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The Johns Hopkins 21st Century Cities Initiative

"Johns Hopkins is not just in Baltimore, but of Baltimore"

Learn how Johns Hopkins is committed to improving Baltimore and cities around the world.


Revitalizing our Cities Through Data-Driven Solutions and Partnerships

With your help, we can make a difference in our most challenged cities

Across the United States and around the world, mid-sized, industrial-era cities are struggling against slow economic growth, ineffectual education systems, violent crime, and other problems seemingly too big to manage, too complex to solve. Yet many cities maintain a reserve of human, entrepreneurial, institutional, and cultural capital, along with a spirit of resilience. These have grounds for hope, if not always the means to advance. 

The 21st Century Cities Initiative, with university and donor support, has begun to connect leading city-focused faculty members and students from across Hopkins’ schools, fund their innovative research, and help them partner with city leaders and citizens in Baltimore and beyond. Using data-driven methods, we are helping our partners define their problems, develop on-the-ground solutions, measure their results, and engage in the hard work of revitalization.  

By growing and sustaining the 21st Century Cities Initiative, you’ll help bring Hopkins expertise to cities around the world.

Thanks to the generosity of early supporters, the 21st Century Cities Initiative has already begun developing new ideas, programs, and partnerships, and we’re on our way to establishing the nation’s premier urban-focused academic research program. Here are a few examples:

  • A gift from Bloomberg Philanthropies established the Center for Government Excellence, 21st Century Cities’ powerful operational arm that is helping cities — such as Jackson, Mississippi — introduce data science into governance.  
  • The Annie E. Casey Foundation provided seed funding for a rapid response research project, which shed light on the contributing factors and aftermath of the uprising that followed Freddie Gray’s death in Baltimore in April 2015.  
  • In research funded by a 21st Century Cities Initiative seed grant, a Hopkins faculty member partnered with the Baltimore City Health Department to develop a data platform that will integrate hospital, health, environmental, and other information to inform interventions that can reduce older adults’ serious falls by one third in three years.   

Build on this progress with your support for these priorities:

  • Funding seed grants for innovative research: We seek support for seed grants to enable researchers to develop sufficient data for their projects so they may apply for further funding from government, corporate, and foundation resources. 
  • Recruiting and sustaining the world’s best faculty: We seek to create endowed professorships to compete successfully for researchers who are committed to urban revitalization and already leaders in their fields.
  • Attracting and training future leaders: We seek support for endowed fellowships and term fellowships to engage pre- and post-doctoral students in our research activities and prepare them to adopt interdisciplinary approaches in their work.
  • Bringing our ideas and programs into wider use: We seek to present a variety of events, including an annual symposium, a Neighborhood Innovation Award contest for graduate students, and a series of local events to engage fellow academics, civic leaders and nonprofit organizations, and community members in our research. Support is also needed to launch a new website and social media programming.

With your support, we can reach our goal of $20 million in philanthropic support for the 21st Century Cities Initiative and bring data-driven solutions to cities worldwide. Please consider joining us — every gift counts.

Make a gift using our secure online giving form