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Future Baltimore Earns Prestigious National Award

Stacy M. Brown | 7/27/2018, 6 a.m.
In 2017, Kaiser Permanente announced a $1.7 million commitment to launch a neighborhood revitalization project in partnership with Bon Secours ...
Dr. Destiny-Simone Ramjohn, Director of Community Health, Kaiser Permanente of the Mid-Atlantic Courtesy Photo

In 2017, Kaiser Permanente announced a $1.7 million commitment to launch a neighborhood revitalization project in partnership with Bon Secours that both entities said would advance health equity and economic opportunity in West Baltimore.

The announcement was built on previous planning grants to Bon Secours Community Works and solidified a long-term partnership between Kaiser Permanente, Bon Secours and several communities in the 21223-zip code.

Today, officials at Future Baltimore, the flagship partnership between Bon Secours and Kaiser Permanente, received national recognition for its exemplary partnership to transform an entire zip code in West Baltimore.

The U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Council on Foundations (COF) announced the 2018 winners of The Secretary’s Award for Public Philanthropic Partnerships, a national award presented by HUD Secretary Ben Carson at HUD headquarters in Washington recognizing 10 foundations and their public-sector partners for collaborations to transform communities and improve lives.

“We are deeply humbled to have our transformative initiative recognized by HUD and COF. It gives us national visibility and will only help enhance what we are accomplishing on the ground,” said Dr. Destiny-Simone Ramjohn, Kaiser Permanente of the Mid-Atlantic’s director of community health. “Future Baltimore is the cornerstone of Bon Secours, Kaiser, and neighborhood leaders that are attempting to leverage the power of hope and partnership to dramatically disrupt the inequity in [the area].”

Future Baltimore remains dedicated and focused on addressing the social, economic and health needs of community members who live in three neighborhoods in the 21223-zip code, which includes Fayette Street Outreach, Boyd Booth and Franklin Square.

The centerpiece of the Bon Secours and Kaiser Permanente collaboration is the renovation of an abandoned library located one block south of Bon Secours Baltimore Hospital at 31 S. Payson Street. The plan is to transform the property into a community resource center to house support for issues ranging from health care to economic and social services.

The community resource center will be supported by local partners.

“The partnership between Bon Secours and Kaiser Permanente is building relationships and changing lives in West Baltimore. Neighbors are excited about the transformation underway and look forward to taking the journey into a Future Baltimore with us,” Dr. Samuel Ross of Bon Secours Baltimore said in a statement.

Also, in a statement, Secretary Carson praised the collaborative approach to service that he said would lead to solutions to help the most vulnerable communities.

“I’m pleased to recognize these award winners for the important work they do to serve the housing, health, and safety and educational needs of their fellow Americans,” Dr. Carson said.

The cross-sector partnerships demonstrated among the winners highlight the power of collaboration, said COF president and CEO Gene Cochrane.

The unofficial model of the Future Baltimore program is “Nothing about me without me,” Ramjohn said, meaning that the organizations serve at the pleasure of the community and responds to their needs.

She said the partnership has nine programs that address four community health needs; mental health, economic security, health care access and community safety.

“We are in this for the long haul,” Ramjohn said. “We will consider it successful when we have disrupted the cycle of poverty, disrupted inequity in [the zip code] and when we see expanded opportunities for employment and affordable housing and communities that are hopeful and socially adhesive.

“We have to make sure we’re agile enough to continue to be a good partner because it’s the kind of issues that can’t be solved overnight.

“We plan to be lock-step in the community and responding to their needs.”