The Abell Foundation is a left-of-center private grantmaking organization operating in the state of Maryland with a focus on the city of Baltimore. The Foundation focuses on “concentrated poverty” distributing grants on issues ranging from education to environmentalism.
Its president, Robert C. Embry, Jr., is a former liberal elected official who has served liberal administrations at the Baltimore local and national levels. 
The Abell Foundation was founded on December 31, 1953 by Harry C. Black.  Black served as the Chairman of the A.S. Abell Company, the former publisher of the Baltimore Sun.  Today, the Abell Foundation has grown to become the largest private foundation focused on Maryland. 
The Abell Foundation aims to solve issues of “concentrated poverty” by focusing on social, economic, and environmental problems.  Since 1953, the Foundation has distributed more than $339 million in grants to nonprofits and vulnerable business start-ups. 
In 2018, the Foundation approved $13,102,817 in grants, with amounts ranging from $500 to $500,000.  Most of the grant funding in 2018 went to community development projects (23.7%), workforce development (19.7%), and education (19.7%). 
The Foundation gave its largest community development grant in 2018 to Emerging Technology Centers, Inc ($275,000) to provide instruction, workshops, mentorship, investor networking, and free office space to emerging entrepreneurs.  The Foundation targeted smaller grants at poverty reduction, giving to food banks, urban farming initiatives, and fuel for low-income households. 
The Foundation gave its largest 2018 grant in the education sector, offering $500,000 to Baltimore’s Promise to provide occupational training and employment for 500 Baltimore City Schools graduates who did not go to college.  In workforce development, the Foundation provided its largest grant to the Center for Urban Families in the amount of $350,000 to support job training and placement.  The Foundation gave further grants to organizations which advocate for left-of-center labor policies, like doubling the minimum wage. 
The Abell Foundation has also given significant grants to left-of-center organizations in criminal justice reform and environmental policy. In 2019 alone, the Foundation gave $100,000 to the ACLU Foundation of Maryland, $50,000 to the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, and $20,000 to the Justice Policy Institute.  The Foundation is also involved in funding many left-wing environmentalist organizations, including giving $15,000 to the Environmental Defense Fund, $50,000 to the Environmental Integrity Project, and $60,000 to the Chesapeake Climate Action Network (CCAN). 
People and Funding
Most of the Abell Foundation’s funding came from the 1986 sale of the Abell Company.  Current president Robert C. Embry, Jr. attended Harvard Law School before getting involved in Maryland local politics.  Embry served as a city councilman and as the head of the Baltimore Department of Housing and Community Development, before working in urban development for President Jimmy Carter’s administration.  He has been president of the Abell Foundation since the sale of the Abell Company in 1987.