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Canton B2B online food marketplace hiring

Foodem, a B2B online marketplace for food distributors, is growing. Located in the Emerging Technology Center in Canton, the company has hired 11 employees since March and will hire four more sales people by the end of the year, Founder Kash Rehman says.
 
Foodem supplies goods to any business with a commercial kitchen, including restaurants, hotels, schools, daycares and nonprofit organizations. For the moment, however, Rehman is focused on capturing the restaurant vertical. "We help restaurants lower their food cost [by offering tools] to comparison shop," he explains. Foodem's online platform gives buyers a choice of distributor, and, by extension, price. "[Restaurants] don't have to call multiple places to find prices."
 
The platform also tracks what a restaurant orders from week to week, allowing owners to see the exact cost of their purchases. "Foodem give analytics in every category, every vendor, month over month, day over day," Rehman explains. And since all orders are submitted online, "[the system] eliminates errors during the procurement process."
 
On the distribution side, Rehman explains, Foodem eliminates the need and associated fee of a large sales force. "There are 21,000 restaurants in this market," he says. Servicing them all creates "enormous overhead" for suppliers.
 
Rehman is working with 25 different suppliers, including the Capital Meat CompanyBelair ProduceBowie Produce and S. Freedman and Sons, among others. Although he is open to working with other suppliers, Rehman is not concerned about the number he currently has. "It's not how many," Rehman explains, "it's the quality that matters."
 
Foodem secured $600,000 in angel funding in May and is planning a Series A fund raise in early 2014. "We have a lot of interest from prominent VCs nationwide," Rehman says.

Writer: Allyson Jacob
Source: Kash Rehman

New film to feature Taharka Bros. Ice Cream food truck launch

Baltimore’s Taharka Bros. Ice Cream is launching a Kickstarter campaign June 12 to raise $35,000 for their new “Vehicle for Change” food truck. And a new movie by Oscar-nominated directors will document their effort in a new, yet-to-be named movie that highlights businesses that support social change.
 
“We don’t have a retail shop and a lot of people ask us to have a retail shop or ask how to get our ice cream,” Taharka CEO De'Von Brown says. “So this is a way for us to reach our audience, to have something that’s out in the community.”
 
Taharka Bros. serve up more than just the typical cookies and cream ice cream flavors. They serve what they call “food for thought,” flavors based on social movements. Their goal is to spread the message of inspiring movements and people in history through ice cream, such as a flavor named after Langston Hughes’ poem, “A Dream Deferred.”
 
Taharka has had a presence at festivals such as the Baltimore Book Festival and Artscape. They have also held events at their factory in Hampden, Baltimore and their products are available at over 65 restaurants in Maryland, Washington, D.C., and Virginia. But a food truck will allow it to make appearances at more festivals, corporate events and colleges.
 
“Hopefully the food truck will be a way to reach people in terms of a physical one-to-one type of outreach. It’s a community outreach vehicle,” Taharka Creative Director Darius Wilmore says.
 
Rachel Grady and Heidi Ewing, who directed “Detropia” and “The Boys of Baraka,” have just wrapped up filming of a yet-to-be named movie on Taharka’s Kickstarter campaign. The movie will be featured at the Tribeca Film Festival next spring. The movie will also document Taharka’s collaboration with actress and comedienne Rain Pryor to craft a flavor named after her late father Richard Pryor, whose comedy often addressed class and race. The flavor is tentatively being titled “A Richard Pryor Moment.”

Writer: Daryl Hale
Sources: De'Von Brown and Darius Wilmore, Taharka Bros. 

White Marsh company partners with Microsoft for cloud computing

Motifworks Inc this month entered into a partnership with Microsoft to promote its cloud platform, Windows Azure. This is the first partnership between the White Marsh cloud, mobile application and data analytics company and Microsoft.
 
Motifworks’ contract is for one year and renewable, CEO Nitin Agarwal says.
 
Motifworks provides the technical help to companies using Windows Azure. Motifworks follows up on companies in the area that have contacted Microsoft about Windows Azure.
 
Agarwal says Mofitworks’ goal is to sign up at least two companies for Windows Azure during the year of the contract.

“Companies lack skill sets in new technology like cloud and mobile. We help them fill that gap, and bring their product to market faster,” Agarwal says. “Rather than develop their own departments, it’s become more acceptable to outsource.”
 
The company focuses on the financial, legal, retail, education and management sectors. Most clients pay a monthly fee, but some pay per project. Clients include Sears, SafeNet, Global Scholar, Wellscape, Lender Processing Service and local technology startups.
 
Since Agarwal founded Motifworks in 2010, the company has almost doubled sales every year for the past three years. He expects to double sales in 2013. It pulled in $1 million in revenue during fiscal year 2012.

Mofitworks has two offices. In Bangalore, India, it employs 40. The White Marsh virtual office has a staff of seven. The company is hiring two staffers with Microsoft expertise for its White Marsh location.
 
Source: Nitin Agarwal, Motifworks Inc
Writer: Barbara Pash

Federal grant targets violence against women in Orthodox Jewish community

A grant from a federal agency is funding a three-year long effort to combat violence against women and girls in Baltimore’s Orthodox Jewish community. The U.S. Department of Justice Office on Violence Against Women this month gave $350,000 via Jewish Women International to Baltimore's Counseling, Helpline & Aid Network for Abused Women (CHANA), to develop an awareness and education campaign.
 
Of Greater Baltimore metro’s 93,400 residents in Jewish community, 21 percent, or 19,614 are Orthodox Jews, according to the latest demographic survey. Baltimore’s Orthodox Jews, the most traditional branch of Judaism, live primarily in the Park Heights-Cheswolde and Smith-Greenspring neighborhoods.
 
CHANA Executive Director Nancy Aiken is developing the campaign in partnership with Jewish Women International (JWI), a Washington, D.C., advocacy nonprofit that applied for and received the federal grant.
 
Located in the Park Heights neighborhood, CHANA is an agency of The Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore. It provides counseling, crisis intervention, legal advocacy and a safe house.
 
Aiken says the campaign will be based on JWI’s “Good Guys” curriculum that JWI developed in 2008 as the first positive masculinity program for Jewish boys. Aiken intends to reach adolescent boys through male leaders in the Jewish community.
 
“Previously, this was considered a women’s issue but the thinking has changed to engaging men and boys as allies,” says JWI Director of Programs Deborah Rosenbloom. She says she sees the CHANA campaign as a national model for faith-based communities.
 
Aiken says the rate of domestic violence in the local Orthodox community is the same as in the general community. But the community met the requirements of the grant for culturally-specific communities and enables CHANA to create a campaign geared to its members.
 
“To religious communities, it is important to target the remedies to them, to make it relevant to their religious values,” she says.
 
The justice department’s Office on Violence Against Women awarded a total of $12.6 million to 20 social service agencies around the country.
 
Sources: Nancy Aiken, Counseling, Helpline & Aid Network for Abused Women: Deborah Rosenbloom, Jewish Women International
Writer: Barbara Pash
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Baltimore BioWorks signs new contract with NIH

Baltimore BioWorks Inc., a company that provides on-the-job vocational training, hired its first employee from its minority-focused training and employment program last month.

Located at the University of Maryland BioPark, BioWorks plans to hire a total of 12 people in 2013 to add to its staff of four. The vocational employees get a salary and benefits during the year-long training program for biotechnicians.
 
The company’s training program is intended to be self-sustaining and depends on BioWorks’ sales, says John Powers, vice president of marketing and co-founder with president Louise Dalton. The company manufactures and distributes biomedical products for others and under its own brand. It also offers toxicology testing services. Powers says BioWorks' annual revenue is expected to clip $1 million this year, thanks to two new contracts. 
 
Powers says the company anticipates closing a contract with the University of Maryland Medical System within the next few months to manufacture and distribute latex gloves and other products. Last year, Baltimore Bioworks contracted with the National Institute of Health to manufacture and distribute products, for about $30,000 in sales per month. 
 
Powers says the company has $350,000 in annual revenue as of this month. With both the University of Maryland and National Institute contracts, sales will increase to $80,000 to $100,000 per month.
 
While the company’s training program is open to all qualified candidates, Baltimore BioWorks last year signed an agreement with Baltimore City Community College to write the program’s training material in conjunction with it.
 
“If we follow their format on classroom work, vocational employees will earn BCCC college credit as well as a salary,” says Powers.
 
Powers is in talks with the BioTechnical Institute of Maryland Inc. — a scientific training program for entry-level biotechnicians — for the same arrangement.
 
In the fall, the company leased a 14,000-square foot space at 1100 Wicomico St., for manufacturing and distribution.
 
Powers expects to hear this summer about the company’s application for state certification as a minority business enterprise. If approved as an MBE, Baltimore BioWorks would qualify to bid on state contracts that require a set-aside of up to 25 percent for minority- and women-owned companies.
 
“With MBE status, the potential is to be a $5 million company,” says Powers.
 
Source: John Powers, Baltimore BioWorks Inc.
Writer: Barbara Pash

Contest to promote black male identity launches in Baltimore

BMe, a nationwide initiative to highlight the accomplishments of African-American men and to encourage and support cooperation among them, debuted in Baltimore this year. 

The local initiative kicks off with a cash-prize contest for black men to relate stories of positive collaborative efforts. The deadline is Feb. 28 to enter and contest applications are on BMe’s website.

BMe, which stands for Black Male Identity, began last year in Detroit and Philadelphia. Like Baltimore, both cities have large African-American populations and strong black communities.
 
Baltimore was the next logical step, “an ideal city to demonstrate” BMe, says Rodney Foxworth, community engagement manager with Black Maryland Engagement, who is heading the local BMe initiative.
 
BMe's local community partners are Open Society Institute-Baltimore and the Center for Urban Families. The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation is funding the contest. This year, each of the three cities will receive $200,000 grant money. Individual amounts will vary, with a maximum award of $20,000 to any single entry. 
 
Last year’s contest focused on individual efforts. This year, collaboration was chosen as the theme for the one-time, one-year awards.
 
“We are collecting stories from black males. The first step is to talk about things they are doing in their communities,” Foxworth says. The criteria for the award is “to demonstrate collaboration and a positive outcome,” he says, whether it’s mentoring youth, teaching literacy skills or organizing black businesses.
 
Foxworth, a Baltimore native, is working out of an office in the Center for Urban Families, a nonprofit located at 2201 North Monroe St. near Coppin State University. He says BMe will stay in Baltimore after the contest. “It’s not meant to be a one-time thing,” he say. After the contest ends, Foxworth will be planning activities and community events.
 
Although BMe has only been in Baltimore about a month, the response has been encouraging, says Foxworth. “BMe is an effort to highlight the positive contributions black men make every day. It’s an acknowledgement of black men’s assets to the community.”
 
Foxworth says BMe may launch in other cities, possibly Pittsburgh next, although he doesn’t have a timeframe.
 
Source: Rodney Foxworth, BMe
Writer: Barbara Pash
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 



Educational tech company raising $5M and hiring

Educational technology startup 1sqbox LLC says it expects to wrap up its second round of angel financing of $5 million by the middle of this year and is tripling its staff of five. The downtown Baltimore company is hiring seven salespeople, three support staff and a chief financial officer.

In its first round of angel financing last year, 1sqbox raised $330,000, to get the company off the ground, CEO Granville Templeton III says. After its second round of angel financing, 1sqbox will seek venture capital.

The company sells Android-based tablets to school systems for kindergarten through 12th grades. The tablets have proprietary software geared for administrators and for teachers and students. Templeton bills the company as a “one-stop shop” for educators. 

“We use the school system’s and/or other companies’ educational content. We are the platform” for the content,  says Templeton, who cofounded the company with chairman and CTO Alexis Coates in 2011.
 
The same tablet is used for all grades. Every student in a class gets a tablet. Via his or her tablet, the teacher inputs lesson plans and other material like textbooks, quizzes, homework assignments and comments.
 
“It’s an intuitive management system that allows teachers to use technology for their classrooms,” says Templeton.
 
School principals can monitor teachers via the tablet. A software platform allows them to view teachers’ lesson plans, assignments and other information.

Templeton says 1sqbox is in the process of refining its software for easier use. It is also adapting its platform  for district-wide use. “Now, each school can monitor itself. We are adapting it so each school in a district can be monitored,” he says.
 
Last year, 1sqbox launched a pilot program in City Springs Middle School, a charter school in East Baltimore. The Abell Foundation funded the purchase of 100 tablets. Templeton says the tablets average $349 each, depending on amount ordered.
 
Dr. Walter Amprey, former superintendent of Baltimore City Public Schools, this year became associated with 1sqbox, “to introduce the company to school systems around the country,” says Templeton.
 
The company sells directly to school districts, which then distribute the tablets to users. The marketing focus so far has been Baltimore City and Maryland along with nearby states like Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York. 
 
Templeton says 1sqbox has contracts with six schools, among them four in Baltimore City and two in Tennessee. The Baltimore schools are City Springs Middle School, Heritage High School, Baltimore Leadership School for Young Women and Rosemont Elementary and Middle School. The tablets stay at the school, and do not go home with the students.
 
Source: Granville Templeton, III, 1sqbox LLC
Writer: Barbara Pash
 

New Baltimore startup is selling crowdfunding investment insurance

A local startup backed by serial tech entrepreneur Clarence Wooten will help investors in crowdfunding projects hedge their bets.

Founded last month, Asurvest provides investment insurance for private and professional investors in Kickstarter and other crowdfunding platforms, CEO Luke Cooper says. The company will open an office in Baltimore over the next few months, hiring three to five analysts and marketing specialists.

Cooper says Asurvest is looking to partner with established crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter.comFundable.com and Gofunding.com.

“These groups are highly visible. They attract investors. They have strong business models,” Cooper says, although exactly how the partnership would work has yet to be determined. “We are in an incremental improvement mode,” he says of Asurvest.
 
Cooper, Co-founder Sudhir Shandilya and Wooten have all invested an undisclosed sum in the company. Cooper's Baltimore investment firm Performant Capital Partners also backs the company. Cooper declined to say how much funding they have raised to date.

Wooten is a Baltimore native who is founder and chairman of social networking firm Groupsite.com. He's known best for co-founding ImageCafe.com during the dot-com boom and selling it to Network Solutions/Verisign for $23 million. An advisor to Asurvest, he now resides in Silicon Valley and will launch a new company, Progressly Inc., in the middle of this year. 

Crowdfunding is in its infancy, but growing rapidly. Recent federal legislation makes it permissible for private individuals to invest in crowdfunding platforms.
 
With that, however, comes a tremendous need for assurance that even small investors who spend $1,500 or $2,000 feel comfortable. "We seek to fill that need and to protect them from risk,” says Cooper.
 
Based on its proprietary statistical and risk management models, Asurvest says that it can accurately quantify certain kinds of business risks. It will provide default risk insurance at premiums that range from two to 20 percent of the initial investment. The founders haven't decided yet whether Asurvest would underwrite or broker the insurance policies.

Cooper says the company is still working out how it would operate for an investor. "There will be a cost for the investor, depending on the investment profile," he says.
 
Despite the federal legislation, states have their own regulations and Asurvest has to be licensed in each. Cooper is currently working with the state of Maine to draft legislation. He says the founders chose Maine as the starting state because it has a business-oriented regulatory environment.
 
He expects to get approval from Maine within the next few months. He will then turn his attention to Maryland, working with the Maryland Insurance Administration on the appropriate applications.
 
After Maryland, he says Asurvest “will look at where investors are coming from, what parts of the country, and pursue licensing in those states.”
 

Source: Luke Cooper, Asurvest
Writer: Barbara Pash

Baltimore Ravens Torrey Smith To Pitch Energy Startup

Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Torrey Smith makes his debut this month as a spokesman for PointClickSwitch.com, a website that offers one-stop comparison shopping for residential and commercial electricity consumers.  

The Baltimore startup, a division of state licensed electricity broker Maryland Energy Advisors, is using the football player to promote its Nov. 13 launch in Maryland and four other states.
 
Phil Croskey, founder and CEO of PointClickSwitch.com, says the company approached the National Football League winning-team member because it was looking for someone with name recognition in the Maryland market.
 
“He’s a class act, a high-character individual and we appreciate that,” Croskey says.
 
PointClickSwitch.com operates in two states, Maryland and Illinois. It is currently going through the licensing process in three additional jurisdictions – New York State, Ohio and Washington, D.C. Croskey expects it to be operational in all three jurisdictions by mid-2013.
 
PointClickSwitch.com provides a listing of energy suppliers and their current rates per kilowatt hour, the standard measure of electricity. There is no fee for consumers to use the website or to change suppliers. The suppliers pay the company a marketing fee per customer but the rate to consumers is the same whether through PointClickSwitch.com or directly from them.
 
Suppliers on the website include familiar names like Constellation Energy, Con Edison, Castle Bridge Energy and Pepco, along with a lesser known company like Cool Currents, which offers electricity from renewable energy sources. Maryland residents can sign up for any supplier on the list, depending on the supplier’s regional arrangements.
 
“We serve everything from studio apartments to heavy industrial users, although large commercial projects need a more customized approach, which we also do,” says Croskey, who notes that customers can save up to 20 percent on their electricity bill by comparison shopping.

“We have suppliers charging 9.1 cents versus 7.69 cents per kilowatt hour,” he says.

Croskey, former director of economic development for the Baltimore Development Corp., founded PointClickSwitch.com in 2010. It is a portfolio company of Wasabi Ventures Accelerator at Loyola University of Maryland, and operates out of an office in downtown Baltimore.

As the company expands into new markets, Croskey expects to hire three to five employees to add to its current staff of three. He is looking for employees to focus on the new markets, although they can work from Baltimore to do so. He is also looking for an IT person to manage the company’s social media.
 
The company is privately funded although Croskey does not rule out a financing round as it expands.
 
Source: Phil Croskey, PointClickSwitch.com
Writer: Barbara Pash

WYPR Radio Series Explores Race and Inequality

Inequalities in housing, employment and education in the Baltimore metro area are the subject of a new radio series on WYPR FM 88.1. “Lines Between Us” kicked off Sept. 28 on the National Public Radio affiliate and will continue weekly for a year.
 
The series has a companion website that is the public's portal to the “landscape of inequality” in Baltimore neighborhoods, says Lawrence Lanahan, senior producer of “Maryland Morning with Sheilah Kast." Segments of the series air every Friday between 9 to 10 a.m. on this program. 
 
“We want listeners to tell us their stories, either written, video or audio," to be featured on the website, Lanahan says. He notes that each segment will delve into a topic like how many people in a neighborhood don't have jobs and how long they've been unemployed, how many graduated from high school and how many own their homes or rent. 
 
Lanahan says the series is a first for “Maryland Morning” but not for WYPR, which ran a “Growing Up Baltimore” series and accompanying website through the news department. From the program’s perspective, he is hoping to reach elected officials, government officials and community members.
 
The University of Baltimore’s Jacob France Institute, the research arm of the Merrick School of Business, is providing the data and maps on which the series and website are based.
 
Seema Iyer, associate director and research assistant professor at the institute, says it has been collecting data and issuing annual reports on race and inequalities in Baltimore City, Baltimore County and Anne Arundel County for about a decade. This year Provost Joseph Wood initiated a series of activities for the university community that focused on the reports.
 
After WYPR approached the university, “it made sense to partner with them,” Iyer says. “Data is only as good as the number of people who use and understand it. We see it as a way to get our data to their audience, which is much larger than ours.”
 
Moreover, Iyer says the radio series gives the data a new, personal dimension. “The stories you can tell in an arena like WYPR give a different perspective to the data,” she says. “For us, it’s a great opportunity.”
 
 
Sources: Seema Iyer, University of Baltimore; Lawrence Lanahan, National Public Radio WYPR.FM
Writer: Barbara Pash
 





Baltimore BioWorks to Apply For Minority Business Certification

Baltimore BioWorks is in the process of applying for state certification as a Minority Business Enterprise that would allow the life sciences manufacturing and training firm to bid on state contracts that set aside a slice of business for minority- and women-owned companies.

John Powers, president, says the company will bid on contracts for manufacturing and distribution at health-related agencies and systems like the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and the University of Maryland Medical System.

The company expects to sign a lease for a 14,000-square foot manufacturing and distribution facility at 1100 Wicomico St., Baltimore City next month, after which it will begin to make, sell and ship biomedical products and to offer toxicology testing services. Earlier this month, the life sciences company opened its headquarters in the University of Maryland BioPark, on its downtown campus, and located a few blocks from the distribution facility.

In addition to toxicology testing, BioWorks will manufacture its own line of common biomedical products and buy and sell other lines of supplies like latex gloves, says Powers, who co-founded the privately-owned company this year with Louise Dalton, at a cost of about $1 million, split between the founders and the Abell Foundation.

Besides state agencies, Powers expects BioWorks customers’ in the private sector to range from institutions like Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions to biotechnology companies.

In addition to its own business ventures, BioWorks is providing training for workers in the biotech field. The company has a core staff of eight. Powers intends to add one full-time employee per month, or 12 employees per year, for ongoing, year-long vocational training. Trainees will be paid as they progress through a regimented program that covers all aspects of the field.

“It’s a paid position with benefits. It’s your first real job” in biotechnology, says Powers. “You can put it on your resume.”

Training positions are open to all qualified applicants although Powers is working in particular with the Baltimore City Community College Life Science Institute, which has an office at the UM BioPark. There will be an applicant review process, and graduates of the program will be given help finding a job.

However, the minority-focused training program is intended to be self-sustaining and depends on BioWorks’ sales. The company currently has $350,000 in annual sales but Powers says it is on track to reach the $1 million goal by the end of 2012 or early 2013.

The state Department of Transportation qualifies MBEs applicants; the Governor's Office of Minority Affairs administers the MBE requirements. The current goal is for about 25 percent of contracts in qualifying state agencies go to MBE companies.
 
Source: John Powers, Baltimore BioWorks
Writer: Barbara Pash
 
 
 
 
 



Minorities Sought For Careers In Environment, Marine Science

The Living Marine Resources Cooperative Science Center  is recruiting minority students for careers in marine and environmental science. Scholarships are available for college graduate students this fall for the 2012-2013 school year. In addition, applications for paid internships for high school and college students are available beginning in January.
 
A consortium of college and universities are involved in the program. The University of Maryland Eastern Shore leads the consortium, which partners with the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency on the recruitment program.
 
“We are the pipeline to the program,” says Rose Jagus, associate professor at the Institute of Marine and Enviromental Technology (IMET) at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science in downtown Baltimore. Jagus is also director of IMET's marine resources center.
 
The mariner resource center's paid summer internships are 10-week-long projects for recent high school and college graduates. The focus is on fisheries, from habitat to aquaculture. The number of interns depends on funding. This summer, there were eight interns, some of whom are engaged in testing the water at the Inner Harbor.

Faculty members oversee interns’ research projects from June to August. Internships are eligible for college credit and applications can be accessed online. There is also one master’s degree student and four doctoral students who are receiving scholarships and stipends. Of these students, four are enrolled in the University System of Maryland although there are other university options.
 
The recruitment program began about 10 years ago, and is intended for African-American, Hispanic and Native American students. Funding is awarded competitively every five years. The institute's marine center's currently gets $2.7 million per year. Since the minority recruitment program began, three doctorates and four master’s degrees have been awarded and more than 100 paid internships have been funded.
 
 
Source: Rose Jagus, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science
Writer: Barbara Pash

Weinberg Foundation Grants Total $8M in April and May

Legal services for the poor and jobs training program were among the recipients of The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation grants in April and May, which totaled $8 million. The grants present a snapshot of the Baltimore-headquartered foundation’s grants of approximately $100 million per year.
 
The Legal Aid Bureau got $850,000 over two years, for free legal services and educational material for low-income adults. Job Opportunities Task Force got $750,000 over three years to support the Task Force’s and Baltimore CASH campaign’s financial literacy programs.
 
Other Baltimore recipients are:
International Rescue Committee, $150,000 over two years;
Maryland Center for Veterans Education and Training, $150,000;
Dayspring Programs, $100,000 over two years;
The League for People with Disabilities, $128,000;
House of Ruth Maryland, $250,000 over two years;
Family League of Baltimore, two grants totaling $175,000;
YMCA of Central Maryland, $120,000 over two years;
Art with a Heart, $40,000 over two years;
Resident Services, $80,000 over two years;
Wide Angle Youth Media, $50,000 over two years;
Institute for Christian & Jewish Studies, $50,000 over two years;
Community Law Center, $70,000 over two years; and
South Baltimore Learning Center, $25,000 over two years.

The foundation recently changed its award announcement format. Rather than issuing a grant list every two months, the foundation is issuing its grant approvals on a weekly basis via social media, primarily Facebook and Twitter. 
 
Craig Demchak, director of community affairs, says the Weinberg Foundation “is excited to share information on its grant making, reflecting the fine work of our many grantees who serve the poor and vulnerable. We are pleased to extend this vital, ongoing communication to a new audience through social media.”
 
The grants are earmarked for specific purposes. Two Baltimore organizations received six-figure grants.
 
Source: Craig Demchak, The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation
Writer: Barbara Pash; innovationnews@bmoremedia.com 

Number of Female Board Members Rose Last Year

The number of women serving on corporate boards in Maryland-headquartered companies is on the rise.

The number of female board directors increased a full percentage point in 2011 from the previous year, according to a study by nonprofit membership organization Network 2000. The Baltimore organization promotes the advancement of women in exective positions.
 
Women accounted for 10.2 percent of corporate board members in 84 companies last year. To qualify, a company must be headquartered in Maryland and be publicly traded on one of the three major exchanges.
 
The 2011 figure was the highest since Network 2000 began its annual census in 2005. It is the only such tally in the state.
 
Network 2000 is a private, membership-based organization whose mission is to encourage the advancement of women in professional and executive positions.
 
The census is not broken down by industries. But Ellen Fish, president of Network 2000 and executive vice president of CFG Community Bank, says that in prior censuses, professional science-oriented companies tended not to have many female members. “That had a negative effect” on the figures, she says.
 
The census found that of Maryland’s five Fortune 500 companies, all had at least one female board member, for a figure of 18.4 percent. In a national census of 1,400 Fortune 500 companies, 16.7 percent had female board directors.
 
The report also found that 42 percent of the qualifying companies had no women on their boards. The number of women of color holding board seats remained the same from the previous census, at less that two percent.
 
“The census helps us accomplish our mission,” says Fish.  “It allows us to raise the awareness issue in talks and programs.”
 
Source: Ellen Fish, Network 2000
Writer: Barbara Pash

Ray Lewis Tackles Cycling Workout Videos


Baltimore Ravens Linebacker Ray Lewis is expanding his business portfolio and capitalizing on his athletic prowess with the launch of his newest enterprise, RL52 Cycling LLC. 

The company will provide equipment, training regimens and workout videos for both experienced cyclists and beginners. RL52 Cycling has rolled out its first offering, a series of cycling workout videos. The videos, “No Limits” and “4th Quarter Grind,” are designed to provide high-intensity, low-impact workouts.

“Ray Lewis has always been passionate about the importance of educating and motivating all ages to live a lifestyle of health and fitness,” says Laura Rosen, RL52 Cycling’s vice president of marketing and product development. “He formed the RL52 Cycling Company to offer products to everyone, whether you are an entry-level fitness enthusiast or a world-class athlete. He wants to excite people to get involved in cycling and to get fit.”

The Spinervals workout came about when Ray and his friend and workout partner, former NFL player and United States Olympic Bobsledder Greg Harrell, began cycling together off season and quickly realized the anaerobic and aerobic benefits of cycling. Lewis began studying performance gains from cycling and partnered with former professional triathlete Troy Jacobson last summer to develop the Spinervals Cycling series.

RL52 Cycling plans to offer co-branded equipment, accessories, apparel, nutritional & wellness supplements and training programs to cyclists. The company is also developing cycling based programs for high schools and team sports.

Writer: Amy McNeal
Source: Laura Rosen, RL52 Cycling
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