More than 150 Baltimore alumni – men and women who were born, raised or work here – returned to the city this week for three days of panels, city tours and conversations that celebrated Baltimore and its achievements.
Inspired by a similar event in Detroit, Baltimore Homecoming drew notables such as actor Josh Charles, Sony Pictures Entertainment chair Tom Rothman, Cal Ripken Jr. and more. Alums learned about projects such as Thread, a group that helps underperforming high school students, TradePoint Atlantic, a new development in Sparrows Point, and FastForward, a technology initiative from Johns Hopkins University.
The attention has already paid off: Boston-based One8 Foundation has pledged $6 million to Thread’s program.
Baltimore Homecoming also recognized five area change makers. They are: Erricka Bridgeford, organizer of Baltimore Ceasefire; Major Monique Brown, commander of Baltimore’s Southern Police District; Alphonso Mayo, founder of Mentoring Mentors, a program for young African-American men; Brittany Young, founder of B360 which encourages interest in STEM; and Mr. Trash Wheel, a clean harbor project from the Waterfront Partnership.
Each of these five winners received $3,000.
City alumni were joined by locals for a well-attended gala reception on Thursday at Rye Street Tavern. Organizers Nate Loewentheil and JM Schapiro told those gathered that the homecoming was much more than a party; it was a chance to shine light on the city’s accomplishments.
Rothman spoke about his career in Hollywood and asked the audience if they had ever wondered why so many creative people grew up in Baltimore. Then he rattled off a list of movies, such as “Slum Dog Millionaire,” “Full Monty” and the Baltimore-set “Diner” — movies with such specific stories they are universal. Baltimore is like that, he said. Specific, and full of character.
“Out of that specificity and that character, great creativity arises,” he said.
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