There’s nothing quite like going back to your hometown—revisiting old stomping grounds, walking familiar streets, and reminiscing about the good ol’ days.
Enter Baltimore Homecoming, a brand-new initiative taking place October 3-5 that invites accomplished Baltimore expats back to reconnect with their roots and reinvest in the city through a series of private events. Launched in November by cofounders and Baltimore natives Nate Loewentheil, and J.M. Schapiro, this nonprofit project aims to employ the talent and resources of former Baltimoreans who have gone on to make an impact in their fields, such as SoulCycle CEO Melanie Whelan and actor Josh Charles.
With help from leaders in the city’s education, business, arts, and religious communities—co-chairs include actress Julie Bowen and Congressman Elijah Cummings—the one-time locals will participate in neighborhood tours, art and music presentations, talks with area business owners such as Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank, and field trips to local spaces including the Center for Urban Families and Living Classrooms’ Target Investment Zone in East Baltimore.
Loewentheil was inspired by Detroit’s annual Homecoming event, which has garnered more than $212 million in total investments over the past four years. “People from here have a strong sense of connection to the city,” he says. “There’s a reservoir of goodwill for Baltimore around the country that, right now, is untapped.”
The goal is that sharing the stories of local change makers, and connecting them to the honored guests, will help spread positive narratives about the city and encourage giving back. To that end, the nonprofit will be launching the inaugural Homecoming Hero awards to recognize five outstanding community members. Among the nominees is Brittany Young, the founder of social venture B360.
Young says her program’s message, which de-stigmatizes dirt bike riding by teaching local kids the STEM-related skills needed to build and maintain their wheels, goes hand in hand with that of this event. “Both projects are committed to telling positive stories about our city and collaborating with one another to build a stronger and better Baltimore,” says Young, “for now and for the future.”
With more than 400 Baltimore “alumni” invited to this first-ever event, the organizers hope that it will grow in size and scope every year by creating a network of guests devoted to giving back to the city. “I hope that for every year the city holds this event,” says Young, “that more positive examples of who Baltimore citizens are and what we bring to the table spread to the rest of the country.”