2017 Annual Meeting & Celebration

We honored six award recipients at our Annual Meeting & Celebration on November 1, 2017. Learn about them in their short bios below:

CARLOS MEDRANO, Youth Leadership Award (Individual)

Carlos, a student at Digital Harbor High School, inspires his peers to engage with the Latino community, he volunteers for several organizations on behalf of immigrant families, and he still manages to work part-time and keep up his grades.







BALTIMORE BEYOND PLASTIC, Youth Leadership Award (Group)

Baltimore Beyond Plastic is our Group Youth Leadership Award Winner. The organization was founded in 2016 by two teenagers fed up with our earth’s fascination and our city’s use of single-use plastics. The group is now building a homegrown student network from across Baltimore City in the fight to make plastics biodegradable and not harmful to us or to our planet.



COUNCILMAN ZEKE COHEN, Civic Leadership Award

Zeke Cohen is a life-long social justice advocate, teacher, non-profit director, home owner and lover of all things Baltimore. Zeke Cohen grew up in Northampton, Massachusetts, the son of a social worker and a psychiatrist. Zeke’s belief that “community comes first,” was inspired by his mother’s stories of marching for Civil Rights, and registering voters during the Mississippi Freedom Summer.




CARYN YORK, Champion of Change Award
A leader on policy issues impacting Maryland’s working poor, York has been a member of the Job Opportunities Task Force team for over six years. She has worked tirelessly to encourage key policymakers and stakeholders to adopt policies that eliminate educational and employment barriers and facilitate the successful entry, or re-entry, of low-wage, low-skill adult workers and jobseekers into the workforce. Caryn is the first African American female to lead the twenty-year organization.




HOLISTIC LIFE FOUNDATION, Community Partnership Award

Co-founders Ali Smith, Atman Smith, and Andres Gonzalez are committed to nurturing the wellness of children and adults in underserved communities. Through a comprehensive approach which helps children develop their inner lives through yoga, mindfulness, and self-care HLF demonstrates deep commitment to learning, community, and stewardship of the environment. HLF is also committed to developing high-quality evidence based programs and curriculum to improve community well-being.


GEORGE E. MITCHELL, President’s Award

Mitchell worked with Councilwoman Sharon Middleton and Council President Bernard C. “Jack” Young, as well as local state delegates, to gain use of the shuttered Langston Hughes Elementary School Building for a community resource center and library. The new center will be the first library in the Park Heights community in thirty years. Mitchell’s vision for the center includes computers for community use, a library for children and adults, classes for seniors, job training sessions, a culinary center, exercise, and art classes, and a rooftop garden to grow fresh produce.