Craig Solomon, 40, is a Baltimore businessman with a penchant for philanthropy. Outside his career working in financial systems consulting, Solomon started B-More Engaged, “a young professional’s group that helps eager volunteers find a variety of ways to volunteer in the Baltimore community,” according to the group’s Facebook page.
Solomon grew up in Gaithersburg, Md., and moved to Baltimore following his graduation from the University of Delaware, where he studied business. He lives in Owings Mills and works at T. Rowe Price, where he developed a system that tracks the company’s technology costs.
“They didn’t have much to tell them [about] how much an application costs for the company,” he said. “After implementing this system, I will be able to tell them how much labor costs, the server, storage, etc.”
Solomon, who has been working for T. Rowe Price for the past year and a half, said that part of the reason he decided to work at the company is that it is philanthropic.
Solomon endeavors to give back in everything he does and has run B-More Engaged on his own time for the past five-and-a-half years. In 2014, he was recognized by United Way of Central Maryland’s Emerging Leaders United with its Philanthropic 5 Award, which annually honors five people who show outstanding commitment to their community.
How did B-More Engaged develop?
B-More Engaged started as a small organization on meetup.com, a platform where people can connect with those who put down similar interests. There wasn’t anything much for volunteers, so I started B-More Engaged. I had a lot of contacts because I did a lot of volunteering with The Associated’s Jewish Volunteer Connection and a lot of nonprofits. They helped me get started.
I didn’t do much volunteering growing up. I started doing a lot with JVC to meet people after college and just got hooked. The instant gratification of the small task can make a huge difference, and that just kept going. I loved working with people and just seeing their appreciation for it.
I have always been involved with Walk MS. My mom passed away from multiple sclerosis. I organized the team and would raise money, so I had some fundraising type experience, but it wasn’t until after college that I started to actually get my hands dirty and do more. I still do a lot with the MS Society, but now that I am focusing on my group, I am able to expand and help a lot of nonprofits around the Baltimore area.
I am also on the board of two of my favorite nonprofits, Civic Works and Art with a Heart. Civic Works is an umbrella organization that does a lot with urban farms, helping the elderly, beautifying vacant lots around the Baltimore City and energy efficiency. Art with a Heart brings art education and leadership through art to kids and adults who would not normally have it, be it at a homeless shelter, a community center or a school.
What does B-More Engaged do?
We have over 800 people in the group; I’d say about 200 are active. We are a young professional group, mostly people in their 20s and 30s. We work with nonprofits in the Baltimore area, anything from art nonprofits to beautify the city to the Humane Society or Habitat for Humanity.
We really cover the whole gamut — the homeless, children. Everything you can think of, we’ve probably done some sort of an event. We average four or five events a month, so almost once a week, we have some event going on helping somebody or some nonprofit. Over the years, we have worked with hundreds of different nonprofits.
This Saturday, we’re wrapping gifts at Barnes & Noble to raise money for the MS Society. We are also doing holiday dinner for the families at Johns Hopkins’ Children’s House. Similar to the Ronald McDonald House, it is where families stay when their kids are either outpatient or inpatient at Johns Hopkins. We come in and prepare meals for the families staying there. I do that on a monthly basis.
We cook them a meal, sit and eat and talk with them, joke around and get their minds off of things. It is one place that has touched my heart a lot just because I have been able to have some small effect.