Wisdom Projects prevents neighborhood violence. We empower Black residents of housing projects in East Baltimore to become trained peacemakers. We embed ourselves daily within communities. Our six peacemaking programs help constituents practice the wisdom (knowledge, experience, and decision-making) of nonviolence through restorative justice. Gaining trust and working immersively around the clock with them helps our constituents share why violence occurs. We use this information to build trauma-informed educational and treatment plans involving conflict management, resolution, and/or transformation; de-escalation and mindfulness; peer support; peer counseling; mediation; disarmament; and social-and-emotional learning. We enroll interlocking family groups of diverse genders and ages, and help them cultivate healing. We publish thought leadership in a magazine and a podcast about educational reform, peace, and equality. Our longterm, holistic, culturally-specific, family-centered investment has high impact. No one in our current project has endured homicides, and we are creating enduring cultures of peacemaking.
Headquartered in Baltimore City, Maryland, Wisdom Projects (officially, Wisdom Projects, Inc.) is an over 13-year-old secular 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization committed to building peace and ending inequality through gender-inclusive, intergenerational, trauma-informed, holistic community education and community healing.
We work in partnership with community centers, recreation centers, and schools within under-resourced urban neighborhoods to prevent, reduce, and eliminate incidents of violence and uplift liberation for marginalized people.
Our mission is to reimagine education and reimagine the world by enhancing the lives of youth, adults, and families with peacemaking, holistic education, restorative justice, and liberating thought leadership.
Wisdom Projects has two divisions: the Chicago Wisdom Project (founded in 2010 and focused on thought leadership) and the Baltimore Wisdom Project (founded in 2013 and focused on direct community organizing). Wisdom Projects is the result of the 2019 merger of both divisions into one nonprofit organization.
Contact us if you are interested in joining our Reimagining Education Collective.
Four things make our holistic community education and healing work for peace and equality stand out:
Miss tree turtle (she/her)
(Also known as Cleis Abeni)
Director (CEO) & Co-Founder
Baltimore Wisdom Project
Note: "tree turtle" is always spelled lowercase even at the beginning of a sentence. Miss turtle's legal name is tree turtle (for more about her name, click here.)
Dr. Theodore Richards (he/him)
Director (CEO) and Founder
Chicago Wisdom Project
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Note: Wisdom Projects' Bylaws mandate that the Board presidency and vice presidency alternate (or switch back and forth) between the Co-Directors every two years.
Click here to learn more about our staff.
Click here for our BY-LAWS.
If you have cause for review, feel free to contact us using the form below on this web page for recent financials, independent audit, and EIN. Our fiscal year runs from September 1 through August 31. Each year, we complete an independent audit as well as a Form 990. We are registered with the states of Maryland and Illinois.
Click here for our Nondiscrimination Policy, Code of Conduct, Child Safety Policy, HIPAA/ FERPA Policy, and other organizational policies as well as our Human Resources Handbook.
Wisdom Projects has two divisions in two cities, which we call "projects."
About the Baltimore Wisdom Project
Led by Miss tree turtle (also known as Cleis Abeni), our Co-Director, the Baltimore Wisdom Project empowers enrolled youth, adults, and families to become neighborhood peace leaders in East Baltimore. We do this by creating spaces and places where youth, families, and organizations may embrace healing arts like trauma informed care, disability-awareness, restorative justice, conflict transformation, de-escalation, mindfulness (meditation, mindful movement, and mindful music), and social and emotional learning. For youth, we integrate these healing arts into daily out-of-school-time lessons (as well as school-time consultations) emphasizing STEM (life sciences, environmental justice, and engineering); justice studies; cultural studies; civic studies; and support groups. Nature and wilderness studies are a vital part of our curriculum. For adults, we offer peer counseling, support groups, peacemaking training, and wrap-around services to support community members as they contend with both interpersonal and systemic problems that impede peace, health, and wellness. We have also offered in-school restorative justice and mindfulness programs at institutions like Towson High School, Franklin Square School, and the Friends School of Baltimore. The Baltimore Wisdom Project previously worked in partnership with community centers like the former Penn North Kids Safe Zone/Harambee Center in the West Baltimore neighborhood of Sandtown-Winchester and the 29th Street Community Center in the Greenmount East neighborhood of East Baltimore City. We continue to offer these services in daily, deep partnership with the McKim Center in East Baltimore City.
About the Chicago Wisdom Project
Led by Dr. Theodore Richards, the Chicago Wisdom Project currently focuses on holistic and anti-oppressive thought leadership by offering powerful insights about education, justice, and healing to international audiences. Curated and edited by Dr. Richards, our Co-Director, Wisdom Projects' interactive multimedia publications—Reimagining Magazine, the Reimagining Podcast, and the Reimagining Education Collective—showcase monthly articles, writing, imagery, conversations, and debates. Wisdom Projects, Inc. is grounded in the Wisdom Education movement. To learn more about this movement, please obtain and read Dr. Richards' books entitled Creatively Maladjusted: The Wisdom Education Movement Manifesto (Homebound Publications, 2013), and Reimagining the Classroom. The Chicago Wisdom Project previously held its own direct community organizing for peace and trained practitioners in a unique course for holistic educators. Dr. Richards teaches all over the world, including at the American University of Paris, Becker College, and the University of Illinois at Chicago.
While working in the field embedded in communities, we also offer consultations and trainings for schools and workplaces to help ensure that professionals work through conflicts, de-escalate, and manage relationships well. We do this by sharing holistic learning tools for culturally responsive and culturally sensitive conflict management, restorative justice, de-escalation, and mindfulness specifically geared to achieving workplace justice, equity, and inclusion.
We are a regional leader for holistic neighborhood violence prevention.
By focusing on families in an intergenerational and multi-gender fashion, we are able to integrate a variety of peacemaking approaches as we organize low-income Black and Brown communities for nonviolence and justice. These approaches include restorative justice; conflict management; de-escalation through mindfulness; trauma informed care; peer support; and social and emotional learning.
Miss tree turtle, our Co-Director, defines holistic learning in the following manner:
"Holistic learning transforms the whole person and the whole community: physical, mental, and spiritual. 'Spiritual' refers to ethical values advancing a higher good. (Reminder: Wisdom Projects is a secular, nonpartisan nonprofit organization.)"
Miss turtle goes on to say the following,
"Holistic learning also refers to values and practices that do no harm by advancing humanist, humanitarian, peaceful, healthy living within us (in our bodies and minds), between us (in our social and emotional relationships), for us (meaning, all of us equitably and inclusively, and not just a few), and for our environments and the natural world."
She adds that,
"Holistic learning views community members as the best assets in their own uplift. Thus, our holistic approach is deeply asset-driven and salutogenic. In other words, we do not view community members or communities as broken, deficit, or pathogenic. They are, by turns, fortunate and challenged by some of the same patterns of inequity and violence that plague much of American society."
She also says the following:
"A key component of our holistic learning is contemplative practice. This practice realizes a full life dedicated to calm, focus, awareness, self-care, and community-care in the present moment at all times. This practice is the genesis of peacemaking."
We are deeply grateful to our present and past individual and organizational supporters and funders, including the NoVo Foundation, William Jordan, Gunpowder Friends, the Miles White Beneficial Society, Youth As Resources, the Baltimore Development Corporation, Education First, and the Chesapeake Bay Trust.
Our work has high impact. We prevent and eliminate incidents of violence for the youth and families enrolled in our programs. We decisively uplift the organizations with whom we partner.
Your donations changes lives for peace, equality, and wellness.
We are a regional leader in the Middle Atlantic United States for peace, violence prevention, equality, holistic education, and community healing.
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Copyright © 2023 Wisdom Projects, Inc.
All images drawn from programming used with permission of the subjects | Stock photos drawn from free databases or used with license.