Barbara Aylesworth joined the staff of Healthy Neighborhoods, Inc. (HNI) as the Senior Program Officer in June 2007. HNI is an intermediary that was organized by philanthropic and financial institutions to improve Baltimore’s strong, but undervalued neighborhoods by facilitating investment and resident-led community building activities. HNI operates a $60 million loan fund and provides support for organizing and marketing to 13 community based organizations working in 40 Baltimore neighborhoods.
Aylesworth played a key role developing a selection process to expand Healthy Neighborhoods with the inclusion of new neighborhoods and organizations in 2007. She provides training and program development assistance to HNI’s neighborhood partner organizations. She oversees a $250,000 annual budget for neighborhood capital improvements as well as a small grants program for block improvement and community-building projects.
Prior to coming to Healthy Neighborhoods, Aylesworth was the executive director of Belair-Edison Neighborhoods, Inc. (BENI), a community based nonprofit organization in northeast Baltimore. She led the organization and neighborhood through a strategic planning process that resulted in the adoption of the asset-building Healthy Neighborhoods model of community revitalization. At the same time, Belair-Edison’s commercial corridor was awarded a Baltimore Main Street designation. These were important factors in reversing decline, strengthening resident morale and improving home values.
Concerned that the high incidence of foreclosure was thwarting revitalization efforts, in 2004, Aylesworth convened a group of public officials, funders, legal advocates, and nonprofit developers to seek remedies for the foreclosure problem. The formation of the Baltimore Homeownership Preservation Coalition followed and Aylesworth went on to pilot a neighborhood model for foreclosure prevention.
Aylesworth has worked as a homeownership counselor and is currently the treasurer the Neighborhood Design Center. She is a 2005 Weinberg Fellow.