Building Empathy, Transforming Campus-Community Partnerships

About the Partnership

Transform Mid-Atlantic is proud to partner with The Facing Project in an effort to bring critical listening and purposeful storytelling to the forefront of community-engagement across the region. The sharing stories of self has long been part of TMA’s programs and initiatives, as our own personal stories of transformation and experience can demonstrate the impact of service and civic and community engagement. 

The Facing Project seeks to create “a more understanding and empathetic world through stories that inspire action.” Its projects, which have been created in dozens of communities throughout the United States and world, seek to “face” the complex and critical problems – from racial inequity to gun violence – in an environment in which multiple perspectives can be shared and heard. Transform Mid-Atlantic is teaming up with The Facing Project to co-sponsor campus-community based projects in Maryland, DC, and Delaware focused on topics at the heart of the TMA mission. 

2024-2025 Project Proposal Submission Process & Information

The Facing Project and Transform Mid-Atlantic are calling on TMA member institutions in the Maryland, DC, Delaware, Eastern West Virginia, and Northern Virginia region to submit applications to host projects during the 2024-2025. Proposal submissions are currently open and due by Friday, April 26, 2024. Click below to access the proposal submission form. Scroll down to view a recording of an information session about the 2024-2025 program and proposal process.

To apply, representatives from TMA member institutions must submit the following information via the application form:

  • Full name, institution, position title, and full contact information of applicant
  • Brief outline of how applicant's institution / office / department will fund the $1,500 program fee (a 70% reduction in the normal program fee provided by The Facing Project & Transform Mid-Atlantic)
  • Project proposal (750 words) that outlines project description, focus area, narrative of intended outcomes & impact, internal & external partners that will be engaged, and project timeline

Current & Completed Projects

Since 2022-2023, the inaugural year of the partnership, three TMA member institutions were selected to develop projects in their communities. Read below for more information about the projects and updates about their work.

The Facing Project Logo White

Agrihood Baltimore: Community Collaboration and Cleaner, Greener Foods

Morgan State University in Baltimore, Maryland was selected to participate in the first year of TMA's partnership with The Facing Project. Dr. Harold Morales and Santana Alvarado of Morgan State's Center for Religion and Cities created the project at Morgan State, with Santana serving as editor of the book which was released in November 2023 at the Plantation Park Heights Urban Farm.

AgriHood Baltimore: Community Collaboration and Cleaner, Greener Foods includes the first-person stories of seventeen junior farmers, volunteers, elders, and leaders revolutionizing urban farming in Baltimore City. These intergenerational voices explore how Plantation Park Heights Urban Farm has transformed their lives by restoring their community’s access to healthy, affordable food and establishing safe “third places” where they grow together.

Each story provides a glimpse into how this farm is changing the narrative of its City from one of despair to hope. Topics explored in this compilation include food apartheid and food sovereignty, emotional/mental health, racial justice, community connections, immigration, and growing the next generation of urban farmers.

We encourage you to buy the book from a local, independent book store in your community, like Red Emma's in Baltimore (click here to buy the book)! 

Click here to learn more and listen to a podcast episode from The Facing Project about the project!

“The Princess Anne Town-Gown Divide: Expectations & Experiences”

From the proposal: “Over the hundred-plus years UMES has been in Princess Anne, [the institution and community have] experienced strained town-gown relations which we are currently working toward healing.” The project will focus on collecting and sharing stories of first-generation college students at UMES, “particularly through the lens of Princess Anne’s perceptions of the HBCU in its midst.” Ultimately, the project will “strengthen the connection between the UMES campus and the surrounding community…[and] engage and empower the community as storytellers within the tradition of oral history.” 

The UMES project has already completed the storytelling and writing phase! Stories collected during the 2023-2024 academic year are currently being edited by The Facing Project staff. The launch party will be occurring in Princess Anne at some point in April-May 2024! Check back for more details and links to the final project, and subscribe to the TMA eNewsletter to get updated information about events around the project's launch!

Facing (In)Justice in Health: Johns Hopkins University SOURCE Center

From the proposal: "Due to the COVID outbreak, justice programming has been disrupted, modified, and abbreviated to virtual offerings. This critical pause offers SOURCE an opportunity to pivot towards CBO partners more intentionally for direction and leadership to uncover meaningful local narratives and develop Baltimore-grounded messages as the core building blocks for future justice-oriented events and training. There is no better strategy in community engagement than to ask partners simply and honestly: what is it that health professionals need to know to be successful in social justice action? Exploring this central theme and committing to The Facing Project infrastructure emphasizing storytelling and deep listening aligns clearly with the Practicing Justice mindful based approach to program design. The Facing (In)Justice in Health collaborative will prioritize authentic relationship building, critical reflection, and shared decision-making throughout the project progression."

Story writers and storytellers are currently being recruited and trained. The project currently aims to launch its book in Fall 2024. Check back over the summer for more details!

Project Proposals and Benefits

Through a competitive application process each spring, member campuses and their community partners can submit project proposals to host and facilitate a project in their community generally focused on one of two topics: Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI) or Global Citizenship. Due to the TMA and The Facing Project partnership, project packages are offered to TMA member institutions at a significantly reduced rate. Selected projects will receive the following resources from The Facing Project: 

  • The Facing Project Toolkit. 
  • Toolkit training for the lead project organizer (including some coaching/consulting throughout the project). 
  • Writer’s training. 
  • Editing of all stories (copy and content).  
  • Book layout, cover design, and publishing. 
  • Two-hundred copies of the book available at cost (approximately $5.00 per book or $1,000 – not included in the Affiliate fee). 
  • Project promoted on The Facing Project website, across social media channels, and on the NPR show. 

Information about the 2024-2025 Project Proposal Application process and information sessions will be released by February/March 2024. Project proposals will be due by mid-April 2024.  

About The Facing Project

The Facing Project was founded in 2012 by J.R. Jamison and Kelsey Timmerman. J.R. is the former Executive Director of the Community-Engaged Alliance, formerly Indiana Campus Compact. The Facing Project is a national nonprofit that creates a more understanding and empathetic world through stories that inspire action. We bring people and communities together through acts of empathy that include listening, storytelling, and connecting across differences with the belief that stories are the most powerful tool for change.