Ellen Janes, Executive Director
Ellen Janes began her career in Baltimore at the Neighborhood Design Center, where she served as Executive Director from 1989 to 1995. During her tenure, she tripled the size of the organization and managed over a 100 projects a year – Projects that ranged from transforming vacant lots into new playgrounds, to creating community and commercial district master plans.
She next served as the first Assistant Secretary for Neighborhood Revitalization in the history of the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development under Governor Parris Glendenning. Under Janes’ leadership, a series of innovations in Maryland redevelopment was introduced, including the Neighborhood BusinessWorks loan program, the Community Investment Tax Credit and the Community Legacy grant program.
In 2003, Ms Janes joined the legendary Senator Barbara Mikulski’s office, where she supervised a staff of 20 in 5 regional offices with responsibility for instate: project, legislative and constituent service and outreach activity. She did that until 2008, when she moved over to the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond’s Baltimore Branch. Among her achievements there were Redefining Rust Belt, a two-year series of video conference discussions involving community leaders from Baltimore, Cleveland, Detroit, and Philadelphia that she conceived and directed; and the Maryland Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Roundtable – which she launched in partnership with the Annie E. Casey Foundation and the National Opportunity Finance Network. Since the advent of the CDFI Roundtable, just over two years ago, CDFI lending and program activity in Baltimore has more than tripled.
Ms. Janes outstanding work was recognized by 1,000 Friends of Maryland in 2014 when she was declared a Smart Growth Hero. Also in 2014, she was the recipient of the Maryland Sustainable Growth Commission’s Leadership and Service Award for exemplary community development efforts. In 2009, she received the Citizens Planning and Housing Association’s prestigious Frances Morton Froelicher Civic Statesmanship Award.
Ashley Wallace, Deputy Director
For the past five years, Ashley Wallace, has managed major community planning aspects of the Homewood Community Partners Initiative (HCPI) agenda by advancing CBP’s major quality-of-life, transportation, TOD, and other commercial and housing initiatives in Central Baltimore. She received her graduate degree in urban and regional planning from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2009, where she was a member of a multi-disciplinary academic research team consulting on community organizing, land use and wetland restoration planning in New Orleans, LA.
Prior to making Baltimore and CBP her home, she worked for the State of Wisconsin’s Comprehensive Planning Grant Program and a Midwest-based private planning firm, Crispell-Snyder, as their Planning Assistant and Interim Lead Community Planner. She earned an undergraduate degree in Peace, Conflict and Global Studies with a Community Organization concentration from Northland College.
Jack Danna, Director of Commercial Revitalization
Jack Danna began his career in Baltimore in 2001 as the Director of the Pigtown Main Street Program, located on Washington Boulevard. During his six year tenure, he led a community-based commercial revitalization initiative modeled after the National Main Street Program. This effort included creation of the Annual Pigtown Festival (along with its signature event – the “Running of the Pigs”), to focus attention on the neighborhood’s pride and history. The long-running festival is still popular today. Danna also created a $275,000 revolving loan fund to support commercial development and business recruitment, and implemented an aggressive facade restoration program. His work was recognized at the National Main Street Conference in Baltimore in 2005 for excellence in urban commercial district revitalization. Prior to leaving in 2007, Danna completed one of Baltimore’s most successful community-led eminent domain efforts – a $2.75 million initiative along Washington Boulevard (Pigtown’s Main Street).
In 2007, Danna joined the Local Initiative Support Corporation’s (LISC) Commercial Markets Advisory division in New York City until 2010. In this capacity, he helped plan LISC’s Urban Forum 2008 – a national planning and community development conference – in Indianapolis, Indiana. He also assisted in the creation of a comprehensive retail district market analysis for Downtown New Rochelle, New York, and managed the Commercial Markets Advisory online resource catalogue that serves 50 urban community development affiliates nationwide.
Danna has a Master’s Degree in Urban Studies from Queens College in New York City. He completed a graduate thesis titled “Contesting Willets Point in the Aspirational City.” The thesis examined the planning concepts behind New York City’s $4 billion redevelopment plan for Willets Point located in the immigrant community of Corona, Queens. The thesis also evaluated the effectiveness of the City’s Willets Point Worker Assistance Program designed to mitigate worker displacement as result of the development plan.
Danna resides close to Central Baltimore in the Mount Vernon, neighborhood, with his cat, Paco.
Jessica Josey, Marketing Coordinator
Jessica Josey, a Washington, D.C. native, is now a proud resident of Central Baltimore’s Charles Village. Jessica received a bachelor’s degree from Towson University in Mass Communications with a focus in Strategic Public Relations. During her four years, Jessica helped plan the School of Communications’ Annual Networking Fair, in which she obtained local sponsorship and provided Towson students with internship and career opportunities. Jessica also served as the Media Chair for the university’s National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), where she focused on the issues concerning the Towson and Baltimore City community. While an undergraduate, Jessica interned for the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra’s public relations department.
Jessica’s work at CBP, focuses on promoting the remarkable assets of Central Baltimore. Outside of CBP, Jessica is actively involved in volunteer work in the Baltimore community, including the community service initiatives of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.
Aaron Kaufman, Community Projects Manager
Aaron Kaufman earned his BBA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in Management and Human Resources and International Business with a certificate in Criminal Justice. He is coming to the community development world after, most recently, spending four years in the National Rail and Public Entity Practice at Aon Risk Solutions. However, over the years, Aaron has worked heavily in youth leadership programming with the Boys and Girls Club of Metropolitan Baltimore, with returning citizens in the Madison Public Defender’s Office and Living Classrooms, as well as in young professional civic engagement. He currently serves as the President for University of Wisconsin-Madison alumni Baltimore area chapter and on the GIVE Program Advisory Board for the Business Volunteers of Maryland. In his free time, Aaron is an avid participant in social sports and hopes to be able to hike in every US National Park during his lifetime.
As Community Projects Manager, Aaron Kaufman builds and manages coalitions of neighborhood organizations and a wide-range of stakeholders throughout Central Baltimore, focusing on CBP’s Front and Center Equity Plan.
Edward Weiss, Digital Content Manager
Edward Weiss (who provides contract services to CBP through Edward Weiss Words and Pictures) is a native New Yorker, who spent much of his youth in Baltimore while visiting his grandparents, before moving here in 2012. He currently provides services to CBP on a contract basis, creating and supervising content for both the organization’s website and its Explore the Core campaign. This website was created by him in WordPress using the Sydney Pro theme.
Previously, serving as CBP’s Communication Manager (its first communications employee at the managerial level), he created all the new external communications content (words and pictures) that came online in a 2 year stint between 2014- 2016. He also created the organization’s first cross-platform information infrastructure. Results included a 500% annual increase in press coverage (over the previous 12 month period prior to his employment), and a 1000% percent increase in social media organic impressions to an average of more than 70,000 per month.
In a previous stint managing communications and public relations for market researcher Packaged Facts, Weiss created a newsletter “Press News from Packaged Facts” that generated 775+ major media stories and was quoted by every major newspaper, business publication, and TV network in the U.S. He also served as an occasional spokesperson, including appearances on CNN and NBC, and in print outlets ranging from consumer (such as the New York Times) to trade publications (such as Ad Age). Weiss left that position in 1996 to become a freelance content producer working in a variety of fields including book publishing, journalism, and web development, and to pursue a career in art. Over this period he managed projects and wore a variety of hats (researcher, writer, editor, web creator, and occasional illustrator & designer). His illustrated book Peter Pigeon of Snug Harbor won the 2006 COAHSI Award for Literary Excellence sponsored by JP Morgan Chase. In 2011, his public art project, The Forgotten History of Staten Island was awarded an Original Work Grant from N Y State. He has also served as a grant panelist for the New York State Council of the Arts. And his work is in the collection of the Smithsonian Archives of American Art.