Johns Hopkins University announced Thursday it is committing $10 million during the next five years to make improvements in the North Baltimore communities surrounding its Homewood Campus.
The funds will be invested through a group of nonprofits, community associations and businesses called the Homewood Community Partners Initiative.
"One thing that I think is worth underscoring, and what I think really denotes what is very special about this particular initiative is its comprehensiveness,” university President Ronald J. Daniels said during a news conference. “That is to say that what we’re thinking about is everything from thinking about incentives for improvement of housing, more lively retail and commercial corridor to improvement of the local schools."
Andrew Frank, the president’s economic development advisor, said examples of projects that may be pursued through the initiative would be a gap development fund, expanding the school’s Live Near Your Work program or creating a neighborhood investment fund.
Daniels said the decision on where to invest the funds will be made jointly between initiative members and an internal working group from Hopkins.
"Our hope, and I think this is critical to the success of the venture, the funds that Hopkins is investing over the next five years, the $10 million, we hope is just the starting point of the resources we expect to be able to attract to the initiative and its indeed our hope that by the end of the five years we’ll be able to attract $50 million of additional investment," Daniels said.
He also said the initiative would be transparent and open, and said because of the involvement of community groups that it will be an "exemplar," and would be open and accountable to the surrounding communities.
"We’re looking forward to unleashing and fortifying the moral and intellectual powers of all the partners to strengthen in a very significant way the neighborhoods," Daniels said.
Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake attended the announcement and praised the spirit of collaboration that has lead to the investment in the Homewood Community Partners Initiative. She also said the initiative will be a help in reaching her goal of growing Baltimore by 10,000 families in 10 years.
"Every neighborhood [in the initiative]—there’s a different feeling that is going on now. A different excitement, a new energy that exists in these communities we’re seeing something different," Rawlings-Blake said.
Communities in the initiative:
- Wyman Park
- Charles Village
- Old Goucher
- Charles North
- Greenmount West
- Waverly Main Street