DPOB's Annual Meeting is taking place on October 10, from 5-8 PM at M&T Bank Exchange. Tickets are Now On-Sale!
July 16, 2024
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Established in 1983

of Service

Established in 1983

of Partnership

Established in 1983

of Dedication

Established in 1983

of Achievement

Together, We Make Downtown Baltimore Great

40 Years of Service

Over the past four decades, we have pioneered countless groundbreaking capital projects, continuously advocated for small businesses and residents, and have devoted ourselves to enhancing Downtown Baltimore through our steadfast focus on clean, green, and safe initiatives.

We owe our achievements to the unwavering support of our esteemed partners, stakeholders, and the businesses that have continuously demonstrated their dedication to our great city day after day, year after year. It is with profound gratitude that we aim to gather these invaluable supporters.

40 Years of Service

The History of Downtown Partnership


DPOB was created on December 3, 1983 by a group of engaged business owners and corporate stakeholders. Laurie Schwartz, DPOB’s first President, led the organization from a small shop in a borrowed office space to a thriving membership organization and advocacy organization. From the beginning, this organization excelled at meeting in the moment and being nimble, creating public-private partnerships to meet the needs of the community.


By 1992, the Downtown Partnership of Baltimore was punching above its weight and needed to create a new structure to manage the growing organization. The 90’s also brought on a time when stakeholders were advocating for increased marketing and economic development initiatives. Still under Laurie Schwartz’s leadership, DPOB was seasoned at creating agile solutions for the Downtown district.


DPOB saw new leaders take on exciting new projects at the turn of the century. Michele Whelley took over as President and brought with her a keen sense of economic development and focus on recruitment and retention. Kirby Fowler took the helm a few years later and followed suit, adding to the priorities: transportation issues, retail strategy, and creating a mixed-use urban core. The Downtown was facing a shift – businesses moving east with new developments and incentives. Keeping the core strong remained the organizations top priority


This decade marked a major emphasis on public spaces, Pratt Street, and conversions in order to create a valuable mixed-use district while recognizing the need to address homelessness and public safety concerns.

Homeless Outreach Team


During a period of uncertainty brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, we ushered in the new decade with a change in leadership and a strategic realignment of our priorities. Shelonda Stokes took over as President and the team got to work creating economic programs to address the pandemic retail shake-up. Since then, the focus has been on stabilizing Downtown with immediate needs while reimagining Downtown Baltimore for the next 40 years

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Partner Stories


The Heart of Baltimore: 10 Businesses and Partners Shaping Downtown’s Future

In alignment with Downtown Partnership of Baltimore’s mission, we are proud to spotlight ten businesses and partners whose commitment to Downtown Baltimore mirrors our own.

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