Baltimore Mayor Stephanie-Rawlings Blake highlighted the importance of public-private collaboration in developing the city’s workforce and nurturing the growth of minority-owned businesses in remarks during the 40th Annual Mayor’s Business Recognition Awards for outstanding community service.
“I know it’s not enough just to create jobs,” Rawlings-Blake said. “We have to make sure that the people in our community – especially our young people – are given the opportunities they need to build a better future for themselves. In order to bridge the gap between our unemployed young adults and our employer demand we have to work with employers directly to develop the next generation workforce with marketable 21st century skills.
“We know that we cannot have steady job growth without supporting our minority and women-owned businesses,” the mayor continued. “They’re the ‘X factor’ in growing any city. We know when we’re supporting these businesses we are changing the face of Baltimore’s economy and changing the way people are able to take care of their families for generations.”
During luncheon ceremonies at the Hyatt Regency Baltimore on December 2, the mayor commended businesses for their support of the city.
“We are so blessed to have partners like you,” Rawlings-Blake said. “I can’t thank you enough for your leadership and your continued investment in Baltimore.
“Baltimore has a lot to be proud of,” the mayor said. “Businesses have discovered that Baltimore has become a hub for regional competitiveness and for diverse economic growth. Thousands of jobs are being created for our families while we continue to bridge the gap between our youth and employer demand. And while we continue to reinvest in our neighborhoods and will create sustainable communities of choice, we will continue that growth in the coming years.”
Donald C. Fry, president and CEO of the Greater Baltimore Committee, said the Mayor’s Business Recognition Award highlights “exceptional companies and organizations whose leaders are not focused just on the bottom line.”
“The Mayor’s Award recognizes companies and organizations who acknowledge that contributing to community service outside their core mission is vital to the success, health and morale of the city and the people who live in Baltimore,” Fry said. “The Mayor’s Award honors those seated on the stage today for their civic leadership and for recognizing it’s equally important for businesses to leverage its financial and human resources to positively impact challenges that affect the citizens of Baltimore.
“Those before you today and the companies and organizations they represent are exemplary corporate and business citizens,” Fry said. “They’ve made community service a civic commitment part of the fabric of their company and their organization.”
The annual awards event is presented by the Mayor’s Office, the GBC and the Baltimore Development Corporation.
The 2014 Mayor’s Business Recognition Award winners are:
aMuse Toys, for equipping Kennedy Krieger Institute’s Center for Autism and Related Disorders with toys. The center does not have a large budget for toys and has generally relied on donations of second-hand toys for children. In addition, aMuse launched a social media campaign to raise awareness of autism spectrum disorders.
BGE, for its employee participation in workplace giving and service hours to benefit the United Way of Central Maryland. During the 2013 United Way campaign, BGE employees volunteered more than 5,000 hours to nonprofit organizations throughout the region.
CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield, for its company-wide commitment to partnerships that improve health, education and self-esteem, which is illustrated by its collaboration with City Spring Elementary/Middle School in Baltimore.
EY, for its annual day of service that benefited Great Kids Farm at the Bragg Nature Center, Port Discovery and the Cool Kids Campaign, and for participating in Parks and People Foundation’s neighborhood beautification, partnering with the Y of Central Maryland to build a lending library for Head Start and promoting student leadership at the Living Classrooms Foundation.
M&T Bank, for its partnership with Westport Academy where, along with The Family Tree, the Maryland Bankers Association and the Baltimore Ravens, a pilot family game night was launched at the school to promote families spending at least 15 minutes each day engaging in a recreation activity. In partnership with the Ravens, M&T Bank also launched “Touchdown for Teachers” to recognize outstanding educators.
MECU, for its partnership with the Baltimore Office of Promotion & the Arts – the MECU Neighborhood Events Grants programs. The initiative is helping hundreds of organizations throughout the city celebrate their neighborhoods.
MedStar Union Memorial Hospital, for its Project SEARCH partnership with The Arc Baltimore providing a unique model of skill building and employment opportunities for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Morstein’s Jewelers, Inc., for owner Sonny Morstein’s support of the Federal Hill community over the years. Morstein is a founder of the nonprofit Federal Hill Main Street, Inc. and a major supporter of the South Baltimore Learning Center, a nonprofit that works to improve the self-sufficiency of educationally disadvantaged adults in Baltimore.
PNC Bank, for its “Growing Up Great” initiative, which supports enrichment programs to prepare children from birth to age 5 for success in school and life. “Growing Up Great” supports families by providing innovative opportunities to enhance learning and development during a child’s early years.
Saul Ewing LLP, for its commitment to helping families in need, mentoring high school students in city public schools through the Community Law in Action program and promoting a clean harbor through Blue Water Baltimore.
SC&H, for its annual day of service, for which employees volunteer at nonprofit organizations, including The Samaritan Women, Luna’s House, Moveable Feast, Baltimore Station and The Franciscan Center. SC&H Employees average more than 25 hours each per year in volunteer community service activities.
Team Triumphant, Inc., for responding to community requests by partnering with Abbottston Elementary School and working to increase student engagement during the summer. With funding from The Family League’s Summer Learning program, Team Triumphant and the school implemented an enrichment and family engagement program.
Wells Fargo, for its continued investment in the Pennsylvania Avenue/Upton community. A formerly vacant lot was converted into a community garden for neighbors to plant and maintain gardens to have access to fruits and vegetables and provide a safe gathering space for families. Wells Fargo also supports the Home for Good campaign, an effort to end homelessness.
In addition, ABC Box Co. in Baltimore and the Johns Hopkins Health System received a Hire One Youth Mayor’s Award for their efforts with hiring Baltimore City youths through Hire One Youth, the private-sector component of Baltimore City’s YouthWorks summer jobs program, which encourages Baltimore businesses to hire at least one job-ready youth, between ages 16 to 21, for a six-week summer job.
To view photos from the event, click here.