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Calvin Butler and Brian Pieninck: It’s more than just a merger

Calvin Butler and Brian Pieninck: It’s more than just a merger

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The Greater Baltimore region is rich in assets supported by diverse industry sectors and is uniquely positioned in the Northeast corridor. For decades, the Greater Baltimore Committee and the Economic Alliance of Greater Baltimore have independently sought to enhance and market those assets, each working in partnership with the area’s business, community and civic leaders.

With the pandemic significantly impacting the way we work and the way businesses operate, and revealing the importance of our interconnected, regional economy, the opportunity to join our organizations to meaningfully drive sustainable and equitable change across the region’s businesses and local communities became clear.

This is the reasoning behind the upcoming merger of GBC and EAGB. But this move is much more than the combination of two regional organizations. We recognize that together we can do more to meaningfully drive sustainable and equitable change across the region’s businesses and local communities than we can separately.

This is a pivotal first step to convene the region’s diverse stakeholders towards an aligned, collaborative, and prioritized view of what should be addressed to propel Baltimore as the regional and national economic force it can be.

Collective effort, collective vision

There is an understandable tendency in the business community to focus attention within our known spheres of influence, including the ways we think about what we are able to do in the communities that are home to our employees, customers and assets. It’s a view that can keep the business community from recognizing their broader role in forging economic development as well as  social change.

This merger leverages the power of partnership to create sustainable growth in Baltimore, tapping into the richness of our history, diversity and expertise across the region. It represents a power that grows exponentially when we work together within and with the communities we serve and with diverse voices.

Moving forward, our newly merged organization can be an engine for economic and civic advancement. We’ll rev up this engine through a conversation with all stakeholders. Listening first before we act, we’ll prioritize our initiatives and establish region-wide common goals and objectives for maximum impact and increased equity.

The past and the future

In a region steeped in history, it makes sense to acknowledge our past while planning for the future. The unmet challenges of our region exist for many complex reasons, not the least of which is long-standing inequality and the many social determinants that go along with it.

Recognizing that our past approach has been fragmented and siloed, our efforts have tended towards symptomatic relief without addressing root causes. We believe our combined organization will become a hub of innovation and solutions for civic leaders, businesses and communities. A future of profitable economic growth that lifts our communities is in our hands if we join together.

Our merger is launched in the spirit of leveraging the unique assets of our region to build an equitable future. The mid-Atlantic region has underused assets that range from its ports – which offer businesses involved in every role in the supply chain unique opportunities – to educational institutions, which produce talent pools and centers of innovation.

Embracing a new, collaborative approach requires us to dare to imagine what is possible as we join together to lay the groundwork that will benefit our region for years and generations to come.

We ask all area leaders, from community advocates, faith-based organizations, nonprofits and foundations, higher education institutions, and businesses in all phases of their own stories, to join us to develop a clear vision of a future-ready Greater Baltimore. Together, we can grow in our understanding of the challenges our region faces – and the promise and potential our region possesses – and working toward sustainable, meaningful change in a way that benefits us all.

We welcome you to join us.

Calvin G. Butler, Jr., is chair of the Greater Baltimore Committee. Brian D. Pieninck is chair of the Economic Alliance of Greater Baltimore.


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