Spotlight on Philanthropy
UMB’s new Community Engagement Center on South Poppleton Street is nearly seven times larger than the original center that opened in 2015.
UMB’s new Community Engagement Center on South Poppleton Street is nearly seven times larger than the original center that opened in 2015.

Building a Legacy of Community Engagement

In August 2020, the renovation of the historic 20,000-square-foot building on South Poppleton Street was completed, bringing the property back to life as the University of Maryland, Baltimore’s (UMB) new Community Engagement Center (CEC).

Although the CEC — in  compliance with the state of Maryland’s COVID-19 precautions —  has been operating virtually since the pandemic began, its continued operation demonstrates the value the CEC team brings to the community. During a recent focus group aimed at identifying the most pressing community needs, a respondent said that when they thought of the CEC, they said it was a “pillar of our community providing strength.” Another respondent said they were filled with hopefulness when they thought of the CEC.

To solidify the CEC as a safe space that will have long-term dedication to the community, the UMB Office of Philanthropy is launching a fundraising campaign to create an endowment that would sustain the center in perpetuity. Securing funds to ensure continued operations will allow the CEC to meet residents’ most pressing and immediate needs while also planning long-term initiatives and partnerships with neighbors that will strengthen community development.

This campaign aims to envelop friends of the CEC at all levels. We are grateful for the donors recognized on our Welcome Way and for our “Foundation Pillars” who donated significant support to the CEC prior to opening. These donors include Amerigroup Charitable Foundation; Pete Buzy; Marco and Debbie Chacón; the Dubin family; the France-Merrick Foundation; the Gibbons Family Foundation; Joseph R. Hardiman; the Hearst Foundation; the Linehan family; M&T Bank; Jay A. Perman, MD; the Shelter Foundation; the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development; Under Armour; Whiting-Turner; and Ellen H. Yankellow, PharmD.

Donors to the CEC endowment will be recognized as “Community Investors” and given the opportunity to name classrooms, workspaces, labs, wellness rooms, a workout studio, and spaces for family engagement for permanent legacy in the community. The family of UMB Foundation Board of Trustees chair Harry Knipp, MD, FACR, generously donated a lead gift and will be recognized in the CEC’s Healthcare Hub.

To learn more about ways you can support the CEC, visit the Community Campus website or contact Meredith Upton, director of corporate and foundation relations, at

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Kate Tafelski

Kate Tafelski is a senior program specialist in the Office of Philanthropy at the University of Maryland, Baltimore.