We are excited to announce the Innovation Works’ Baltimore Neighborhood Economics Lab, scheduled to take place at Coppin State University on Thursday, May 30th, from 9:00 AM to 4:30 PM. This event serves as a platform to discuss community and economic development strategies, with a goal of fostering a collaborative space where diverse perspectives can converge into action. Your participation is crucial as we work towards a sustainable future for Baltimore’s neighborhoods.

The event will feature a variety of labs, enterprises, community partners, and facilitators. You will have the opportunity to participate in multiple labs, each designed to address specific aspects of economic and community development.

These labs are intended to encourage vigorous discussion, promote solutions, and motivate collective efforts to improve the economic conditions of Baltimore City.

Register Now: Baltimore Neighborhood Economics Lab Event

A Guide to the Baltimore Neighborhood Economics Lab


Main Stage Event: Fireside Chat with Trevor Pryce

Overcoming Challenges for Local Economic Growth – A Look into Trevor Pryce’s Entrepreneurial Journey.

Kicking off the Baltimore Neighborhood Economics Lab, this fireside chat features Trevor Pryce, a local entrepreneur celebrated for his shift from NFL stardom to spearheading the innovative Outlook/OVFX animation studio. This conversation will explore Trevor’s extraordinary shift from the world of professional football to leading the charge in creative entrepreneurship. In this session, Trevor will share about his  journey, offering insights into challenges and triumphs that have marked his path.


Integrated Capital for Social Enterprises

This session provides a detailed look at the entrepreneurial journey of local social enterprises, examining essential aspects of their development from inception to their future growth goals. Participants will have the opportunity to engage with entrepreneurs and industry leaders to discuss and develop strategies for utilizing integrated capital and resources effectively. The focus will be on how these enterprises can leverage financial and other support to fulfill their ambitious growth objectives.

Featured Enterprises:

Nkenge Yasin

Learning How, Inc.

Learning How, was founded in 2000 by Nkenge Yasin. For the past 20 years, Learning How has been the solution for parents and community needs. Over it’s 20 years in business, Learning How! has evolved from Busy Bee’s Family Child Care with a capacity of 8 children to Learning How! Care Center with 31 students as we learned the needs of children stretched far beyond the care we provided in the physical location. Learning How!, an acronym that defines our values is committed to leveraging its trusting relationships with families to connect the to resources that allow them to thrive.






Travis Bell

Black Acres Coffee

Travis Bell, the driving force behind Black Acres Roastery, started with a simple goal: to make a good cup of coffee. He didn’t expect this pursuit to grow into a successful social enterprise that goes beyond just great taste. Travis aimed not only to create exceptional coffee but also to make a positive difference in communities. To break into the highly competitive coffee market, he needed more than just a love for coffee; he needed to reach the right customers. gnite Capital came in to help Travis and Black Acres Roastery. With their support, Travis could take his business to new levels. Black Acres Roastery has entered major markets, including popular spots like Trader Joe’s and Lexington Market.





Marvin and Aleah Montague

Meat The Mushroom

Marvin and Aleah Montague, the innovative minds behind ‘Meat The Mushroom’, have been making waves in the food industry with their unique plant-based meat alternative. Inspired by Marvin’s seven-year commitment to veganism, their mission is to offer healthier and more sustainable eating options. In pursuit of expanding their venture, they sought financial backing and found a partner in Ignite Capital, a subsidiary of Innovation Works, who recognized their potential and provided the necessary funds to propel them forward. Their entrepreneurial journey took a significant leap after showcasing their business on ABC’s Shark Tank, where they successfully struck a deal with investors Kevin O’Leary and Lori Greiner. This exposure not only elevated their market presence but also opened doors to further opportunities.


Community Engagement and Neighborhood Plans

Engage with community leaders who have effectively navigated complex neighborhood planning processes. Participants will learn about the innovative approaches these leaders have adopted, the valuable lessons they have accumulated, and the exciting opportunities awaiting as plans move into implementation. This lab provides insights into successful community planning strategies and highlights how these leaders are actively shaping the future of neighborhoods such as Park Heights, Cherry Hill, and West Baltimore. Explore how strategic planning and community collaboration can lead to substantial developments in urban settings.

Featured Communities/Partners:


Yolanda Jiggetts

Chief Executive Officer

Park Heights Renaissance

Yolanda Jiggetts currently serves as the Chief Executive Officer of Park Heights Renaissance, Inc, where she works with residents and stakeholders to ensure effective implementation of the Park Heights master plan.




Zeevelle Nottingham-Lemon

Founding Executive Director

Cherry Hill Strong

Zeevelle “Z.” Nottingham-Lemon is Founding Executive Director of Cherry Hill Strong, the non-profit community quarterback organization working with residents and other community stakeholders to lead equitable revitalization by employing the Purpose Built Communities model.




Chad Williams

Executive Director

West North Avenue Development Authority

Chad Williams has 30 years of experience in the affordable housing, community planning, economic development, and banking sectors. He has led public-private partnerships to improve redevelopment of land use, neighborhood transformation, mixed-use economic revitalization, and transit-oriented development in urban communities. As Executive Director for the West North Avenue Development Authority (WNADA), a State of Maryland independent economic development agency for Baltimore City, Chad leads efforts to create and implement a resident-inspired comprehensive revitalization plan for 16 neighborhoods along the West North Avenue corridor to catalyze economic renewal in West Baltimore.

Facilitated By: Eric Stephenson, Vice President of the Baltimore City Planning Commission and President of the Sandtown South Neighborhood Alliance


Government Policy & Programs

Explore the significant impact of historical and current government policies on the racial wealth gap in Baltimore.  Learn about innovative policies advocated for by local social entrepreneurs to mitigate these impacts and learn strategies for partnering with local organizations to organize and advocate for new policies and programs addressing the racial wealth gap.

Featured Policies Include:


The SB 445 – Appraisal Gap From Historic Redlining Financial Assistance Program


Bree Jones Founder of Parity

Bree Jones is the founder of Parity, a West Baltimore-based development company focused on affordable homeownership and community building in neighborhoods marked by extensive vacancies. Her work is rooted in “Development Without Displacement,” aiming to revitalize historically redlined areas without displacing long-time residents. Bree’s initiatives have received acclaim from various publications, including the Washington Post and Fast Company, and she has spoken extensively, including a TED talk. Before starting Parity, she had a successful finance career involving deal structuring and venture capital.


Community Reinvestment and Repair Fund – Cannabis Legalization

Lawrence Grandpre

Director of Research

Leaders of a Beautiful Struggle

Lawrence Grandpre is Director of Research for Leaders of a Beautiful Struggle. His focuses include drug policy, criminal justice, police accountability, and community-based economic/educational development. He is the co-author of “The Black Book” and his work has been featured in The Guardian, The Baltimore Sun, Time Magazine and Black Agenda Report. He is also the co-host of the In Search of Black Power Podcast.




Mayor’s Office of African American Engagement

Dr. Andrey Bundley


Dr. Andrey L. Bundley grew up in Baltimore’s Whitelock Neighborhood and attended Baltimore City Public Schools. He holds a BS in Special Education from Coppin State University and both an MEd in Counselor Education and a Doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction from Penn State University. Dr. Bundley started his career in education in 1985 at Harlem Park Middle School and later served as Principal at Greenspring Middle School and Walbrook High School Uniform Services Academy. His work focuses on improving youth life quality. He is currently the Director of the Mayor’s Office of African American Male Engagement in Baltimore.


Introduction by: Dr. Lawrence T. Brown, The Black Butterfly

Facilitated by: Darius A. Stanton,Co-founder and former CEO of The Stanton Group


Real Estate & Commercial Development

This session will delve into how the built environment and real estate have impacted the racial wealth gap in historically disinvested communities. Social entrepreneurs specializing in commercial or mixed-use real estate development will present their projects, outline their challenges, and discuss future opportunities. They will emphasize the resources and partnerships needed. Participants will have the chance to exchange ideas and develop collaborative strategies to assist these entrepreneurs in achieving their visions and promoting equitable development in Baltimore’s communities.


Pennsylvania Avenue Black Arts District.

Lady Brion, Founder and Executive Director of Black Arts District

Lady Brion is an international spoken word artist, poetry coach, activist, organizer, educator. She received her B.A. in Applied Communication from Howard University and her MFA in Creative Writing & Publishing Design from the University of Baltimore.





Abe Dua Residences Park Heights

Nicole Earle, Founder of Dominion Real Estate, LLC

Nicole Earle has nearly three decades of experience in real estate development, finance, and construction. She has an esteemed history of executive leadership in banking and is an expert in underwriting, portfolio management, and tax credit deals including: Low-Income Housing Tax Credit, Tax-Exempt Bonds and New Market Tax Credit projects.

Facilitated By: Nneka Nnamdi, Fight Blight Bmore



Coppin Heights CDC

Pastor Meldon Dickens, Executive Director Coppin Heights Community Development Corporation




Essential Information for Attendees

  • Continental Breakfast & Lunch: Enjoy a complimentary continental breakfast and lunch, providing perfect opportunities to network and refuel throughout the day.
  • Complimentary Happy Hour Networking Mixer: Conclude the day by connecting with fellow attendees at our mixer, designed to foster new collaborations and friendships.
  • Parking: Please note that parking will be available at the event venue. Attendees are required to pay at the kiosk and must display their parking ticket on their vehicle’s dashboard. The rate is $2 per hour, with a maximum daily charge of $12.
  • Registration:  Registration is now open for the Baltimore Neighborhood Economics Lab. During the registration process, you have the option to choose the labs you wish to participate in.  Please register by visiting the Baltimore Neighborhood Economics Lab to secure your spot.Make sure to complete your registration early, as spaces in each lab are limited and will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis.

We look forward to welcoming you to a day filled with insightful discussions, networking, and collaborative opportunities designed to positively impact the future of Baltimore City.


Schedule Overview

  • 8:00am – 9:00am: Check-In and Breakfast


  • 9:00am – 10:00am: Opening Session
    • Welcoming Remarks
    • Keynote: Fireside Chat with Trevor Pryce


  • 10:00am – 12:30pm: Morning Labs
    • Integrated Capital for Social Enterprises Lab
    • Community Engagement & Neighborhood Plans Lab


  • 12:30pm – 1:30pm: Lunch Break


  • 1:30pm – 3:30pm: Afternoon Sessions
    • Government Policy & Programs
    • Real Estate & Commercial Development


  • 3:30pm – 4:30pm: Closing Session and Facilitated Debrief
  • 4:30pm – 6:00pm: Happy Hour and Networking