Baltimore Green Works (BGW) is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to support environmental efforts that better the quality of life in Baltimore.
BGW does this by:
- Convening forums for education, dialogue and the exchange of ideas
- Fostering partnerships with and between individuals and organizations that share our vision
- Providing tools for communication and collaboration
Where have we been…
- Five volunteers hosted Baltimore Green Week in 2004 as part of a Struever Bros. Earth Day Celebration, attracting approximately 400 attendees and participants throughout the week (the focus being mostly on green building practices).
- The following year, these same volunteers decided to continue the effort.
- As the ‘green movement’ expanded, so did Baltimore Green Week (BGWeek) by broadening its focus to encompass environmental awareness and sustainability issues such as agricultural practices, energy and water conservation, climate change, transportation, and waste issues.
- In 2008, BGW became Baltimore Green Works and moved to a year-round format offering a speaker series, a community based workshop series, a park service component, and, of course, Baltimore Green Week. Also, the organization hosted its first annual fundraising event, the EcoBall.
- Since 2004, Baltimore Green Week has expanded its reach from 400 to nearly 5,000 yearly. In 2010, there was a Request For Proposals released requesting the participation of all community members during this week-long celebration. In 2011, BGW hosted 31 community-based events (up from 13 internally structured events the previous year) focused on environmental awareness and best practices in and around Baltimore City.
- Sustainable Speaker Series attracts nationally known advocates such as Michael Pollan, author of Omnivore’s Dilemma and In Defense of Food, Novella Carpenter, author of Farm City: The Education of An Urban Farmer, and Dr. Sandra Steingraber, renowned Ecologist and author of several books including Raising Elijah: Protecting Our Children in an Age of Environmental Crisis. Since 2009, the eight lectures have attracted nearly 2000 attendees along with broad media attention spurring some important conversations around our current water crisis, health issues having to do with our food sources, and our need for political action to benefit public health overall.
- In 2009, we launched our website which includes a Community Calendar, listing regionally hosted and environmentally focused events from hundreds of organizations monthly making it a comprehensive scheduling tool and community guide.
Where we see ourselves in 5 years…
In 2009, BGW went through a Strategic Planning process with facilitator, Lynne Heller. During this process, we were able to interview a good number of our key partners. From that, we discovered that BGW is the only organizations whose work focuses on connecting the key issues of a sustainable environment (food, water, energy, climate change, green building, transportation, and waste) through education. Through this same process, we also discovered that a key group of Baltimore’s environmentally focused leaders believe that there is a need for a ‘green platform’ where organizations and individuals with similar missions can collaborate, share information, form partnerships and share resources. As the work towards a more sustainable city expands, so do the number of individuals for and non-profit entities working on individually focused programs and projects. While these ‘silos’ gain momentum, there is a broad recognition of the need for a place (physical and/or virtual) for these efforts to come together. This coming together should ease the efforts for community outreach, accessing necessary resources, and strengthen strategic partnerships. Since then, BGW has been identified several times as an organization whose work already strives to connect information and people and has a great potential to fill this need as the “green platform” organization.
To be true to our mission, we would like to offer the following over the next 5 years:
- Continue offering the annual Baltimore Green Week Series with a strong focus on community efforts towards a greener, more sustainable city.
- Continue offering the Sustainable Speaker Series (four times per year) in conjunction with our partners at the Enoch Pratt Free Library to make sure that Baltimore residents and community members have access to nationally renowned professionals and scientists with a broader understanding of the issues we face.
- GOAL: We would like to add a year-round community workshop component helping to build the capacity and knowledge base of our volunteers, activists, neighborhood groups and local businesses.
- Continue offering the Community Calendar as both an outreach tool for local organizations as well as a resource tool helping to avoid overlap and confusion amongst organizations attempting to schedule and coordinate programming for various communities.
- GOAL: BGW would like to update the community calendar to make it more accessible to organizations wanting to post and more user friendly for those looking for information.
- Continue offering the Green Resource Guide. This guide is currently offered free for businesses and organizations wishing to list their information as well as for those looking to use the guide as a tool.
- GOAL: To make updates to the resource guide making it sort-able and launching the blog windows which will give key partner groups access to a focused online community.
- GOAL: To offer BGW’s non-profit status (fiscal sponsorship) as a way to leverage projects and programs to groups whose work and mission coincide with that of BGW’s.
- We are currently working with a team of scientists who are setting up a research center at the Baltimore Free Farm to grow and study the effects of urban aquaculture on the health of our communities and food system.
- GOAL: To strengthen the education and resource pieces listed above as a benefit to our key partners and our communities looking for ways to access new and environmentally aware information, products and services.
- GOAL: To begin a database of organizational information that can be accessed by coalition members to pinpoint strategic partners, strengthening current efforts and resource structures as well as mapping out the current “green movement” in our area through the work being done.
- GOAL: To engage Baltimore residents, corporations, government agencies, school and university systems, media outlets, for/non-profits and community members as one movement with many moving parts.
Visit our events page to see what’s happening this year!