Impact Stories

We Are All Connected: Annette March-Grier

February 25, 2021

Black History Maker: Annette March-Grier, President and Co-Founder, Roberta’s House

In honor of Black History Month, Judi’s House is recognizing Annette March-Grier, a leader in the childhood bereavement field who makes history every day. Growing up in her family’s funeral home, Annette watched as members of the community came to her home to grieve losses and celebrate lives. The March Funeral Home grew from humble beginnings in 1957 to one of the largest African American family owned and operated funeral services in the country today.

Raised to value community and compassion, Annette sought a career as a Registered Nurse and graduated from the University of Delaware in 1982. After nearly a decade in nursing, she returned to the family business while she studied to become a licensed mortician. Annette played an active role in the funeral home’s bereavement programming and recognized the enormous need for family-based grief services in the city she loved.

In 2007, Annette co-founded Roberta’s House in Baltimore. Named in honor of Annette’s late mother, Julia Roberta March, the organization offers free programming for the entire community including peer support groups, counseling, and specialized workshops. Staff and volunteers provide a variety of programs such as Rays of Hope, a program designed for children and families grieving a homicide death loss—a prevalent experience in a city with one of the highest murder rates in the US. With a focus on restoring families to a place of wholeness through coping and positive outcomes, Roberta’s House serves more than 4,000 individuals annually. In January 2021, the organization completed construction on their new 22,000 square foot facility in South Baltimore that stands at the location of the original March Funeral Home.  

A 2014 CNN Hero, this past summer Annette spoke and wrote openly about the explosion of grief brought to the surface by the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 in communities of color and the death of George Floyd. Using her influence and her reputation as a community leader, advocate, and problem solver, Annette is promoting change by taking concrete steps towards actions that can begin to dismantle centuries of pain and oppression.

“Acknowledgment is the first step in reconciling with the loss, and our country is on the right path. We are turning this tragedy and communal grief into something potentially quite productive — and I remain optimistic.”

At Judi’s House we admire and respect the tremendous contributions Annette makes to improve the lives of bereaved children and families and we aspire to learn from the lessons she teaches through her dedication and commitment.

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