In the late spring of 2015, shortly after the unrest following the death of Freddie Gray in police custody, EHC was approached by Roberta’s House Inc., a community-based bereavement and grief counseling center associated with the March Funeral Homes organization. Annette March-Grier, executive director of Roberta’s House wanted EHC to explore the feasibility of constructing a facility that could serve as a beacon of hope and place of recovery for the children and families of victims of Baltimore’s extraordinarily high crime rate.
This ambitious $15M project will be located in the 900 block of East North Avenue across from Greenmount Cemetery the site of the first March Funeral Home. Since its founding in a now demolished rowhouse in that block in 1957, the March Funeral Home organization has grown to be one of the largest African-American owned funeral home businesses in the US with locations throughout the region. In fact, the name, Roberta’s House, honors the memory of Julia Roberta March, who, with her husband William C. March co-founded the March Funeral Home organization. Since its inception, March Funeral Homes have provided compassionate, dignified, affordable services to low income families but they have always been more than just a funeral home. Being a vital part of the community and offering extensive support for grieving families has been a standard of the March Funeral Homes organization and Roberta’s House is a natural outgrowth of that work.
This new community center will be approximately 18,000 square feet and will offer a wide range of programming for children aged 5-17 and their families. Programming will include interventions that encourage emotional expression and promote healthy emotional healing. The three story complex will provide a variety of spaces for therapy, reflection, meeting and diversion. It will also include a ninety seat theater and a roof garden. With a full-time staff of ten and and an active volunteer base of over one hundred, the center will be well placed to provide grief counseling and other services to the community. Fundraising is currently underway is expected to carry through until the end of 2018. We hope to begin building shortly thereafter and be serving the community by sometime in 2020.