EDITED BY JESS MAYHUGH, BALTIMORE MAGAZINE — Before any blueprints are drawn, renderings are developed, or ribbons are cut, all big ideas start with a vision. Whether it is the proverbial light-bulb moment or an idea that builds gradually, nagging away at us until it fully takes shape, change starts internally. And Baltimore is a city primed and ready for that sort of change. The following 30 people represent the impetus for this kind of revolution, putting their noses to the grindstone every day without much fanfare or limelight. In a time when the news is dominated by the negative, this group of change-makers, ages 16 to 66, is reinforcing the power of the positive. From developing virtual-reality programs and building accessible public transportation to educating kids through the arts and working to eradicate food deserts, these local luminaries are shaping the future of Baltimore—one big idea at a time.
Conserving energy to help communities
Dana Stein, 59
Executive director, Civic Works
For 25 years, Dana Stein has been marshaling the do-gooding foot soldiers in Civic Works as they make “tangible community improvements” throughout Baltimore. Often referred to as “an urban Peace Corps,” the nonprofit’s many programs—ranging from urban farming to home repairs for low-income residents and seniors—support six objectives: education, career training, healthy food access, energy conservation, community revitalization, and safe and affordable housing. As founder and executive director, Stein—a former corporate and trade attorney who grew up in Baltimore County and attended Milford Mill High School—has seen the nonprofit expand to command an annual budget of $10 million and employ 100. Many more than that are engaged as volunteers, and Civic Works’ Baltimore Center For Green Careers has produced 580 graduates since 2002. For the future, Stein is particularly enthusiastic about Civic Work’s Tiny House program, which he thinks could be “part of the [city’s] solution to homelessness.”
Check out the article featuring all 30 Baltimore Visionaries online at Baltimore magazine.