The Opportunity Collaborative

About the Opportunity Collaborative

The Opportunity Collaborative (“the Collaborative”, previously known as the Baltimore Sustainable Communities Initiative) is the consortium charged with developing Baltimore’s Regional Plan for Sustainable Development (RPSD). This 25 member coalition includes six local governments, our metropolitan planning organization, three Maryland state agencies, two universities and local philanthropy and advocacy organizations. BMC serves as the lead applicant and fiscal agent for the Collaborative. Annapolis Mayor Josh Cohen and Scot Spencer of the Annie E. Casey Foundation serve as the Collaborative’s Co-Chairs.

Over the course of the next three years, the Collaborative will develop a RPSD that links our region’s housing, transportation and workforce development plans and investments with specific focus on reducing regional disparities. Government, philanthropic and private sector partners will work together with community members to develop a practical plan to connect all of our citizens to a prosperous and sustainable future. The process of developing this plan will include extensive community education and engagement, citizen leadership development, real world demonstration projects and the writing of regional housing and workforce development plans. Central to the RPSD will be the development of a financial strategy for implementation to ensure that the recommendations of the planning process can be put into place and the positive lessons learned through demonstration projects can be widely replicated.

 Steering Committee

Diane L. Bell McKoy
President/CEO Associated Black Charities

Rev David Casey

Hon. Joshua J. Cohen
(Steering Committee Co-Chair)

Mayor City of Annapolis

Mel Freeman
Executive Director Citizens Planning and Housing Association, Inc.

Elizabeth S. Glenn
Chief, Community Planning and Development
Baltimore County Division of Neighborhood Improvement

Patrick Maier
Executive Director, Innovative Housing Institute

Marsha L. McLaughlin
Director, Department of Planning & Zoning
Howard County

Glenn Robinson
Project Director, Environmental Justice in Transportation Toolkit Project
Morgan State University School of Engineering and Institute for Urban Research

Robert E. Hellauer, Jr.
Director, Regional Transportation & Federal Government Affairs
Greater Baltimore Committee

Beth Hendrix
Director, Department of Community Services Harford County

Gerrit J. Knaap
Professor & Executive Director, National Center for Smart Growth Research & Education
University of Maryland

Kathleen M. Koch
Executive Director Arundel Community Development Services, Inc.

Scot T. Spencer
(Steering Committee Co-Chair)
Associate Director for Advocacy and Influence 
Civic Sites 
The Annie E. Casey Foundation

Thomas J. Stosur
Director,  Baltimore City Department of Planning

Patricia Rynn Sylvester
Director, Multifamily Housing
Department of Housing & Community Development


Members of Opportunity Collaborative include:

  • City of Annapolis
  • Anne Arundel County
  • Annie E. Casey Foundation
  • Associated Black Charities
  • Baltimore City
  • Baltimore County
  • Baltimore Integration Partnership
  • Baltimore Metropolitan Council
  • Baltimore Neighborhood Collaborative
  • Baltimore Regional Transportation Board
  • Citizens Planning & Housing Association, Inc.
  • Baltimore Regional Initiative Developing Genuine Equality (BRIDGE)
  • Central Maryland Transportation Alliance
  • Enterprise Community Partners
  • Greater Baltimore Committee
  • Innovative Housing Institute
  • Harford County
  • Howard County
  • Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development
  • Maryland Department of Planning
  • Maryland Department of Transportation
  • Maryland Sustainable Growth Commission
  • Morgan State University
  • University of Maryland, National Center for Smart Growth
  • 1,000 Friends of Maryland

About the Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grant

On June 16, 2009, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) formed the Partnership for Sustainable Communities to help communities nationwide improve access to affordable housing, increase transportation options, and lower transportation costs while protecting the environment. The partnership agencies incorporate six principles of livability into federal funding programs, policies, and future legislative proposals.

The six Livability Principles are:

Provide more transportation choices
Develop safe, reliable, and economical transportation choices to decrease household transportation costs, reduce our nation’s dependence on foreign oil, improve air quality, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and promote public health.

Promote equitable, affordable housing
Expand location- and energy-efficient housing choices for people of all ages, incomes, races, and ethnicities to increase mobility and lower the combined cost of housing and transportation.

Enhance economic competitiveness
Improve economic competitiveness through reliable and timely access to employment centers, educational opportunities, services and other basic needs by workers, as well as expanded business access to markets.

Support existing communities
Target federal funding toward existing communities—through strategies like transit-oriented, mixed-use development and land recycling—to increase community revitalization and the efficiency of public works investments and safeguard rural landscapes.

Coordinate and leverage federal policies and investment
Align federal policies and funding to remove barriers to collaboration, leverage funding, and increase the accountability and effectiveness of all levels of government to plan for future growth, including making smart energy choices such as locally generated renewable energy.

Value communities and neighborhoods
Enhance the unique characteristics of all communities by investing in healthy, safe, and walkable neighborhoods—rural, urban, or suburban.

The Opportunity Collaborative has added a seventh Livability Principle for our work here in Baltimore:  
Protect the Chesapeake Bay
Promote location efficient and low-impact development in the region.

The Regional Planning Grant program, an effort of the Partnership for Sustainable Communities encourages grantees to support regional planning efforts that integrate housing, land-use, economic and workforce development, transportation, and infrastructure investments in a manner that empowers regions to consider how all of these factors work together to create more jobs and economic opportunities. The program places a priority on partnerships, including the collaboration of arts and culture, philanthropy, and innovative ideas to the regional planning process. For more details on the Partnership for Sustainable Communities please visit their website at:

More information:

Learn about the Collaborative’s application to HUD and work plan

Read about the Collaborative’s first round of Demonstration Project Grantees

Find out how to obtain Preferred Sustainability Status for Federal grant applications

Last Updated on Monday, 02 June 2014 19:27