Building and Strengthening Neighborhoods and People

Neighborhood Institute Coming to BCCC in March 2020 With Theme of ‘Building Civic Power’

Audience at 2017 Neighborhood Institute opening remarks.

Neighborhood Institute is back! Strong City Baltimore’s signature annual event is returning in spring 2020 with a new venue, new partners, and a special focus on civic engagement through participation in the electoral process, the Census, and public service. The annual skill-building and networking conference for neighborhood leaders, nonprofit professionals, and activists will be organized around a theme of “Building Civic Power.”

The 12th annual Neighborhood Institute will be held on Saturday, March 28, 2020, at Baltimore City Community College, an exciting new space for this event. Strong City is moving in January 2020 to the Hoen Building in East Baltimore, but we are a citywide organization, and this partnership with one of West Baltimore’s most important institutions reinforces our commitment to the whole city. The venue is also conveniently located just a few blocks from the Mondawmin transit hub.

“In 2020, Baltimore residents have a special opportunity to build power within the institutions of our democracy by engaging with the Census, encouraging registration and voting, and promoting good governance.”

“We are pleased to bring Neighborhood Institute to West Baltimore and look forward to a fruitful partnership with Baltimore City Community College, which shares our goal of building and strengthening neighborhoods and people,” says Strong City CEO Karen D. Stokes.

For the first time at Neighborhood Institute, Strong City is joining forces with other civic-minded local organizations in response to the special opportunities presented in 2020 by major national and local elections and the decennial Census. Neighborhood Institute will include presentations and discussions curated by the Baltimore Planning Department’s Census team, OSI-Baltimore, and Strong City fiscally sponsored projects such as Baltimore Votes and Step Up Maryland.

“Neighborhood Institute is always about civic engagement,” says Mike Cross-Barnet, Strong City’s Communications and Special Projects Coordinator and an organizer of Neighborhood Institute. “In 2020, Baltimore residents have a special opportunity to build power within the institutions of our democracy by engaging with the Census, encouraging registration and voting, and promoting good governance.”

Although some things are new this time, Neighborhood Institute will maintain its familiar structure of workshops led mainly by community members and organized into various “tracks.” As in the past, these tracks will be formed organically, based on the response to our request for proposals, which will be going out next month. In past years, we have presented tracks on themes including Nonprofit Management, Neighborhood Revitalization, Skill Building for Community Leaders, Greening, and Fundraising and Grant Writing. We hope to bring back some of our most popular presenters, but there will be plenty of spots for new workshops, too.

The first Neighborhood Institute was launched in 2007 in a church basement, with a handful of workshops and about 60 people in attendance. The event now draws 350 to 400 participants for a full day of workshops and conversations, and includes breakfast and lunch. It is Strong City’s biggest annual event and has become an indispensable training and networking conference for local community leaders. Check for updates on Strong City’s social media. Or, sign up for our newsletter below to get alerts straight to your inbox!

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