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Local Civic Leader Alicia Wilson to Join Johns Hopkins as Vice President for Economic Development

New Role Further Elevates Hopkins’ City-Focused Initiatives  

Wednesday, June 19, 2019
CONTACT: Karen Lancaster
Office: 443-997-9909
Cell: 240-370-9319
klancaster@jhu.edu  @JHUmediareps

Alicia Wilson

Alicia Wilson, an accomplished attorney and civic leader with deep expertise in creating local economic opportunity, has been appointed vice president for economic development for Johns Hopkins University and Johns Hopkins Health System.  She will lead the newly-created Office of Economic Development when she joins the organization in July.

Wilson, a Baltimore native, has deep ties to business, community and civic institutions across the city, and brings to Hopkins more than a decade of experience forging effective partnerships between public, private, and non-profit institutions to increase economic and social opportunity in Baltimore.

In this new role, Wilson will lead a core team driving Johns Hopkins’ institution-wide strategy and initiatives as an anchor institution in and around Baltimore, and elevating and expanding Hopkins signature commitment to the city through investments in economic and neighborhood development, healthcare, and education.  Her efforts will build on the success of existing impactful programs and investments such as HopkinsLocal, BLocal, the East Baltimore Development Initiative (EBDI), and Homewood Community Partners Initiative (HCPI).

“I’m honored to join the leadership team of the most significant institution in our city and region dedicated to economic development,” said Wilson. “This is an incredible opportunity to help drive what has long been a signature priority for Johns Hopkins and its leadership and take it even further.”

Wilson joins Johns Hopkins from the Port Covington Development team, a group comprised of partners, stakeholders and investors from Plank Industries, Sagamore Development, Goldman Sachs Urban Investment Group and Weller Development Company.  Since 2016 she has served as Senior Vice President of Impact Investments and Senior Legal Counsel for Port Covington Impact Investments and Vice President of Community Affairs and Legal Advisor for Sagamore Development Company.  She led the development and implementation of community engagement, economic development, and impact investment strategies.  Under her leadership, the company expanded its investments in and engagement with communities across the city and executed the largest community benefits agreement in Baltimore City history as part of one of the nation’s largest redevelopment projects. Prior to her work with the Port Covington Development team, Wilson spent eight years as a labor and employment and litigation partner at Gordon Feinblatt LLC.

“We are thrilled to welcome to our leadership team someone with Alicia’s depth of knowledge and experience who also shares Johns Hopkins deep and abiding commitment to the success of Baltimore and the region,” said Johns Hopkins University President Ronald J. Daniels. “We look forward to working with Alicia to forge even stronger ties between the university, health system, and our surrounding communities and work together to create opportunity for our neighbors and city we all call home.”

Wilson starts her new role on July 29. Her office will be on the Homewood campus and she will report to Johns Hopkins University President Ronald J. Daniels and Kevin Sowers, president of the Johns Hopkins Health System and executive vice president of Johns Hopkins Medicine.

“With our existing programs, to be grown and expanded under Alicia’s strong leadership, a clearer picture emerges of a rejuvenated Baltimore that reflects our collective aspirations for what we can achieve when we commit ourselves to achieve a common goal,” said Sowers. “We have only scratched the surface of what we can accomplish together.”

“We are so excited for this tremendous opportunity for Alicia and cannot thank her enough for all she and her team have done to build out and set up Port Covington’s community affairs and impact programs for a sustainable future,” said Marc Weller, the lead developer of Port Covington. “We are thrilled that she will continue to build upon her growing body of work fostering economic progress here in Baltimore and connecting local residents to career and job opportunities. Alicia has a contagious energy full of positivity and light, and Johns Hopkins couldn’t have picked a better professional to head their new Office of Economic Development.”

Johns Hopkins continues to build on its strong foundation of locally-focused initiatives. These include:

  • HopkinsLocal, an effort launched in 2015 through the University and Medical entities to bolster Baltimore though local building, hiring and buying, surpassed its three-year goals. The institution hired 1,017 residents living in distressed areas of the city, increasing spending with city vendors by $54 million, and committed 23.5 percent of construction spending to minority-owned, women-owned, and disadvantaged businesses in fiscal year 2018, or $48.5 million.  During the same three-year period, the university and health system hired 402 citizens returning from incarceration.
  • BLocal, a partnership that now includes 28 local companies led by Johns Hopkins, pledged to create more economic opportunity in Baltimore. After its first three years, the effort exceeded its goals for purchasing or construction with local and minority vendors, spending or committing $97 million in 2018 alone. The BLocal partners also eclipsed their original hiring goals, hiring 1,729 Baltimore residents and 1,576 Baltimore youth for paid internships.
  • East Baltimore Development Initiative (EBDI) is a 20-year $1.6 billion mixed-use revitalization endeavor funded by city, state, and federal agencies; other philanthropies; and private business owners. Johns Hopkins University is a core supporter, having invested or committed more than $50 million in the planned community, which will include up to 1.6 million square feet of commercial lab and office space, 1,700 affordable and market-rate housing units, a new school and an early childhood center, 150,000 square feet of retail space, a five-acre park, and a hotel. Since 2004, the private and public sectors have invested more than $1.1 billion in the 88-acre footprint.
  • Homewood Community Partners Initiative (HCPI), launched by Johns Hopkins University in December 2012, is an economic development strategy prepared and implemented in partnership with residents, business leaders, nonprofit organizations, institutions, and government. Focused on 10 neighborhoods around the Johns Hopkins Homewood campus, HCPI is driven by 29 action-oriented recommendations. President Ronald J. Daniels pledged $10 million over five years towards the estimated cost of $60 million to implement the recommendations. The overall strategy for this vibrant urban center includes attracting 3,000 new households to the area over the course of 10 years by creating exciting, accessible retail shops and arts, entertainment, and cultural institutions with a strong residential real estate market, high-caliber amenities, and quality public schools.


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