Statement of Donald C. Fry, President and CEO, Greater Baltimore Committee, on the Passing of U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings

October 17, 2019

“The Greater Baltimore Committee’s Board of Directors and I are deeply saddened by the passing of Congressman Cummings. I had the great pleasure and honor of serving with Representative Cummings in the Maryland House of Delegates and found him to not only be an inspiring colleague to work with on issues, but a man of his word. I have never known a more passionate legislator,” said Fry.

The GBC’s Board said Cummings would be remembered not only as a passionate leader, but as a legislator who fought tirelessly on issues that were important to his constituents and to himself, always with a focus on ensuring that fairness and equality prevailed. The Congressman was a man of enormous integrity who made a lasting mark on his district, Maryland, in the halls of Congress and beyond,” The GBC Board said.

The GBC’s Bridging the Gap Achievement Awards, which supports and recognizes minority and women-owned businesses, was inspired in part by conversations Fry recalls having with Rep. Cummings while the two served in the state legislature together. The Congressman believed that private sector support was a key for minority and women-owned businesses to succeed and thrive. In 2003, after become President and CEO, Fry created the Bridging the Gap program as one of his top priorities at the GBC.

In 2016, the Greater Baltimore Committee honored Rep. Cummings with its Howard “Pete” Rawlings Courage in Public Service Award. It is only presented occasionally to elected officials who display exceptional courage while in office.

The GBC and its Board selected Cummings for the award to recognize his efforts in 2015 to bring calm and reassurance to communities in Baltimore City affected by civil unrest in the wake of the death of Freddie Gray.

As noted by Fry when presenting the award at the GBC’s 2016 Annual Meeting: “A year ago Congressman Cummings was one of the first elected officials visibly in the community seeking to calm the emotions of a troubled city. He listened, demonstrated understanding, showed compassion, and gained the trust of those in the streets. He was relentless and tireless in his efforts. He was accessible and straightforward with all involved – the community and government officials. He was that one person that all reached out to because they knew he had earned the respect of all.”



The Greater Baltimore Committee (GBC) is a regional organization of business and civic leaders that includes businesses, nonprofit organizations and educational and civic institutions. It is the leading voice for the private sector in the Baltimore region on issues relating to economic growth, job creation, workforce development, transportation, the business climate and quality of life. The GBC’s membership is comprised of over 500 member organizations, including large, mid-size and small companies, nonprofits, education and foundations in the Greater Baltimore region.

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