$20 million gift from Stephen and Renee Bisciotti to create the Ravens Boys & Girls Club
Boys & Girls Clubs of Metropolitan Baltimore (BGCMB) announced it has received a $20 million commitment from the Baltimore Ravens and The Stephen and Renee Bisciotti Foundation to create the Baltimore Ravens Boys & Girls Club at Hilton Recreation Center.
The transformational donation will allow Boys & Girls Clubs to significantly expand services and transform the existing Hilton Recreation Center.
The Baltimore Ravens Boys & Girls Club builds upon Torrey and Channel Smith’s commitment to West Baltimore and LEVEL82’s work to reopen the previously shuttered Hilton Recreation Center located at 2950 Phelps Lane.
To take the project to the next level, the Ravens and Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Baltimore are partnering with Baltimore City Recreation and Parks, Green Street Academy, and the community to complete a comprehensive renovation resulting in a space where hundreds of children ages 6-18 will participate daily in youth development programs.
Plans for the Club include a multi-purpose athletic field with sports lighting, a teen center, activity and games spaces, tutoring spaces, and indoor/outdoor community gathering spaces. BGCMB will provide youth programs that focus on academic success, character and leadership development, the arts, health and wellness, sports and recreation and workforce readiness. BGCMB will also coordinate additional nonprofit program partners to provide services in the renovated Club.
With the leadership of the Ravens, BGCMB, LEVEL82, Green Street Academy, and Baltimore City Recreation and Parks have worked alongside Whiting Turner and Design Collective to bring an inspiring vision to life. BGCMB is working to support the long-term sustainability of the Club and endow specific programs at the site.
BGCMB is seeking to raise additional funds, with a goal of $10 Million to supplement the catalytic gift of the Ravens and The Stephen and Renee Bisciotti Foundation. Construction is expected to begin in the late 2023 and be completed by the end of 2024.
Jeff Breslin, President & CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of Metropolitan Baltimore said: “This marks an amazing day for the children and families of Baltimore. Thanks to the Ravens, Steve and Renee Bisciotti, the City of Baltimore and all our dedicated partners, not only will we create, but we will sustain, a state-of-the-art place where kids and teens can learn, play, and ultimately reach their full potential in a safe and healthy environment. We deeply appreciate the Ravens’ commitment and the ongoing support of community leaders who are helping bring this opportunity to fruition.”
Sashi Brown, President of the Baltimore Ravens added: “Making a significant impact on our community has been a top priority of the Ravens since the team’s inception. We appreciate Steve and Renee Bisciotti for their overwhelming generosity and thank Dick Cass for his guidance and leadership that helped us set the standard over many years.
Football is a true team sport, and similarly it takes a team to make something of this magnitude become a reality. Torrey Smith and LEVEL82, Baltimore City Recreation and Parks, Green Street Academy, and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Metropolitan Baltimore make a formidable team that remains focused on delivering this magnificent project to our community.”
Baltimore City Mayor Brandon Scott stated: “This is a remarkable example of how a public-private partnership can work together to change a community. On behalf of our Recreation & Parks department, I want to thank everyone for their dedication and hard work. Our young people need support, they need mentors, and they need opportunities to achieve, and this gives them a real chance to discover all they can be.”
In 2021, following a $400,000 renovation by the Ravens, LEVEL82 launched the LEVEL Up Leadership Academy at the Hilton Recreation Center. Since reopening, LEVEL82 has provided academic support, mentoring, youth development and recreational programs in the upgraded center. Alongside other partners in the amazing new club, this work will only increase and help even more youth and community members.
LEVEL82 was founded by two-time Super Bowl Champion and former Ravens wide receiver Torrey Smith and his wife, Chanel, with a goal of creating a gathering place for those who live, work, and play in Baltimore City.
Smith added: “When Chanel and I started LEVEL82, we wanted to use the platform that football provided to make a positive impact on our adopted community of Baltimore. I can’t thank the Ravens, Steve and Renee and all of our partners for the support that has allowed us to exceed our expectations. This work is critically important and is truly making a difference in the lives of the youth who are seeking opportunities and want to create a successful future for themselves. This Club is game-changing in so many ways, and hopefully, it creates a model that stretches throughout our city, state and across the country.”
Green Street Academy was founded in 2010 and is a West Baltimore public charter school serving 875 students annually. The Club’s facilities will serve as a home court and field for the Academy’s sports teams.
Denisha Logan, Executive Director of Green Street Academy, concluded: “As we continue to grow and provide a high-level education for the children of West Baltimore and Baltimore City, we look to enhance our programs, and that includes athletics. And who better to partner with than our Baltimore Ravens, when it comes to sports facilities? These marvelous courts and field will give our students a home field advantage unlike any other in our community.”
About Boys & Girls Clubs of Metropolitan Baltimore:
They never take a single approach to help kids succeed. It takes caring mentors, such as trained Club staff. It takes a safe place, like their nine Clubs that are consistently there for the over 1,000 members we serve and 1,200 families we support. And it takes innovative, quality programs designed to empower youth to excel in school and lead healthy, productive lives. They do whatever it takes to ensure all kids have a great future.
The Ravens’ mission is to win football games, serve fans and be a positive force in the community. The Ravens Foundation is committed to improving, encouraging and enabling the healthy development of youth in the Baltimore area, as well as other parts of the state of Maryland. The foundation focuses on programs that help youth, and in some cases their families, with various needs, including housing, hunger, education, athletics, and mentoring.
Co-Founded by Torrey and Chanel Smith, LEVEL82 Fund leads with the pillars of Leadership, Education, Vision, Effort, and Love. LEVEL82 strives to create a gathering space for those who live, work and play in Baltimore City while developing strategically-curated programming to empower the community.
Aligned with the mission to leverage the power of collaboration to enable families to reach their full potential, Torrey and Chanel bring their personal experiences, commitment, resources, and passion to the community. LEVEL82 programs are available at the Hilton Recreation Center for all ages, including academic support, athletic and enrichment activities, mental health resources, and social services. LEVEL82 works to create a more equitable society that everyone deserves.
Baltimore City Recreation and Parks is the city’s leading provider of affordable, year-round leisure and recreational activities for residents of all ages and abilities. Beautiful parks, trails and waterways provide the perfect urban oasis. Baltimore City Parks and Recreation oversees 51 recreation centers, 23 pools, 120,000 trees, 4700-plus acres of parkland, 262 parks, 133 athletic fields, 138 playgrounds, 104 tennis and pickleball courts, 116 basketball courts, 32 historic structures, 25-plus miles of biking and hiking trails, 18 picnic groves, 12 pavilion groves, four dog parks and three skate parks.
Their mission is to create a pipeline of inspired, self-reflective, and well-qualified young people who are prepared to graduate, advance their studies, build careers, and sustain themselves, their families, and their communities. The school was founded in 2010 and is a 6-12 public charter school located in West Baltimore and serving 875 students annually.