepreneurial spirit

  • A spirit of collaboration, partnership, and alliance-building

  • A commitment to equity

  • A willingness to grow a relationship over time

  • Experienced, high-energy, talented management and demonstrated board governance

  • Models that are constituent-driven and informed by the communities they aim to serve

  • Services that are transformative in the lives of clients

  • Work that improves and/or restructures symptoms by changing the policies and practices that hold people in cycles of poverty

When considering whether or not to apply, consider the following questions:

Does this work improve or restructure systems of poverty by changing policies, practices, or beliefs that hold people in cycles of poverty? 

If this is a request for direct service support, does this direct service inform or complement work to improve or restructure systems?

If not, do you believe that the universal implementation of this direct service work would result in an improved or restructured system?

Grant History

The Helen J. Serini Foundation has made grants ranging from $1,000 to $120,000, as single or multi-year grants. For an overview of some recent grantees, see the listings below. Also make sure to follow our blog for updates on news, outcomes and new grantees, or sign up for our newsletter for announcements.

Average grant installment size to date (through FY2018): $10,000

Median grant installment size to date (through FY2018): $10,000

Selected Grants Made to Date*:

*Please note that our grant activity for 2013-2017 is reflective of our original mission statement and strategic plan. In 2017, we revised our mission statement to more accurately support our vision, and all following grantmaking activities will be in alignment with this new mission statement. To learn more about this decision and our direction for current and future grantmaking, click here.


View Grants as a map

Our grants are included in Foundation Center's grants map; click here to view the map of all grants made by The Helen J. Serini Foundation (with grant detail). Note that grant activity in the map is updated annually, so may be slightly out of date at any given moment.