The Baltimore Sun
April 4, 2016
When the Johns Hopkins University board met last November to talk about an initiative aimed at improving the city's economic prospects by hiring more local and minority-owned firms and more local and minority workers, one trustee asked why more prominent Baltimore companies and institutions weren't doing the same.
"We were in," said the trustee who posed the question, Michael D. Hankin, CEO of Brown Advisory. "I turned to Blake Cordish from the Cordish Cos., and he said they were in."
And so it went around the table, with T. Rowe Price Group, DLA Piper, Under Armour and others agreeing to join in. Calls went out to other notable firms. After several months of organizing, the group came together Monday at Zion Baptist Church several blocks north of Johns Hopkins Hospital to announce a 25-company commitment called BLocal.
The initiative aims to create a sustained force for jobs for minority- and women-owned businesses and residents of Baltimore's most distressed neighborhoods, many of whom expressed frustration and hopelessness after the riots sparked by the death of Freddie Gray from injuries suffered in police custody nearly a year ago.