What Can Baltimore Businesses and Anchor Institutions Do To Promote Greater Economic Opportunity and Inclusion?


For a business or anchor institution interested in becoming more engaged in economic inclusion efforts, a good place to start is to become familiar with existing initiatives. Information about these activities provides insights about economic inclusion practices that have worked for others, and can help businesses and other employers to identify potential partners for future economic inclusion efforts. This section (below is chapter 3 of Collectively We Rise: The Business Case for Economic Inclusion in Baltimore) highlights Baltimore-area businesses and institutions of varying sizes and types. Some of the economic inclusion activities by those entities have begun recently; others have been underway for a decade or more. The profiles also identify a variety of contexts in which the businesses have carried out their economic inclusion efforts—as a single organization, as a collaboration between a business and a nonprofit entity or involving several businesses or anchor institutions, and as part of a much broader partnership or consortium. The range of examples demonstrates that, regardless of the nature of a business or an anchor institution, or the resources available to it, successful economic inclusion efforts are possible.

Full Report and Appendices

Profiles of Economic Inclusion Efforts by Small and Medium-Sized Baltimore Businesses

SewLab USA

SewLab is a small, soft goods manufacturer based in Baltimore. SewLab’s owners seek to promote economic inclusion in a number of ways, including the use of local suppliers and collaborative efforts with other small Baltimore manufacturers whenever possible. This is part of SewLab’s strategy to grow Baltimore’s micro-business sector and to attract additional suppliers and complementary businesses to the city. The owners also emphasize the hiring, training, and career advancement of workers from Baltimore, particularly lower-income residents and people of color. The owners treat the company as a business incubator, providing opportunities for SewLab’s employees to develop their own product lines and spin-off companies. SewLab’s owners are also piloting a larger training program in soft goods manufacturing, in partnership with two nonprofits (Seedco and Open Works) and the City of Baltimore’s Made in Baltimore initiative. The owners are also pursuing efforts to expand the incubator space available to soft goods manufacturing start-up businesses.


SAA | EVI is a private equity firm and developer, headquartered in Baltimore, that seeks not only to meet but to exceed the MBE/WBE participation requirements established by funders for development projects. In addition, responding to the fact that relatively few of the existing developers in the Baltimore area are persons of color, SAA | EVI’s owner created an apprenticeship program for minority developers. The firm’s owner is also collaborating with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Community Innovators Lab to create a framework for assessing developers that highlights a developer’s transparency and responsiveness to the communities in which its projects are located. SAA | EVI’s head is also looking at developing models of community revitalization and gentrification that avoid displacement of existing residents.

2 AM Bakery

This Baltimore bakery, which specializes in fine pastries, was established in 2009 by two partners, one of whom was formerly incarcerated. Understanding the difficulties that individuals released from incarceration face in finding steady jobs, the bakery’s owners have sought to create training and employment opportunities for other formerly incarcerated individuals through their business. In addition to hiring individuals released from incarceration, with funding from the Open Society Institute-Baltimore, the bakery has operated a training program to teach formerly incarcerated individuals to bake and hone their entrepreneurial skills. Begun in 2015, the training program has provided marketable skills and work experience for dozens of individuals released from incarceration.

Citywide Youth Development – Made In Bmore Clothing

Citywide Youth Development, a West Baltimore-based organization encourages entrepreneurship education, provides vocational skills training, and supports enterprise development and job placement. The organization serves out-of school youth ages 14 to 26 and helps them obtain skills in apparel and sorbet manufacturing. Programming linked to Made in BMore Clothing offers training in industrial apparel production embellishment techniques, as well as internship opportunities at Under Armour. Job placement opportunities are available at 22 companies identified as potential employers. Products are sold online, at various retail facilities aligned with the Baltimore City’s Made in Baltimore initiative, and in the organization’s Made in BMore store in Towson. Through Frozen Desert Sorbet, students are trained in customer service, marketing, budgeting, and entrepreneurship skills, and they sell products at universities, festivals, city pools, and downtown between May and October. In 2018, Citywide Youth Development formed a partnership with the Baltimore Orioles to sell sorbet at Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

Profiles of Economic Inclusion Efforts by Larger Businesses and Anchor Institutions

Baltimore Gas and Electric (BGE)

In 2009, this utility executed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Maryland Public Services Commission, under which BGE pledged to take proactive steps to increase its use of “diverse suppliers” (i.e., MBEs. WBEs, and service-disabled veteran-owned businesses). To pursue this objective, BGE created its Focus 25 initiative, which aimed by 2020 to increase the utility’s spending on diverse suppliers to 25% of its total spending for procured goods and services. As part of this initiative, BGE partnered with the Maryland-Washington Minority Contractors Association to help find firms with which the utility would work. The criteria for selecting the diverse firms for the Focus 25 effort included the firms’ past track record of community involvement. The selected firms were trained on how to do business with BGE and other large companies. The firms also were provided with mentoring and networking assistance. As of November 2017, BGE had completed three rounds of trainings involving 29 businesses from the region; 23 of those firms have provided goods and services to BGE. Through its proactive efforts, BGE increased its spending with diverse firms from 10% in 2009, to over 26% in 2016, and is continuing its efforts under the re-titled Focus Forward initiative (re-named because the 25% spending objective had already been accomplished). BGE is also a co-founder and active member of the BLocal initiative, which is described later.

Bon Secours Baltimore Health System and Community Works Division

Bon Secours Baltimore Health System serves the residents of West Baltimore with an array of services contributing to the social and economic viability of the community. Services include a 72-bed acute care hospital (which was first established in West Baltimore in 1919), over 725 affordable housing units in six senior and two family housing centers, and a range of programming for residents through Bon Secours’ Community Works division which serves almost 1,100 residents per year. Community Works’ activities include, among other programming, youth employment and entrepreneurship services, career and workforce development services, and financial coaching and education. Bon Secours has recently expanded its workforce development programs to include nursing training and has hired residents who are graduates.

Two year ago, Bon Secours also established a new initiative focused on formerly incarcerated individuals, because
approximately 30% of the re-entry population in Baltimore is returning to the area. The initiative begins working with individuals while they are still in prison and then offers a range of services in the community, including job training and placement, housing, and family reconciliation.

MICA’s Efforts in the Station North District

Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) has over the last decade helped anchor the rebirth of the North Avenue Corridor and the Station North Arts and Entertainment District through community development strategies, capital investment, and local purchasing. MICA has pursued adaptive reuse and new construction along North Avenue through projects such as the Lazarus Center, the Gateway, and the Founders Green. Through investment support, academic programming, and lease commitments, MICA has helped make possible other catalytic reinvestment projects such as the Parkway Theater and Centre Theater. Local food purchasing has also been a central focus of MICA’s economic inclusion work. Over the last four years, the college and its food service provider Parkhurst have helped numerous local and minority-owned food businesses grow. Social enterprises such as City Seeds (see description below), and businesses such as Woot Granola, Station North Arts Café, Cuples Tea, and Perfections by Allan, and many others, have benefited from food service contracts related to MICA. MICA’s Baltimore-sourced institutional annual food spend has grown from $62,000 to $141,000 since 2014.

This past year, MICA launched the Baltimore Creatives Acceleration Network providing strategic and as-needed, just-in-time entrepreneurship support for Baltimore creatives of all disciplines and backgrounds. The program is working to create a stronger, more equitable creative ecosystem and economy in Baltimore by empowering artists as entrepreneurs.

Notre Dame of Maryland University

Notre Dame of Maryland University, a private, Catholic university, has used economic inclusion strategies in hiring, procurement, and community engagement over the past several years. The institution has reviewed and revised procurement processes and coded its procurement data systems to measure spending with local and minority-owned firms, enabling the university to set and track new inclusion goals for spending. Economic inclusion goals have also been applied to a recent renovation project where the university achieved 19% and 21% on local and W/MBE spending, respectively.

Profiles of Economic Inclusion Activities Conducted by Larger Partnerships

The Baltimore Integration Partnership

The Baltimore Integration Partnership (BIP) is a collaborative partnership of anchor institutions, funders, community based nonprofit organizations, and public agencies. They came together in 2010 to compete for national funding from Living Cities to undertake activities to expand, strengthen, and sustain the economic inclusion work unfolding in Baltimore and, through those efforts, to establish economic inclusion as an essential part of doing business in the Baltimore region.

In its first phase from 2011 through 2014, BIP’s board included representatives of local, regional, and state agencies; higher education anchor institutions; philanthropies; community-based nonprofit organizations; and a community development financial institution (CDFI). BIP worked to reconnect low-income Baltimore City residents who are primarily African-American to the regional economy, maximize the linkage between physical and human capital development, and fuel reinvestment in inner-core neighborhoods. BIP’s key strategies were:

      1. • Connecting low-income neighborhood residents to family supporting employment;
      1. • Making economic inclusion “business as usual” in Baltimore;
      1. • Attracting and deploying capital for building communities and expanding opportunity; and
      1. • Aligning and accelerating efforts to achieve scale and durable change.

The outcomes achieved through BIP partners’ leadership and actions during BIP’s first phase include:

• Specific project-level outcomes: provision of seed and/or gap financing to 15 development projects resulting in more than $155 million in investment in housing, retail, and education facility projects; BIP’s workforce training fund supported 504 training slots; through the various development projects, training activities, and anchor initiatives, creation of 837 jobs filled by local residents.

• Completed systems/policy work: achievement of increased CDFI presence in Baltimore; Employ Baltimore and State of Maryland local hiring Executive Orders; creation of a Maryland Department of Transportation $1 million workforce training fund; Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development establishment of new Sustainable Communities grant requirements; creation of economic inclusion policies by Johns Hopkins and MICA; and passage and signing of state EARN legislation which generated $4.5 million in workforce training funding.

BIP’s second phase started in 2014 and is ongoing. BIP 2.0 concentrates on leveraging the resources of Baltimore’s anchor institutions, both healthcare and higher education institutions. These anchor institutions represent the strongest potential for advancing economic inclusion at a wide scale and positive economic growth for residents and small business owners.

The BIP 2.0 board currently includes 14 anchor institutions (9 higher education institutions and 5 healthcare institutions), as well as representatives of the public, philanthropic, and nonprofit sectors. It is believed to be the largest strategy of hospitals and higher education institutions in the U.S. working collaboratively on economic inclusion. Staff housed at ABAG continue to coordinate and help to mobilize resources for the BIP activities by the anchor partners. The overall goal of BIP 2.0 is to connect low-income Baltimore City residents to economic opportunity through:

    • • Increasing anchor institution purchasing from local, small, and MBE/WBE firms;
      • Ensuring equitable opportunity in connecting low-income residents to jobs in the anchors and anchor-supporting businesses; and
      • Making intentional local investments in real estate and small businesses to generate broader community benefit

Through early 2018, 13 anchor institutions were engaged in workforce development or local hiring initiatives, 13 were pursuing purchasing initiatives, and six were involved in linking economic inclusion to capital and/or broader community development initiatives. As of June 2018, 12 anchor institutions (including two Hopkins institutions) had set new or expanded economic inclusion goals and two other institutions retain state mandated goals. Of the new or expanded goals, eight institutions have set them for hiring, eight are focused on purchasing, and six are focused on capital or community development investment. In addition, through collaborative work, grant and investment support, and partner leadership, the partners have helped advance six new business development programs; a workforce training program; a social enterprise; a development fund with inclusion goals; implicit bias and structural racism training; four catalytic development projects; and have worked to expand economic inclusion in Baltimore.

Appendix 1, available at www.baltimorepartnership.org, provides an overview of the economic inclusion efforts of each of the anchor institutions participating in the BIP.

Johns Hopkins Institutions: Committing to Economic Inclusion

The Johns Hopkins institutions—including Johns Hopkins University and Johns Hopkins Health System—serve as a major economic engine for the city of Baltimore. Johns Hopkins is the largest private employer in Baltimore, with over 34,000 regular employees in the city and a major purchaser of goods and services.

The HopkinsLocal initiative is one of several initiatives that seek to promote economic growth and employment opportunities in the city. Launched in mid-2015, the initiative represents a firm commitment to increase design and construction contracts going to local minority- and women owned businesses, expand the number of new hires from struggling city neighborhoods, and to purchase more goods and services from city-based vendors. The initiative also meshes with Johns Hopkins’ efforts to support diversity in its workforce and among business partners. Launching the initiative in September 2015, Johns Hopkins leadership indicated the need for such an initiative had become even more urgent considering recent events in the city:

“Last spring [in 2015], the unrest in Baltimore shed light on the racial and economic disparities that challenge our city and our nation,” wrote Ronald J. Daniels, president of Johns Hopkins University, and Ronald R. Peterson, president of Johns Hopkins Hospital and Health System, in a message sent to faculty, students, and staff. “Since then, Johns Hopkins University and the Johns Hopkins Health System have joined with community, political, and faith leaders to renew and reaffirm our commitment to supporting our city and our fellow citizens. We are redoubling our longstanding efforts, knowing that the health and well-being of Johns Hopkins are inextricably tied to the physical, social, and economic well-being of Baltimore.”

The specific goals of HopkinsLocal include:

    • • By 2018, filling 40 percent of targeted positions from within the city’s most distressed communities.
      • By 2018, enlisting at least 24 suppliers from outside the area— that Johns Hopkins will hold accountable—to hire, procure, and invest in the city.
      • Over three years (2015-2018), increasing by at least $15 million the amount of goods and services the university and health system purchase from Baltimore-based businesses, including those owned by minorities and women.
      • By 2019, committing at least 19% of design, consulting, and construction contracts to minority, women, and disadvantaged businesses by applying new targets across all Johns Hopkins construction projects.

In 2017, Johns Hopkins issued a progress report on HopkinsLocal’s accomplishments during the first year of its activities and showed that the institutions had made important progress toward meeting and exceeding their goals.

Johns Hopkins launched BLocal, a complementary initiative to HopkinsLocal, in April 2016 in partnership with co-chair Calvin Butler, CEO of Baltimore Gas & Electric. BLocal is a collaborative effort of more than 25 Baltimore organizations—for-profit and nonprofit organizations and large and small businesses from a variety of business sectors—that have joined together to expand existing programs or establish new ones to build, hire, and invest locally. Collectively, the BLocal partners aim to invest an additional $69 million over three years into local and minority-owned, women-owned, and disadvantaged businesses. Each BLocal partner has made an explicit commitment to what it hopes to accomplish, and the partners have published their BLocal commitments on a shared website (at blocalbaltimore.org).

In December 2017, BLocal issued a progress report on its first year of operations, indicating that the initiative’s members had spent $86 million on contracts and procured goods and services with local, minority-owned, and women-owned businesses—exceeding its entire three-year goal. Four of the BLocal partners with hiring goals added 470 new employees who live in Baltimore City. BLocal partners also invested more than $12.2 million in programs and organizations serving the Baltimore community.

UMB and UMMC: Community Engagement and Economic Inclusion

The economic inclusions efforts of the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) and the University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC) are occurring within a broader community engagement effort by those institutions in West Baltimore, which includes some of the most economically and socially challenged neighborhoods in the city, with high unemployment and crime rates.

Such community engagement efforts have long been a priority of UMB and UMMC. However, the continuing distressed conditions in West Baltimore and the 2015 community unrest demonstrated more needed to be done. In response, the presidents of UMB and UMMC concluded that, by working together, their institutions could achieve increased impact in the West Baltimore community. With that goal in mind, the presidents directed their staff to collaborate on expanded efforts to improve conditions in West Baltimore.

The key elements of this new initiative were developed through a strategic planning process involving community residents and 53 leaders and staff from UMB, UMMC, and the University of Maryland Medical System (UMMS). Approved in September 2016, the UMB/UMMC Community Engagement Strategic Plan calls for staff, faculty, and students to collaborate with community partners to address critical social needs and build and support a healthy, empowered, socially cohesive, and revitalized West Baltimore community. The plan has four inter-related areas of focus:

    • • Education & Youth Development;
      • Community Connections; and
      • Economic and Community Development.
      • Community Health Improvement;

UMB and UMMC have established explicit targets for what the institutions hope to accomplish over a two-year period in collaboration with community partners. Relative to Economic and Community Development, for example, by the end of the second year of the initiative (in 2018) the institutions want to achieve:

    • • A 10% increase in new employees from West Baltimore in targeted positions;
      • A $125,000 increase in local catering spending; and
      • A $140,000 increase in revenues for local West Baltimore businesses through the institutions’ Merchant Access Program.

The West Baltimore employment goals are being achieved through working with community workforce readiness partners to recruit and train local residents for targeted positions, and designing and implementing wrap-around services in  partnership with community organizations for hard-to-employ individuals. The procurement goals are being pursued in part through a workgroup focused on purchasing as well as mentoring of local minority-owned business enterprises (MBEs) and women-owned business enterprises (WBEs).

Working with the Southwest Partnership, a community group, in January 2018, UMB invested $1.5 million in a revised Live Near Your Work program, increasing the amount of down-payment assistance grants for UMB employees from $2,500 to $16,000. When combined with other sources of funding, nearly 100 homebuyers can receive more than $18,500 to purchase a home in the seven Southwest Baltimore communities nearest the UMB campus.

The university and medical center have also established goals relative to MBE and WBE spending more broadly. For example, UMB has an MBE spend goal of 29%. The University of Maryland Medical System has a system-wide goal for FY 2017 to maintain at least a 25% MBE/WBE spend participation level relative to eligible expenses, and to strive to achieve an additional 1% increase.

UMMC has used the community engagement and MBE/ WBE utilization goals in developing its annual operating plan and reviews progress relative to those goals on a quarterly basis. It also ties employee performance assessments and compensation decisions to the achievement of those goals.

In purchasing, the institutions announced in November 2017 that in fiscal year 2017 UMB and UMMC had collectively spent $399,000 on catering from small businesses in five targeted West Baltimore zip codes. The combined spending amount was 319% of the $125,000 target.

The Greater Baltimore Committee (GBC)

GBC, a regional organization of business and civic leaders, has supported economic inclusion efforts dating back to 2002, when it commissioned a study examining MBEs and WBEs in the regional economy. The study concluded that MBEs and WBEs were substantially under-represented (see profile of this report on page 28). Since the 2004 study release, GBC has engaged in a series of activities to promote the establishment and growth of MBEs and WBEs. More recently, GBC has focused on connecting individuals released from incarceration to employment. GBC created a cross-sector task force to examine the employment barriers faced by individuals with criminal records and the impact on the regional economy. The task force’s 2017 report made a series of recommendations for changes in policies and practices, aimed at both the business community and public officials. The task force is now working to take steps to operationalize the recommendations of its 2017 report.

Baltimore Alliance for Careers in Healthcare

In the wake of the Baltimore uprising, and as an opportunity to meet anticipated labor needs for community-based healthcare treatment under the Affordable Care Act, nine Baltimore hospitals came together in 2015 to propose a new healthcare jobs training program. This program is targeted to under and un-employed individuals with high school diplomas or GEDs who live in high-poverty communities in Baltimore City and is designed to prepare individuals for high-demand positions. The program is being led by BACH and is funded by a temporary 2% increase on health care reimbursement rates, which is expected to generate approximately $6 million, and $3 million from the participating hospitals. Workforce partners include the Center for Urban Families, BUILD Turnaround Tuesday, Bon Secours Community Works, Penn North, and the Community College of Baltimore County. The program, in its second year, is expected place over 200 individuals in jobs with a strong potential for career advancement in the participating hospitals.

The Baltimore Metropolitan Council’s Opportunity Collaborative

The Baltimore Metropolitan Council (BMC) is a nonprofit organization that works with the region’s elected executives to identify mutual interests and develop collaborative strategies, plans, and programs that will help to improve the quality of life and economic vitality of the region. BMC’s Opportunity Collaborative was a public-private consortium that developed a Regional Plan for Sustainable Development (RPSD), which was released in mid-2015. The Plan connected traditionally separate regional planning efforts relative to housing, workforce development, and transportation, and outlined new strategies to reduce regional disparities. The analysis identified regional barriers keeping low-skilled adults from finding jobs and advancing into careers that pay a family-supporting wage. The Collaborative also outlined the elements of an educational and training pipeline to meet employers’ talent needs and to promote employment opportunities associated with middle-skill jobs in six key industry sectors.

Humanim’s Administrative Assistant Training Program

Humanim is a multi-faceted nonprofit organization offering more than 40 programs in the areas of human services, youth services, workforce development, and social enterprises. Humanim created the Administrative Assistant Training Program as a pilot in 2016, in partnership with 10 of the participating anchor institutions in the Baltimore Integration Partnership (BIP) and with funding from the City of Baltimore and BIP. The training program offers a free 13-week course for city residents and other job seekers to prepare them for jobs as administrative assistants. Human Resources representatives of the anchor institutions participate on a steering committee helping to design the curriculum and facilitate job shadowing and mock interviews. Participants are provided soft skills and professional development training, and graduates receive nationally recognized certifications. The program also provides participants with case management and job placement services. Three cohorts graduated from the pilot effort through November 2016, and in 2017 and 2018 the program has continued with funding from EARN Maryland (see description of EARN Maryland on page 61). Twelve of the BIP anchor institutions are now participating in the program, and the anchors have committed to consider graduates of the training program to fill administrative vacancies at their institutions. At the time that this report was being written, several of the anchor
institutions, including Notre Dame of Maryland University, Johns Hopkins University, Towson University, Morgan State University, and the University of Maryland, Baltimore, had hired graduates from the training program.

Kaiser Permanente’s and Bon Secours’ Future Baltimore Initiative

In July 2017, Kaiser Permanente, a national healthcare provider with three health facilities in the Baltimore area, announced a commitment of $1.8 million to launch a revitalization project in partnership with Bon Secours Baltimore Health System and several West Baltimore communities. Called Future Baltimore, the initiative is designed to advance health equity and economic opportunity in West Baltimore neighborhoods, and will include the construction of a Community Resource Center serving youth and adults with economic advancement, health, and social services, supported by an array of local partners. The Center will also have a small business incubator to support five to 10 start-up businesses per year. The investment builds on and complements Bon Secours’ existing workforce training programs and other community programming. Over five years (2017-2022), the partnership aims to support the establishment of new local businesses, reduce the unemployment rate in the target neighborhoods, and increase the availability of mental health services for residents.

Loyola University’s York Road Initiative

This initiative is an outgrowth of Loyola University Maryland’s 2008-2013 Strategic Plan. Developed in collaboration with residents and other community partners, the initiative focuses on the Greater Govans/York Road corridor neighborhoods in north Baltimore, adjacent to Loyola’s Evergreen campus. It is an area deeply divided by race and class, with a 10-year difference in life expectancy between the east and west sides of York Road. The initiative seeks to improve the educational development, health, and well-being of community residents and the economic viability of the targeted neighborhoods. Through Loyola’s leadership and staffing, the York Road Partnership of businesses, residents, institutions, and other stakeholders has worked on a variety of issues facing the community, including public safety, a lack of fresh and healthy food, youth development and business development. Loyola annually invests $250,000 to help move forward projects that meet community needs including Fresh Crate, through which Loyola’s food service provider has provided over 4,000 pounds of fresh produce for sale in neighborhood corner stores. Other Loyola-supported efforts include a weekly farmers market, a partnership to hire local youth, a commercial corridor plan with the Urban Land Institute, partnership with Kiva and Loyola’s business school, a swim program for local elementary students, and continued workshops focused on race, implicit bias, and structural barriers to opportunity.

East Baltimore Revitalization Initiative

This initiative began in 2002 as a $1.8 billion effort to create biotechnology research space, new mixed-income housing, commercial development, and other amenities to revitalize a distressed East Baltimore neighborhood bordering the Johns Hopkins medical campus. Among the key partners in this initiative were the City of Baltimore, the State of Maryland, Johns Hopkins University, and other institutions, including the Annie E. Casey Foundation. Over time the scope of the effort expanded to include, among other things, a new K-8 school and early childhood education center.  As part of the initiative, economic inclusion contracting and hiring goals were established, and between January 2006 and September 2017, the initiative achieved significant results. Over that period, 34% ($148.94 million) of the $437.55 million of the initiative-related construction contracts went to MBE firms. A total of $94.65 million (21.6%) went to Baltimore City-based MBE firms. In terms of overall local contracting, nearly 35.3% ($154.65 million) of the $437.5 million in construction contracts went to Baltimore City-based local business enterprises, substantially exceeding the target goal of 20%. Approximately, 30.1% (1,948) of the 6,466 verified workers on the project since its inception were Baltimore City residents. Through September 2017, the project also yielded 283 new Baltimore City hires, of which 188 (66.4%) were from East Baltimore.

Other Efforts that Support Economic Inclusion

Humanim Social Enterprises

Humanim operates several social enterprises established to create new economic opportunities for individuals who have challenges in finding employment. In addition to creating jobs and building a stronger local workforce, these enterprises strengthen the community by solving social and environmental problems through sustainable, market-based solutions. Among Humanim’s social enterprises are:

  • City Seeds:  This social enterprise provides quality food and good jobs, while growing Baltimore’s local food economy. City Seeds pursues those objectives by sourcing locally, training and hiring individuals with barriers to employment, and supporting local food entrepreneurs. City Seeds’ services include wholesale food production, catering, and retail kiosks and cafes selling products at Johns Hopkins University, Maryland Institute College of Art, the Annie E. Casey Foundation, and Kaiser Permanente. The organization also provides training and support to food entrepreneurs through School of Food, which offers an industry-specific, technical assistance program. In addition, School of Food works to expand the local entrepreneurs’ access to larger market opportunities, including sales to anchor institutions. The Baltimore Integration Partnership (BIP) has collaborated with City Seeds and the School of Food to help make those connections through vendor fairs, “Food Entrepreneur Demo Days,” and an ongoing strategy to match the buying needs of anchor institutions and businesses to local and minority-owned firms.

Details Deconstruction: 

    This social enterprise does what demolition cannot—it creates jobs while reducing environmental waste. A labor-intensive, green alternative to demolition, Details Deconstruction adheres to a “triple bottom line” business model that considers social, environmental, and financial impact. Every Details project diverts salvageable materials from overflowing landfills, and creates jobs for skilled crew members who have faced barriers to employment. Details Deconstruction also has a “sister” company, Brick+Board, which processes the salvageable materials from Details’ projects for re-sale to construction and renovation projects.

Central Baltimore Future Fund (CBFF)

CBFF is a $10 million loan pool established in December 2016 by a group of financial institutions, philanthropies, Johns Hopkins, and the City of Baltimore and administered by The Reinvestment Fund (TRF). CBFF is designed to work in concert with a comprehensive Central Baltimore revitalization strategy to eliminate blight and stimulate economic growth and job creation. CBFF is linked with the Central Baltimore Partnership and provides loans as well as predevelopment and site acquisition resources to developers and building owners who are creating high-impact real estate projects. Borrowers from CBFF must meet economic inclusion goals in their projects relative to MBE participation (a 30% contracting requirement) and local hiring (a minimum of one job for every $1 million in hard capital costs). At the time of this report, three projects had been financed by CBFF: acquisition and rehabilitation of 12 for-sale homes as part of a mixed-income redevelopment; site acquisition and construction of four for-sale homes; and improvements to artist studios and preservation of affordable artist living space.

Good Business Works Network

Launched in 2017, this job-quality project is supporting Baltimore businesses who are “doing well by doing good.”  With an initial focus on Baltimore’s retail, restaurant, and home improvement sectors, Good Business Works (GBW) aims to utilize the power of consumer demand to advance employment practices that create value for both employers and workers. The project is engaging with exemplary local businesses who understand that industry-leading wages and benefits, a focus on in-house training and advancement, and support for a diverse employee team ensure the highest standards of quality in products, services, and customer satisfaction. Through community-based marketing and industry-driven technical assistance, the GBW network will work closely with select employers to promote their businesses, overcome challenges, and increase impact. The GBW network is a collaboration of Baltimore-area businesses, nonprofits, funders, and training providers. The lead organization coordinating the network is Civic Works (a community-based nonprofit focused on skills development and community services). This project is supported by the Baltimore Workforce Funders Collaborative (BWFC), a public-private partnership with a mission of advancing labor market prospects of unemployed and underemployed Baltimore residents.


The section above is “Chapter 3: What Can Baltimore Businesses and Anchor Institutions To Promote Greater Economic Opportunity and Inclusion?” of Collectively We Rise: The Business Case for Economic Inclusion in Baltimore.  The full report incorporates any necessary sources and footnotes.

bipabagWhat Can Baltimore Businesses and Anchor Institutions Do To Promote Greater Economic Opportunity and Inclusion?