Baltimore Corps was founded in 2013 with a simple premise in mind: We need better ways for the most talented people to go to work solving the world's most important challenges. Why focus on talent? On the surface, we recognized the well-documented struggles of social sector leaders to recruit and retain the contributors they need to scale the most effective solutions. We also appreciate the tremendous opportunity represented by the coming of age of Millennials—the largest, most diverse and, perhaps, most purpose-driven generational cohort in history. Ultimately, though, we invest in talent because we continue to be moved by a simple but fundamental observation:
Our greatest and most persistent challenges have been caused by people—they can and will be solved by people. All over the world we can see things getting better--freedoms being protected, opportunities being sown, loves being defended, dreams of better futures being bravely preserved—we also bear witness to extraordinary individuals doing the hard work, everyday, to make it so. We know that progress is won, as it has always been won, by the countless, tireless, unnamed champions who persist in the face of enormous obstacles and monumental cynicism. Their vocations, their movements, their sweat, their unbending sense of justice, are more than our reason to hope. They form the foundation of our playbook as we look to mount the next step in that winding, never-ending staircase of capital-P Progress: to create a future for Baltimore, and cities everywhere, that is more equitable, just, healthy, and as full of potential as the people who live here.
To that end, Baltimore Corps is a network powered by an organization. We believe that networks are best positioned to drive change because complex challenges require convening diffuse sets of actors to activate the widest reaching solutions. Baltimore Corps builds robust, equitable pipelines to enlist talent in advancing Baltimore’s most promising social innovations.
Baltimore Corps' Values
Advance equity citywide
We choose a more equitable Baltimore. We know enough of history, and of our shared humanity, to know that we will always rise or fall as one people. As long as one child goes hungry in our city, we all feel the pangs of injustice; for better and worse, our neighbors' destinies will always be inseparable from our own--and in a city so marred by trauma, and so fractured by generations of segregation and racial injustice, yet so unfailingly resilient in the face of monumental challenges, we look with hope toward a better and hard-won future.
In our sphere, an overwhelming proportion of social impact organizations report little or a limited understanding of how to advance equity in their internal practices and policies. We believe that large-scale change depends on increasing, and persistently acting upon, the understanding of equitable practice among Baltimore's influential organizations and individuals.
- Build equitable pipelines into city leadership
- Apply an equity lens to current policies and practices across the social impact sector
- Drive resources to historically disinvested leaders and organizations to evolve the profile of institutional leadership
Significantly improve the effectiveness of Baltimore’s social impact sector:
Around the world and here at home, we see reasons everywhere to hope for a better future: freedoms being won, diseases being eradicated, children building lives their parents could only imagine. We also know that none of this progress happens automatically. It's only through the hard work, persistence and sacrifice of people--often in the face of daunting obstacles and caustic cynicism--that we find our feet on the path forward. To make the changes we all want to see in Baltimore, we need to do all we can to empower our ordinary people to do extraordinary work.
A major opportunity of our time is the fact that the overwhelming proportion of nonprofit organizations and government agencies--anchor organizations with incredible potential to transform lives--report a chronic inability to recruit talent into their organizations. Our potential as a sector, and as a city, depends on our ability to enlist the talent to solve our hardest problems.
- Align efforts and outcomes by promoting a common agenda across organizations
- Share data and measurement among and between practitioners to ensure continuous feedback and improvement
- Recruit and retain the strongest possible talent base dedicated to securing the city’s long-term health, as well as achieving equity in its communities and the organizations that serve them
Build and sustain a network that puts Baltimore’s interests first
It's easier said than done, but Baltimore's success depends on our ability to put our city's collective interests above those of any single organization. In other words, we need more than to promote the right values and to perform our individual jobs effectively. We need to build common capacity and normalize sector-wide cooperation. This process will require actors throughout the sector to align efforts and outcomes, promote a common agenda, share data and measurement practices or ensure continuous feedback (and improvement) of practices. Simply, Baltimore must invest in these common capacities if its most promising models of social change are to be taken to scale.
- Promote an equity agenda by influencing the practices and policies of social impact organizations and mobilizing a movement of leaders dedicated to dismantling institutional racism
- Provide multiple avenues for participation
- Facilitate open source collaboration and crowd sharing
- Model and normalize transparent practice
The impact of these values is a sector – indeed, a city – capable of tackling its biggest challenges and disrupting the intergenerational cycle of poverty and inequity that has locked entire communities out of opportunity for generations. Barring a systemic intervention and radical change in practice across the sector, Baltimore will repeat its past failures to change and promote change for all of its residents.