Here’s a sample of what AIM leaders and member institutions have accomplished together in their local communities so far in 2021!
Excel Beyond the Bell expanded to 12 Title I Elementary Schools
In spring 2021, parents at AIM listening sessions in English, Spanish, and Amharic expressed concerns about their students’ learning loss, lack of social interaction, and reduced physical activity due to COVID restrictions. These parents, along with partners at AIM congregations, sent emails, made phone calls, and testified before Montgomery County Council to secure the expansion of the Excel Beyond the Bell Elementary (EBBE) program to two new Title I elementary schools. Five days a week, the program will provide an hour of academics, an hour of enrichment, and a hot meal to 1,440 students in the highest poverty schools in our county. AIM is working with the Department of Recreation and individual schools to tailor EBBE to address the after-effects of COVID and disrupted school for students.
$89 Million for Affordable Housing
Nearly 20 years ago, AIM won the first dedicated funding for the Housing Initiative Fund (HIF), a permanent source of funding that preserves and builds affordable housing for Montgomery County families, and AIM has organized annually to increase HIF funding ever since. This year, AIM called on county leaders to increase funding to the HIF and secured $89 Million—the highest amount to date—bringing the total amount won by AIM leaders to $900 Million over two decades.
COVID Vaccinations and Food Distribution
Through the pandemic, the parents and staff at Cider Mill Apartments and South Lake Elementary, in partnership with the Gaithersburg Beloved Community Initiative and the Islamic Center of Maryland, have hosted a free, weekly food market to address hunger in their communities. AIM leaders worked with families standing in line at the food market to access rental assistance programs and signed up more than 300 families for the COVID vaccine.
Expanded Programs and Services for Seniors Post-COVID
AIM seniors shared stories regarding their needs for a variety of programming for their physical, emotional, and cognitive health after more than a year of isolation. AIM seniors organized and met with members of County Council and won an additional $250,000 in the county budget for Montgomery County senior programs and services.
Led by the Men’s Ministry at The People’s Community Baptist Church, AIM congregations in partnership with our sister organizations in Anne Arundel and Howard County researched and organized for tangible changes in Maryland State law that would hold law enforcement accountable and would increase transparency in situations of police misconduct. Together with partners from across the state, AIM leaders called for and won racial bias and implicit bias screening; full transparency and access to police records of misconduct; more strict limits on the use of excessive force, including a proposed standard for judging the appropriateness of use of force; and a more strict requirement for police to intervene in the case of misconduct by another officer.
Building Relational Power
This summer, AIM hosted a leadership training series for three cohorts of leaders to learn the concept and develop the practice of doing one-to-one meetings with others in their institutions and neighborhoods. Each cohort met four times for one-hour sessions every two weeks. Each participant committed to doing 1-2 relational meetings between sessions. Evaluations from the cohort trainings were overwhelmingly positive and we plan to continue and build on this focused training model.
Thanks to the wonderful support of AIM donors, we are poised to hire two bilingual organizers starting this fall. We are looking forward to the new victories we will be able to win through this work. If you or someone you know would be a good candidate, please find the job description and application here.