President & CEO
United Way of Central Maryland
As the president and CEO of the United Way of Central Maryland, Franklyn Baker believes that running the organization through an intentional equity lens is imperative for its success. Baker has served at the helm of United Way of Central Maryland for four years and has succeeded in attracting new groups of donors to continue to help the community.
Equity and growth are overarching principles at United Way, said Baker, and are embedded into every aspect of the work and culture of the organization, including employee recruitment, vendor selection, grant making, volunteerism, community engagement, and fundraising.
“At United Way, the work of equity, diversity and inclusion is not a focus mainly motivated by the social justice events of 2020; but rather, it is the critical and intentional lens through which we’ll look as long as we exist as an organization,” said Baker.
As a result of this shift in mindset at United Way, Baker said, the organization has grown substantially in recent years due in part to its commitment to ensure equitable outcomes in the communities it serves.
“We know the business case and imperative for engagement in this work is solidly documented regardless of sector, location or company size,” he said.
Before joining the United Way over four years ago, Baker was the chief operating officer at Greenpeace, overseeing organizational growth. He also served as chief operating officer and chief of staff for Volunteers of America Chesapeake. This career path helped him better understand the challenges United Way faced as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Baker’s focus on equity, diversity and growth has also shown how the organization – any organization Baker notes – can be more profitable and run more effectively.
“At United Way, the work of equity, diversity and inclusion is . . . the critical and intentional lens through which we’ll look as long as we exist as an organization.”
— Franklyn Baker