Smith Philanthropic Literacy Board

Uniting students' growing understanding of the critical issues facing the Baltimore community with the opportunity to effect positive change, the Smith Philanthropic Literacy Board (PLB) is one of many programs our students can engage in as a means of leading for the greater good in the world around them.Participants on this board are the decision-makers who oversee the grant proposal process, defining their mission and evaluating applications from Baltimore-area organizations.
Student board members research the local organizations and then develop a Request for Proposals that they send to those organizations. PLB members then evaluate applicants and choose which organizations they feel should be awarded the funds. Organizations that have been awarded funds in previous years are invited back to help the PLB members understand the impact of the PLB’s award on the organization’s work. 

2023 Smith Philanthropic Literacy Board Announcement

Grant Application Window Opens November 22, 2022

Deadline for applications is January 12, 2023. You will be notified by March 9, 2023 of the grant decisions. 

apply here!

Philanthropic Literacy Board and Baltimore Safe Haven check presentation

The 2022 Smith Philanthropic Literacy Board presents their grant to Baltimore Safe Haven. 

Smith Philanthropic Literacy Board Annual Announcements

Founded in the fall of 2017, the Smith Philanthropic Literacy Board at RPCS has supported the following organizations: 

The 2021 board sought grant applications from Baltimore-based organizations that work with the city’s Black youth.  "The Board first met following a summer of nationwide social justice efforts and concerns about Wellness in the Black community was at the forefront of our minds. Members on the board were in agreement about focusing our mission statement this year around this issue,” said board member Camille Lawson, 2021. "We chose this focus because we wanted to benefit our Baltimore community," said board member Grace Sarkar, 2021. "We agreed that our concentration should revolve around young adults because aiding the next generation is essential to positively impacting any society. In a year with so much pain and uncertainty, mental health resources and education are integral. It is important that everyone has an outlet to maintain their well-being because, as the common saying goes, you can’t pour from an empty cup.” The 2021 grant recipient was The Black Mental Health Alliance.  

The 2020 board sought grant applications from organizations focused on protecting local bodies of water (the Harbor and the Chesapeake Bay) and/or focused on providing effective and easily accessible environmental education for Baltimore City residents. The 2020 grant recipients were Environment Maryland and Phillips Wharf Environmental Center.
The 2019 board sought grant applications from organizations supporting youth wellness by providing after school community resources for Baltimore City Youth.  The 2019 grant recipients were Bridges at Gilman SchoolThe Club at Collington Square, and Parks & People Foundation.
The 2018 board sought grant applications from organizations focused on empowering women and children who are survivors of domestic and sexual violence. The 2018 grant recipient was House of Ruth

Students work with Head of School Caroline Blatti on a PLB grant proposal. 

The Smith philanthropic literacy board endowment fund

PLB Smith Family


The Smith Philanthropic Literacy Board Endowment Fund was established and endowed by Cheryl Bernard-Smith and Chip Smith P’24 in 2018 as part of the This is Our Moment Campaign. The funds from this endowment support the student run organization that administers grants annually using the interest generated by the endowment. Each year, students choose a topic, research the topic, solicit requests for proposals and evaluate applicants before ultimately selecting an organization that best fits that year’s criteria. Students also learn about the composition of non-profits and their revenue streams as part of the program. 

“Chip and I strongly believe in the value of connecting with our local and broader communities and giving back in whatever ways we can. We were excited to support the Philanthropic Literacy Board to not only help cultivate the leadership capacity of the students at RPCS, but also to encourage opportunities for learning at an early age how thoughtful decision making can truly change our world for the better.” – Cheryl Bernard Smith, P’24