Baltimore Integration Partnership Celebrates Accomplishments
by Kurt Sommer, Director, Baltimore Integration Partnership
Baltimore Integration Partnership stakeholders gathered last week with Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake to celebrate all the work and accomplishments that have moved forward over the last three years. The project hosted by ABAG launched in 2011 to link capital investment and human capital in targeted neighborhoods to create new opportunities for area residents through developments projects and public policies.
Through the generosity of Living Cities, Baltimore was awarded nearly $3 million in grant funds and access to up to $15 million in capital debt to support revitalization projects as part of their national Integration Initiative. Grant funds in Baltimore have supported workforce training opportunities for area residents, community based workforce access points, policy advocacy in City Hall and Annapolis, a high risk predevelopment loan fund, capacity building for area organizations, research and evaluation.
To date with activities still underway, 12 development projects have been moved forward through BIP’s lending partner TRF fostering $136 million in capital investment including 49 homeownership units, 76 units of rental housing, a grocery store, restaurant, and two school facilities. Several other development projects are still in the pipeline. 384 workforce training opportunities have also been supported in various key fields including construction, biotechnology, deconstruction, retail/hospitality, career coaching, accelerated GED preparation, job readiness training, and healthcare. Through the development projects, workforce access points, training partners, and public workforce partners, nearly 700 job placements have occurred.
To sustain these ideas and through the leadership of the partners and stakeholders of the BIP, new public and anchor institution policies have moved forward including City and State local hiring executive orders, a set aside of transportation funding for workforce investments, and the new EARN program. These legislative and public policy activities were recognized by Living Cities as standout accomplishments at a gathering in Chicago in early October with the other Integration Initiative cities. Baltimore is very proud of the accomplishments of the projects and also the public policy efforts that partners have moved forward.
Last week BIP recognized several key organizations for their work and lifting over the last three years through a variety of awards for their efforts to advance economic inclusion in Baltimore. They include:
Courage in Economic Inclusion:
- Greater Homewood Community Corporation
Unsung Hero in Economic Inclusion:
- Maryland Institute College of Art
Distinguished Business in Economic Inclusion:
- Seawall Development
- The French Companies
- Mi Casa
- Apples and Oranges
- Southway Builders
- The Chesapeake Restaurant
Outstanding Leadership in Economic Inclusion:
- Martha Holleman
- The Reinvestment Fund
- Job Opportunities Task Force
Over the course of the first phase of the BIP, over a hundred individuals from more than 50 organizations played a supportive or active role in the work. It is their collective work that has made the work of the BIP so successful. The BIP staff would like extend their thanks to all of many stakeholders for their work and lifting. There are indeed too many to name individually but all have played a significant role in the work. Special thanks to the ABAG and BIP Board member organizations for their support and leadership over the last three years.
The current phase of the BIP activities will be winding down by year’s end. Local partners are working towards continuing the initiative focusing in on economic inclusion opportunities with area educational and medical anchor institutions.