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In the wake of the riots following Freddie Gray’s death at the hands of police, Johns Hopkins University committed to investing more in the City of Baltimore through its “HopkinsLocal” program. Today, the school released a report taking stock of how well it did in its first full year. The verdict? Pretty well, so far.

In the last year, 43 percent of new hires for JHU and the Hopkins Health System came from those so-called distressed communities, three points above the institution’s target of 40 percent. That translated to 304 new hires, 119 of whom were individuals with criminal records.

JHU also spent $4.9 million more on local goods, putting it well on pace to achieve its target of a $6 million increase in total local spending by fiscal 2018. Beyond its own expenses, Hopkins also committed to working with 24 non-local suppliers to plan how they can also contribute to or invest in the City of Baltimore.

And in terms of building – Hopkins set a goal to direct 20 percent of its construction spending to minority or women-owned or distressed community businesses by fiscal 2019 – the institution was right on target, putting 17.3 percent ($55.5 million in all) toward those firms in fiscal 2016. (The goal was 17 percent for 2016, with an aim to reach 20 percent by 2019.)

“We are encouraged by the measurable progress we’ve made to harness Johns Hopkins economic activity to promote growth and employment in Baltimore,” JHU president Ronald Daniels said in a statement.

HopkinsLocal’s overall goal is to boost the institution’s role in bringing the rest of the city up as it grows. After the launch of the program in late 2015, major companies from around Baltimore followed suit by joining the BLocal program, setting goals for themselves similar to those set by Hopkins.

Looking ahead, Hopkins’ self-assessment report says it will take new measures to further its progress in each of the three categories — local hiring, building, and spending. New approaches will including streamlining the job application process, tracking new hire retention, employing a third-party monitor to keep track of inclusive construction spending efforts and creating an advisory council to push individual departments within Hopkins to spend locally.

“Helping to strengthen Baltimore’s economy through purchasing, contracting, and hiring opportunities is a win-win solution, and working closely with our community, we hope to see even more progress in the years to come,” said Johns Hopkins Health System president Ronald R. Peterson in a statement.

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Ethan McLeod

Ethan McLeod is a freelance reporter in Baltimore. He previously worked as an editor for the Baltimore Business Journal and Baltimore Fishbowl. His work has appeared in Bloomberg CityLab, Next City and...