Building and Strengthening Neighborhoods and People

What Makes Baltimore a Strong City?

We asked people to tell us why they think Baltimore is a strong city. Here is a sampling of what they wrote:

I believe Baltimore is a strong city because…

“our residents are diverse, resilient, hopeful, and aware of the many gifts that surround us.”

“of people looking out for and loving their neighbors as themselves!”

“in times of stress-as well as in times of national/international recognition-responsive city officials, together with active community leaders, work for the common good.”

“I feel more at home here than anywhere else in the world.”

“Karen Stokes leads an outstanding staff who are so committed to Baltimore.”

“it has strong people working together to support it.”

To read more, check out our Neighborhood Postcard Project


Strong City in the News:

10/26/16 Revitalization efforts at Anne Arundel’s edge get another boostCapital Gazette: News article on developments in the community-driven Brooklyn/Curtis Bay/Brooklyn Park revitalization plan organized by Strong City

10/14/16 A vital fund for Baltimore, letter to the editor by Tyson Garith (Strong City Director of Partnerships and Business Services), Baltimore Sun

“Participatory budgeting is a step in the direction of more responsive and accountable municipal government. By directly involving our young residents in budgeting and city-building, we will … help ensure that the new youth fund reflects the priorities of all Baltimore residents.”

9/21/16 E.R. Shipp, prize winning author, on Baltimore, journalism and communityThe Afro: News article on Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist E.R. Shipp’s talk at the 29th Street Community Center

9/19/16 Baltimore’s core neighborhoods quietly transformed, op-ed by Karen Stokes (Strong City CEO), Baltimore Sun

“Explore the core, and you’ll find attractive, stable neighborhoods that are as racially, economically, and culturally diverse as any in Baltimore.”

8/29/16 The Barclay Elementary/Middle School welcomes back students with rally, WMAR-Channel 2 segment on Strong City-coordinated back-to-school event for Barclay students

8/12/16 First Edition With Sean YoesStrong City Community School Coordinator Sharicca Boldon discusses education funding on WEAA-89.9 FM (relevant segment at 23:15 minute mark)

7/13/16 $90K grant from Wells Fargo targets growth in six Central Baltimore neighborhoodsBaltimore Business Journal: News article reports on grant won by Strong City Baltimore that will be administered by Central Baltimore Partnership to create a resident-driven community improvement plan in six key neighborhoods

6/14/16 Baltimore’s vacancy problem is not as bad as you think, by Peter Duvall (Strong City Community Revitalization Manager), Baltimore Sun

“Baltimoreans tend to damage ourselves by overstating the city’s problems. The scale of the vacant housing problem is large enough that no exaggeration is needed.”

5/18/16 For Brooklyn Park, new state grants could revitalize Anne Arundel’s ‘forgotten area,’ Capital Gazette: News article quotes Strong City South Baltimore Project Manager Ira Kowler on the planning process aimed at revitalizing Brooklyn/Curtis Bay/Brooklyn Park

5/11/16 Mount Royal, Strong City Baltimore partner on vacantsDaily Record: News article about the partnership between Strong City and the Mount Royal CDC to tackle vacant properties in the Mount Royal District

4/15/16 Don’t wait for the election to make change, by Karen Stokes (Strong City CEO), Baltimore Sun

“A single individual can only do so much. But a well-organized block, an empowered neighborhood, a coalition of committed citizens — these things translate into real power and real change.”

4/13/16 Cuts as unrest anniversary nearsBaltimore Brew: News article quotes Strong City Neighborhood Programs Director Karen DeCamp on the mayor’s proposed funding cuts to after-school programs

4/11/16 The Neighborhood Institute: connecting the communities of BaltimoreMaryland Morning (WYPR 88.1 FM): Strong City CEO Karen Stokes is interviewed about Strong City’s Neighborhood Institute and the role of community organizing in strengthening Baltimore

“[Karen Stokes is] at the forefront of organizing and effecting the kind of change that many people think is long overdue.”

4/6/16 Can methadone clinics and their neighbors find common ground? City Paper: News article about the concentration of methadone clinics in a small area of central Baltimore references work by Strong City Community Revitalization Manager Peter Duvall

4/4/16 Brooklyn Park: Community association gets update on revitalization plan, Capital Gazette: News article describing the work of Strong City’s South Baltimore Project Manager, Ira Kowler, in helping to create a comprehensive planning process for the Brooklyn Park-Curtis Bay-Brooklyn area

3/8/16 A long life of public service, with a remarkable last act, Baltimore Brew: News article about death of retired Liquor Board chairman Judge Thomas Ward quotes Strong City CEO Karen Stokes

2/11/16  Education Bill would provide more funding for community schoolsWBAL segment notes Strong City’s role in facilitating Johns Hopkins University’s funding of the new engineering lab at the Barclay School

1/29/16 Staff members shovel snow so learning can resume in Baltimore, WJZ segment on Waverly School’s response to snow emergency quotes Strong City community school site coordinator Jerrell Bratcher

1/27/16 Strong City Baltimore 2016,, on Strong City’s VISTA Impact Taskforce launch event

1/13/16 Before Hogan’s Demolition, Community Building, by Karen Stokes (Strong City CEO), Baltimore Sun letter to the editor

“For this demolition program to succeed, the affected neighborhoods will need to be organized and engaged, a nuts-and-bolts process that includes door-knocking, asset-mapping, and reinvigorating neighborhood associations.”

1/6/16 Fighting the Violence, Baltimore City Paper resource guide to effective community-oriented organizations

“Strong City Baltimore wants to build and strengthen neighborhoods and people in the city by reinforcing “the pillars of vibrant urban living,” including safe streets, quality schools, and a deep sense of civic engagement.”

12/28/15 Looking at Baltimore City with AmeriCorps VISTA members from Strong City Baltimore, The Marc Steiner Show (WEAA 88.9 FM)

12/6/15 Rawlings-Blake’s last yearBaltimore Sun Editorial

“… It inspired Strong City Baltimore (formerly the Greater Homewood Community Corporation) to launch a new program ‘focused on violence prevention …'”

11/04/15 Roughly Speaking With Dan Rodricks, Baltimore Sun

In this podcast: “Karen Stokes, CEO of Strong City Baltimore, talks about the organization’s name and its mission in the aftermath of April’s unrest.” (Interview begins at 37 minute mark)

10/30/15 Razing Homes the Right Way by Peter Duvall (Strong City Community Revitalization Coordinator), Baltimore Business Journal

“As Baltimore seeks a way forward after last spring’s disturbances, its future is visible in two clear, ongoing trends: a strengthening of the city’s core, and the continuing decline of its outlying rowhouse neighborhoods. Nothing signals this decline more clearly than the persistent problem of vacant houses.”

10/27/15 Taking Pride in Baltimore by Karen Stokes (Strong City CEO), New York Times letter to the editor

Your article about Baltimore six months after Freddie Gray’s death describes the city as “fragile and on edge” (“Fragile Baltimore on Edge as It Struggles to Heal,” front page, Oct. 20). As the leader of Strong City Baltimore, an organization that has spent decades strengthening Baltimore’s neighborhoods and people, I find this description simplistic and incomplete.”