Thanks for taking time to catch up with us!
Nutrition counts -- taking a break to enjoy a healthy snack (dried seaweed).


Despite the challenges COVID 19 presented to us over the past year, our BWBB community is still growing. We are excited to see the fruits of our labor unfolding, as we send a heartfelt thanks to everyone who has contributed to and believes in our work.

To our donors and grantors, big or small, you have sustained us and continue to help us move forward. Recently, the cost of materials have increased 3-fold and your contributions have made a significant impact. In this issue, we highlight some of the creative ways a few donors have found to contribute. 

We are bringing life back to a block that was nearly condemned; with only one homeowner who held it down for decades. In this newsletter, our unwavering community member shares her memories of Etting Street. As our 2020 fall cohort begins to settle in on the block, our current participant shares her experience with BWBB.

Finally, we have made some updates to our website that reflect the evolution of our program and online user experience. We look forward to the journey ahead and again, we thank you.


Shelley Halstead, Executive Director and Founder


She Knew Where She Was Going: Gee's Bend Quilts and Civil Rights

She Knew Where She Was Going: Gee’s Bend Quilts and Civil Rights BMA Community Quilt Giveaway. The Quilt will be displayed at the BMA from June 2021 – August/September 2021. During that time visitors can donate to the BWBB as part of the entry process to
win the Community Quilt Raffle. BMA is always free, but reservations are required.


Gilbane Building Company, Morgan State University, and A&S Refuse have teamed up to help us get started on our next set of houses. With a donation of eight dumpsters, we will be able to clean our next set of houses for fall! We are so thrilled

Bryanna in action with an awesome Hilti rotary hammer

Bryanna in action with an awesome donated Hilti rotary hammer. Just one of the dozens of fantastic tools Hilti donated to start our community resource center and tool lending library.

BWBB awarded fan-nominated SHE BUILDS grant

KEEN Footwear recently launched a fan-nominated grant program, the She Builds Grant Program, to help find the best non-profits across America that are helping women enter or grow in the trades. Thanks to our fans , we have received this grant and soon will be wearing new protective kicks! .

Bryanna and green juice!

Worldwide Education and Research Institute (WERI) awarded us funds to help us start our nutrition awareness component because we understand that to be effective and efficient in our work, a well-fueled body is key. Our homemade Cucumber-Apple- Lime juice is a refreshing beverage that keeps us hydrated!

We are grateful for the ongoing support we receive from DHCD & DHCD.


Longtime Etting Street resident, Ms. Poinsetta shares her story with our team.
Ms Poinsettia + BWBB team_
From left - Tonika Garibaldi (Program Mgr), and 2020 Fall cohorts/future community members: Bryanna Vellines (slightly behind) Chanelle Austin, Shandria Robertson, Quanshay Henderson, and Miss Poinsetta

I was two years old when my mother brought me to Etting Street. That could have been near the end of 1945 or the beginning of 1946. On this street was row houses lined up on both sides of the street. At the time, the house on the corner was a store with people living on the second floor. People in this area called this building the Store Front. There was a grocery store on just about every corner in the community.

I remember my mother sending me and my brothers to this store when we got a little older to teach us how to count money and buy candy, cookies and other items. We always enjoyed doing that. People in the community started getting my brothers to go to the store for them.
The Cloverland or Greenspring Dairy milkmen made home deliveries to our home. They would pick up empties and leave fresh milk. Rice Bakery truck came to our door to deliver bread and sweets. After they stopped delivering our bread, my mother or her children would be sent to Schmidt Baking Company to buy bread located at Carey and Laurens Street. I also remember the ice truck coming to deliver ice to our house and to other neighbors on the block. Each time you wanted ice, the sign in your window would be changed to show the size of ice you wanted. People who had cold or oil stoves had trucks to deliver these items at different times of the year.
Baltimore Arabbers called out their wares and sold fruit, vegetables and other food items in the community. When the ice cream truck approached our block, playing different truck jingles, it was loved by all the children. My favorite was a Good Humor bar, an ice cream bar on a stick or vanilla ice cream cone.
As children in this block, we all enjoyed going to Druid Hill Park to see the different animals, have a picnic, play, or walk to the library on Fremont and Pitcher Street. On the way back home we stood at the bridge and watched the trains go by.
Games played in the 1900 block of Etting Street by children (and sometimes adults) that lived here: Jack’s, Hopscotch, Dodgeville, Jump/Skiprope, Marbles, Stick ball, Hula Hoop, Tic Tackle Toe, Toyota, Boxing, and we made skateboards, and played with wooden wagons up and down this street. I learned to ride a bike (English racer) right on this street.
Miss Poinsetta



Understanding your finances is critical to purchasing a home. We found that focusing on financial literacy before we started to build has helped our participants become confident in their purchase.

Jennifer, our current participant shares her experience:

For quite some time now, safe, affordable, quality housing in my community has been a dream of mine. Shelley’s passion and dedication to turn the tragedy of Baltimore’s Vacant homes into affordable, quality, valued properties is what has helped make this dream possible for me. To witness this truly miraculous transformation has been awe-inspiring, to be able to be a part of the process has been an experience of a lifetime, and to one day own one of these homes would be a dream come true.

I’ve truly enjoyed this adventure so far and I’ve been able to learn a lot about investment properties, building generational wealth, carpentry, and how to better manage and budget my finances. For instance, I used to be so anxious about spending money because of the fear of not having enough to cover all of my expenses, so I simply wouldn’t spend much at all. The budget Tonika, the program manager, shared with me is an excel spreadsheet that automatically calculates my expenses. This tool can easily be adjusted as my income and expenses change. Now, that I have a better idea of where my money is going, I know that I can comfortably afford a house and treat myself. I can take trips out of town, and buy loved ones gifts with the confidence that I am staying on track with my savings goals.

Utilizing the skills I’ve developed through BWBB will be essential in keeping and maintaining the home that I will hopefully soon own. I have some ways to go but I am so grateful for the BWBB community, who’s been supporting, guiding, and encouraging me every step of the way!


Shelley will be presenting the closing keynote Thursday July 29, @ 1pm
AIA Conference on Architecture 2021 logo
ticket info ›
AUG 07
St Francis virtual Resource Fair
August 7, 2021 @ 12:00PM — 1:00PM EDT. We will be presenting at the 16th Annual Reservoir Hill Resource Festival. Event is free, SFNC donation optional.

register ›
Fall Cohort Application deadline
Our next build season is upon us, and we look forward to meeting a new round of applicants! Please visit the Program Overview and How to Apply for more info.

overview ›
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Building community, knowledge, and wealth together.

This project is supported in part by:
Bank of America
Baltimore Department of Housing & Community Development Grant

Black Women Build-Baltimore is an equal employer. You do not need to identify as Black or a woman to apply but as a mission-based organization, we center Black women. 

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