Baltimore resident Thibault Manekin, co-founder of Seawall Development, was recognized at the White House yesterday as one of President Obama’s Champions of Change — an initiative that profiles the achievements of American leaders ‘doing extraordinary things in their community’.

Mr. Manekin, 33, together with partners Donald Manekin (his father) and Evan Morville, were recognized for Seawall’s restoration of two historic Baltimore City properties. The $19 million Miller’s Court on Howard Street and the $21 million Union Mill in Hampden both provide low-cost office space for non-profits and housing for teachers. These projects were groundbreaking architecturally as well as financially, with funding provided by Baltimore City as well as the state of Maryland. Partnering with organizations like Teach For America, their ideas have been so successful, with waiting lists of hundreds of teachers, that Seawall has been asked to develop similar ideas in urban markets throughout the country. Currently, Seawall has projects underway in Philadelphia and New Orleans. Mr.Manekin met with White House officials yesterday to discuss their work and identify ways the federal government can help expand these types of efforts. Asked about the day’s events, Mr. Manekin said, “ I was impressed. The conversations were good. It sounded like the beginning of many things.”

You can watch the video (Manekin’s appearance is at 1.20 minutes) by visiting the White House website, Also on the website, you can learn more about the Champions of Change initiative and nominate a person in your own community.