Hundreds of Balitimore’s finest corporate and community leaders joined together at the Baltimore Convention Center on a brisk November evening for Downtown Partnership’s Annual Meeting, presented by Baker Donelson. True to form, this sold-out event served as a remarkable occasion to celebrate Downtown Baltimore’s achievements, recognize the critical role that DPOB and partners have played in shaping progress in Baltimore, and launch the 40th Anniversary Edition of the Annual Report.
DPOB President Shelonda Stokes shared the stage with distinguished leaders, Senator Ben Cardin, Senator Chris Van Hollen, Governor Wes Moore, Mayor Brandon Scott, and Councilman Eric Costello who all echoed the same sentiment — that Baltimore is on the verge of greatness seeing collective investment and commitment on City, State, and Federal levels.
As Governor Moore said, “It’s Maryland’s decade, but it’s Baltimore’s time.”
President Stokes engaged the audience by challenging them to continue to rise to the occasion as Baltimore has been during this time of evolution and change. Her address not only emphasized the importance of continued collaboration and partnership, but served as a reminder that connecting assets, making downtown safer, creating place, and coalescing leadership will lead us to a successful future. She did not shy away from acknowledging the greatest threat to Downtown Partnership – declining property assessments – but was hopeful the current momentum can take that $6.5 billion and double it.
“DPOB will continue our history of being the constant, the stabilizer, the convener, the galvanizer, and the implementer. Together, we are turning it up and delivering results for Downtown Baltimore NOW,” said Shelonda Stokes. “Come see for yourself, and lock arms with us as we continue to Rise to the Occasion for another 40 years.”
Fellow Baltimore believer, Mayor Brandon Scott took the opportunity to unveil the Downtown Baltimore RISE Action Plan: a Roadmap for Investment, Support and Equity for Downtown Baltimore’s next chapter.
“Downtown RISE – Baltimore’s Downtown Action plan will serve as a blueprint for downtown Baltimore’s next chapter, charting a path toward a downtown that is even more dynamic, inclusive, and prosperous,” stated Mayor Scott.
The plan, developed in partnership with the Downtown Partnership of Baltimore, Baltimore Development Corporation, Greater Baltimore Committee, Waterfront Partnership, Live Baltimore, Visit Baltimore and other key stakeholders, will focus on Public Safety and Cleanliness, Community and Economic Development, Arts, Culture, Entertainment and Placemaking, and Infrastructure Development .
Annual Meeting is also an opportunity to highlight five people and/or businesses who have demonstrated outstanding commitment to Downtown Baltimore.
2023 marks 40 years as organization, and 40 years of dedication to Downtown. Over the past four decades, we have been at the forefront of groundbreaking capital projects, staunchly advocated for small businesses and residents, and dedicated ourselves to enhancing Downtown Baltimore through our steadfast focus on clean, green, and safe. Read the full report here.
Annual Meeting also marked an exciting opportunity to announce the newest Board Chair of the Downtown Partnership and Downtown Management Authority Boards — Carim Khouzami, President and CEO at Baltimore Gas & Electric.
Our Board members have for decades been laser-focused on adding vibrancy and vitality to the Downtown core. This group, and the dedicated members before them, have been the backbone of our organization that has always punched above its weight.
At BGE, Khouzami oversees safety, reliability, customer service, financial performance and the company’s commitment to creating a diverse, equitable, and inclusive culture. His role at BGE, coupled with influential positions on boards like the Baltimore Community Foundation, Baltimore Development Corporation, and Johns Hopkins Hospital, position him as a transformative figure for Downtown. DPOB is excited to see where his leadership takes the organization in the coming years.
Khouzami replaces Mark Wasserman, who is stepping down after a successful 3 years at the helm. Mark has been involved with Downtown Partnership since the beginning, representing the City, State, and Non-profit partners throughout his terms. Mark was asked to step in as Board Chair when Shelonda took over as President and has been a tremendous resource during this transformative time.