Building and Strengthening Neighborhoods and People

Neighborhood Institute Workshop Preview: “Design in Detail” by Laura Wheaton

If you are looking to plan a long-term community project of any size, the “Design in Detail” workshop led by Laura Wheaton, Program Manager at the Neighborhood Design Center, is for you! To participate in this workshop, and many more, register for the 2015 Neighborhood Institute here.

One of the more difficult meetings a neighborhood can hold is a visioning meeting. How do you create a community vision that is both aspirational and concrete? How do you plan both short-term and long-term? How do you create consensus around your vision? These are problems all neighborhoods struggle with, whether you are trying to plan a block project or create a development plan for your area. At this year’s Neighborhood Institute, this workshop will provide valuable tips for constructing a group vision.
Neighborhood Design Center Staff Portraits

The Neighborhood Design Center (NDC) provides pro-bono design services for community-initiated projects by leveraging the support of volunteer professionals. They coordinate and facilitate Visioning Workshops designed to bring community members together and construct a vision for their planning project, whether it is an edible garden, new building, or neighborhood master plan. Their workshop will share the best practices of coordinating and facilitating your own visioning process, including logistics, sample exercises, and facilitation tips. It will also discuss how and when communities can access pro-bono design assistance from NDC.

GHCC’s annual Neighborhood Institute will be held on Saturday, April 18th, 2015 at the Baltimore Design School (1500 Barclay Street). To register for the event, follow this link. This year, the Institute will feature 36 workshops on a variety of topics relevant to community issues and City-wide opportunities. Check back here regularly for a preview of some of the workshops and presenters you can expect to see at this year’s Institute.


Women’s Empowerment Conference comes to Barclay


On July 24, GHCC and AHC Baltimore held the first Women’s Empowerment Conference.  While the targeted audience was young adult women between the ages of 18 and 35, the event quickly evolved to include elders.  Keynote speaker Dr. Pamela Love, challenged the women to confront life challenges with the help of each other and emphasized that seeking support is not a sign of weakness.

Other speakers, local leaders, and residents participated in sessions on money management, co-parenting, self-esteem, and domestic violence.  There were 27 women in attendance and 18 children.  The response was extremely positive and already there are inquiries regarding the next conference.

Special thanks to Dallas Nicholas Sr. Elementary School for hosting the conference, all of the businesses that provided in-kind support, and the numerous volunteers who helped make this event happen!

Sponsorship Spotlight: Tuscany Canterbury Neighborhood Association


622A5264Sue Talbott is the Co-President of the Tuscany Caterbury Neighborhood Association, a member of the GHCC Advisory board, and long time involved community member. We caught up with her to hear a bit about what she loves about her neighborhood and working in the community at large.


Where is the Tuscany Canterbury neighborhood located?

It can be a real challenge to describe! Tuscany-Canterbury lies on land known in the 18th century as Merryman’s Lot and in the 19th century as Clover Hill. Situated within the Stony Run watershed, our neighborhood is bounded on the east by Charles Street, on the north by Overhill and Warrenton Roads, on the west by Linkwood Road, and on the south by University Parkway. Tuscany-Canterbury abuts Stony Run Park and lies between Johns Hopkins University and Loyola University. A great map and description can be found on our website (  Tuscany-Canterbury is home to a variety of residential housing options: Tudoresque houses; condos, high rise and low rise; and rental apartments.  Many college students live in the community along with other residents, young and old, who own their homes. Tuscany-Canterbury is the most densely populated neighborhood in Baltimore.

What is your favorite thing about the neighborhood?

What I love most is that Tuscany-Canterbury is an extremely FRIENDLY AND walkable neighborhood where a variety of fascinating people live.  We strive to make our neighborhood welcoming to all: pedestrians, bikers, and motorists.  There are coffee shops where neighbors meet as well as several restaurants and a deli.

What compelled you to support the Neighborhood Institute this year?

TCNA supports the Neighborhood Institute every year because we are aware of all that GHCC does to support the 45 North Baltimore neighborhoods that they serve. Additionally, I believe that GHCC Executive Director, Karen Stokes, is a superb community leader.  She and her excellent staff and many volunteers are a terrific asset. 

Why do you think the work that Greater Homewood is doing is important for neighborhood associations?

Greater Homewood staff listen when an issue is raised and Association leaders believe they can count on GHCC staff to follow through on plans that are agreed to.  Simply put, GHCC staff are very responsive and get things done.

How can Tuscany Canterbury residents get involved in the neighborhood association?

Residents of T-C can learn about the Community Association by going to the TCNA website:  By clicking on the newsletter section one can learn about current activities and concerns in T-C.  On the last page of each newsletter there is a list of TCNA committees and a membership form.  TCNA hosts a social hour at the Alizee Bar at the Colonnade Hotel on the first Friday of each month (5-6:30) where T-C residents can meet TCNA members and learn more about the Association.  Members may use the TCNA listserv and receive timely updates on traffic, crime, local events, etc. via the internet.


Neighborhood Institute Sponsor Spotlight – Donna’s Charles Village

Donna’s Charles Village got this year’s Neighborhood Institute off to a great start with hot coffee and an array of delicious baked goods. Thank you again for your support. 

BVC2Yi_CMAAUh0ATell us a bit about Donna’s, how long have you been in Charles Village and how did you come to be in this neighborhood?

Donna’s has been around since 2001. The flagship location was located in Mt. Vernon but it has since expanded to locations like Charles Village. Around the time of its inception, it was not easy for people in Baltimore to get good coffee, bread, or natural foods. The woman who started Donnas’s visited Italy and saw all of the great food and drink they had available. It became her vision to bring those same things to Baltimore.

What do you love about being located in the Greater Homewood area?

The sense of community in Greater Homewood is incredible. The majority of people I work with are my neighbors, and we all walk to work together. There are many customers we know by name, which adds to the sense of community. Donna’s maintains a close and friendly relationship with the other businesses close by. When in need, the local businesses all support each other (borrowing food and supplies). This type of friendly atmosphere among direct competitors is rare.

Why is it important to you to support the work that Greater Homewood is doing and sponsor the Neighborhood Institute?

We have a spoken rule at Donna’s- we only donate and support organizations that work in the neighborhood. After doing some research we found that GHCC’s mission and program were completely in line with our own values. We feel that there needs to be organizations that support those in the community in need. GHCC is that kind of place.

We know that you have a few different locations, what is special about the Charles Village restaurant?

What is unique about the Charles Village restaurant is the bond between customers and employees (all neighbors). Customers feel like they are having dinner with family and friends. Chef Andy Thomas has been in the area for twenty years, and has many connections throughout the community.  This close relationship allows Donna’s to provide the people in the neighborhood just what they are looking for.

Do you have any exciting new menu items coming in the spring and summer?

During the summer, Donna’s uses local produce to create seasonal favorites like Cherry Tomato Salad, Watermelon Salad, and Stuffed Squash. Donna’s is the type of restaurant that remains affordable while providing high quality local food. Donna’s has brunch on Saturdays and Sundays, and specials most days of the week, including $3 tacos on Tuesdays. Come check it out!

For More Information on Donna’s – 

Neighborhood Institute Workshop Spotlight – Social Networking with Your Neighbors

nextdoorJoin Nextdoor Baltimore Organizer Robert Yochem to learn how to use social media to develop stronger relationships with your neighbors. In addition, join a discussion on how to best create, implement, and enforce neighborhood guidelines around appropriate social media behavior.

Tell us about your background and why you chose to lead this particular workshop?

I am a longtime community activist and grassroots organizer.  I have lived in Baltimore for over 20 years and love it here.  I joined the Nextdoor Field Operations last year and saw the great potential of it to bring together Baltimore city and maintain the level of civic involvement that I was part of while working for the President Obama’s team here and around the country.

What do you hope participants will gain from attending your workshop? What actions will they be more prepared to take?

Each person will have an understanding of Nextdoor and the tools that it provides to empower them to get immediately involved in their own neighborhoods and communities.

Why do you love most about living in Baltimore?

Social atmosphere, the outdoors, the people, the proximity to other great cities and the food!

Tickets to the 7th Neighborhood Institute are sold out. If you would like to be added to the waiting list please email Emma Simpson at with the subject line “Neighborhood Institute Waiting List”