We envision thriving communities where all people live healthy, dignified lives regardless of means or identity.


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 financial support. We encourage all of our Board members, staff, and advisors as well as 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.

Areas of Focus

  • Youth and families: Adverse Childhood Experiences; case management; family support services.

  • Food security: Long-term solutions to food access; food deserts.

  • Economic opportunity: job creation, employment training, financial education and access, workforce development.

  • Community development

  • Access to adequate, affordable healthcare

Our grantmaking strategies work to align the above areas of focus with our mission of supporting economic and social equity by focusing services on populations who are historically underserved.

Funding Priorities

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?