SSW News

Promise Heights Praised as UMB Wins Award

December 17, 2018    |  

The Greater Baltimore Committee (GBC) has honored the University of Maryland, Baltimore, (UMB) as a recipient of the 2018 Mayor’s Business Recognition Award, praising the University’s Promise Heights initiative and its commitment to community service.

UMB was one of 12 entities recently honored as winners of the 44th Annual Mayor’s Business Recognition Awards.

From left, Rosalind Lockwood, executive director, Furman L. Templeton Preparatory Academy; Henriette Taylor, director of partnerships, Promise Heights; Brownyn Mayden, executive director, Promise Heights; Kyla Liggett-Creel, director of research and evaluation, Promise Heights; and Rachel Donegan, assistant director, Promise Heights.

From left, Rosalind Lockwood, executive director, Furman L. Templeton Preparatory Academy; Henriette Taylor, director of partnerships, Promise Heights; Brownyn Mayden, executive director, Promise Heights; Kyla Liggett-Creel, director of research and evaluation, Promise Heights; and Rachel Donegan, assistant director, Promise Heights.

University System of MarylandChancellor Robert L. Caret, PhD, nominated UMB for the award, highlighting the work of the Promise Heights initiative. Led by the University of Maryland School of Social Work (SSW), and centered in the Upton/Druid Heights neighborhood, the initiative also draws participation from UMB’s schools of medicinenursingdentistry, and pharmacy.

President Jay A. Perman, MD, accepted the award on the University’s behalf at a luncheon Dec. 5 at the Renaissance Baltimore Harborplace Hotel. The event, hosted by the GBC, the Baltimore Development Corporation (BDC), and the Mayor’s Office, recognizes businesses for their outstanding corporate leadership, commitment to community, and dedication to improving the quality of life in Baltimore. Mayor Catherine E. Pugh joined the BDC and GBC in presenting the awards.

“I’m so proud of Promise Heights for showing all of us what it takes to be a force for good in our own community,” Perman said. “To anyone who says that Baltimore’s problems are too entrenched, too intractable to be fixed, Promise Heights is my answer, even though it’s not an easy one. They’ve shown us how to engage communities and provide services and ultimately grow a stronger, more resilient city.”

Businesses are traditionally measured by a range of metrics, such as profitability, growth rate, number of employees, or the company’s economic impact on the state, region, or city, said Donald C. Fry, president and chief executive officer of the GBC, who served as emcee at the awards luncheon.

“Today’s program awards companies by a different metric,” he said. “The Mayor’s Business Awards highlight companies whose organizational leaders are not focused solely on the bottom line but those who acknowledge that contributing to the community and providing service outside of the business’s core mission is vital to the success, health, and morale of the city, and to the people who live in Baltimore.”

Since 2009, SSW has worked alongside community residents and local partners in planning, creating, and implementing strategies to significantly improve the educational and developmental outcomes of children and families in Upton/Druid Heights. The intention of Promise Heights is to offer services from cradle to college or career.

“Promise Heights began with a handshake with one principal of one school and now encompasses B’more for Healthy Babies and other cradle to early childhood to career services, five community schools, and support for many other nonprofit programs in support of the Upton and Druid Heights communities,” said SSW Dean Richard P. Barth, PhD, MSW. “This work is emblematic of the strong relationship between UMB and surrounding communities and the way that integrating science and service bring in significant grant awards to help strengthen the fabric of Baltimore.”

“We are honored to receive this award as we continue to work to support the children and families of Promise Heights,” added Bronwyn Mayden, MSW, executive director of Promise Heights. “We could not be prouder, and we extend our gratitude to our many partners and supporters.”

Rev. Alvin C. Hathaway Sr., DMin, PhD, co-chair of the Promise Heights Community Advisory Board and senior pastor of Union Baptist Church, joined Mayden, Barth, Caret, and Promise Heights staff members at the luncheon.

“The race is not given to the swift but to those that endure,” Hathaway said. “You’re talking about a 10-year process where the leaders and the staff and the members of the University of Maryland School of Social Work were committed to improving outcomes in the schools in the Promise Heights neighborhoods. The award is a tremendous testimony to their persistence and to their commitment. They gave of themselves, of their blood, of their sweat, and of their tears to ensure that this neighborhood had the resources necessary to improve outcomes for children and their families. I’m ecstatic.”

More than 300 Baltimore-area business leaders attended the event to celebrate this year's honorees, which in addition to UMB included Christopher Schafer Clothier; FutureCare Health and Management; Hotel Revival Baltimore; Lexi's Lil Bug LLC; LifeBridge Health; Loyola University Maryland; Notre Dame Preparatory School; PNC Bank; RCM&D; the Baltimore Ravens; and WBAL-TV.