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What Happened Next? Brooke-Logann Williams, A&S '15

A Baltimore Scholars alumna blazes a professional trail while pursuing her passion to lift up her hometown
Posted April 15, 2018

Brooke-Logann Williams, a 2015 Krieger School alumna, went to high school just 10 minutes from Hopkins' Homewood campus and attended the university with support from two Baltimore Scholars scholarships. Still, as a first-generation college student supporting herself through school, she didn't have a chance to take advantage of some of the opportunities Hopkins offered because she needed to work.

Then, she told Rising during a 2014 conversation, she discovered the Community Impact Internship Program through Homewood Student Affairs. Established in 2011 by a generous gift from Jeff Aronson, A&S '80, Parent '13 and '15, chair of the university's Board of Trustees, and his wife, Shari, the program offers paid summer internships with local nonprofit organizations or government agencies. Williams tutored juvenile offenders charged as adults in the Baltimore City Detention Center and the next year worked with the Office of the Public Defender.

"I was able to dive into the kind of grassroots work I really enjoyed," she says. "I knew, more than anything, that I had a passion for that work. But I also knew I had to push myself, to learn more so I could better serve the nonprofits I'd come to know and love."

We caught up with Williams to see how that passion has become a launching point for her career in this installment of "What Happened Next?"

Tell us a little bit about your job and the kind of work you've been doing since you graduated from Hopkins.

I'm managing a private family foundation, the J.S. Plank and D.M. DiCarlo Family Foundation, at an investment firm. I gained a lot of nonprofit experience at Hopkins, but I wanted to know more about the business side. I wasn't at a point, as a college student, to write grants or understand the relationships that needed to be built with the city to get things done. Now, I'm in a position to be a voice of reason for resources, projects, and programs I'm so proud of. I feel tremendously grateful to give back to my community.

Why was it important for you to have this kind of impact here in Baltimore?

Baltimore is home. Baltimore will forever be home for me. One of the things that broke my heart was that I met so many great people at Hopkins who did so many awesome things. But as soon as they graduated, they left. I don't blame them for doing that, but I feel very strongly about keeping and cultivating great talent here, not just during college.

What kind of projects have you supported in your role with the foundation?

I manage all of the work we do with the schools, which is very near and dear to me. I am a product of the city public school system. We've cultivated sponsorship packages with several organizations we work with and earmark those for schools that are completely in need. We support financial needs, literacy and arts programs, social and emotional training for teachers, staff, and parents. We're not just staying downtown or in the magnet or private schools. We're helping those who need it the most.

What's your next step from here?

I’ve always taken the safe route because of my upbringing. I'm from a modest family, and if you misstep, sometimes you don't know where you’re going to end up. So I'm very cognizant of that. But I'm a cofounder of this startup where we're building a platform for social impact. I can see all of the learning I've done at Hopkins, in the Baltimore Scholars program, and my work at the juvenile detention center coming together. The work I've done with the foundation has been excellent, but it's a couple of degrees further away than I want to be from the communities I work with. My favorite thing to do is go to a community meeting on a Friday night or a Saturday and be with the people there. Removing those degrees of separation and putting every ounce of learning I've had into something I have the privilege to build is very special.

To learn more about the Baltimore Scholars program, please contact Tom Hunt, associate director of development, via email or at (410) 516-0550.