Ballet After Dark wins $25,000 prize from Johns Hopkins Social Innovation Lab


An organization aiming to help survivors of sexual and other violence won the five-figure top prize at an event on Tuesday celebrating the Johns Hopkins University Social Innovation Lab(SIL) latest cohort.

The event, which took place at the private university’s medical system campus in East Baltimore, also marked the graduation of the accelerator’s ten impact-focused companies. Ballet after darkfounded by Tyde – Courtney Edwards, won the top prize of $25,000. The organization aims to provide free, trauma-informed, and holistic resources to those who have survived sexual trauma and various levels of violence in the city of Baltimore. Inspired by a dance-therapy model, Ballet After Dark specifically seeks to uplift black youth and women.

Edwards said on Wednesday Technically that the price “means that the opportunity to have a greater impact is more possible.

“Personally, this award allows me, my work, and survivors in our community to feel seen and heard,” she continued. “We are finally becoming a space where private conversations about healing and the needs of our survivors are elevated on public platforms.”

To that end, Edwards said she would use the award funds to strengthen the organization’s staff and operational capacity. Ballet After Dark will also complete a content platform prototype, called BAD Studios, which he intends to launch in June or July this year. The content will be created in collaboration with Root Branch Media Groupa Baltimore-based communications company.

Edwards also noted that she was determined to ensure that “survivors of trauma and abuse do not go through the same lonely journey to healing that I went through.” She praised SIL and its director, Madison Marksfor providing Ballet After Dark with a support structure to better “reimagine the accessibility” of the organization’s resources.

This video of Procter & GambleThe “Queen Collective” series details Edwards’ story and the reasons for creating Ballet After Dark:

Take second place and $15,000 was The Confusing Mess Project. The society acts as a resource and advocacy center for the developmental needs of children with autism, connecting them to a network of peer advocates, licensed professionals, art therapy and alternative medicine services. GRASS Baltimore, a zero-waste cooperative that maximizes the value of glass by turning it into art and reselling bottles to local breweries, won third place and $5,000. An additional $2,500 People’s Choice Award, which members of the public voted on after all companies made presentations, went to Tam Palwho developed a smart machine to easily dispense tampons and pads.

All participating companies in the 11th Accelerator Cohort received $1,000, as well as the opportunity to access a repayable grant of up to $5,000 through the Johns Hopkins I-Corps Site Grant program.

Watch a video of the locations and the event here.


Donte Kirby is a 2020-2022 corps member of Report for America, an initiative of The Groundtruth Project that pairs young journalists with local newsrooms. This position is supported by the Robert W. Deutsch Foundation. -30-
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