Evie Schwartz is Baltimore through and through.
The 33-year-old grew up in Baltimore City with her parents, Alan Schwartz and Carla Rosenthal; and her older brother by two years, Noah (he works for the CDC, and she makes it a point to say that she is especially close with him). The family went to Beth Am Synagogue, where Schwartz is still affiliated and a member of the environmental committee.
Schwartz attended Krieger Schechter Day School in Pikesville for both elementary and middle school, and then Baltimore City College for high school. That was followed by Brown University, where she studied urban planning.
Since 2011, she has been employed by the nonprofit Civic Works and obtained an executive MBA. Today, she is the director of Civic Works’ Energy Programs.
In her spare time, she likes swing dancing, and through it met her husband, Adam Bean. They got married last year and are energy-efficient homeowners — a goal she helps others reach and maintain.
As for her ongoing progress in strengthening Baltimore’s communities, Schwartz says she feels “rewarded by the work. Judaism is about family and giving back to the community. I live social justice day to day.”
Please describe what you do, and specifically, what you have accomplished in the past decade?
I have had the incredible opportunity to build Civic Works’ Energy Programs from the ground up and build the team to accomplish the work together. I started at Civic Works in 2011 knocking on doors and educating residents about home energy efficiency, and later added solar installation. Over the past decade, I focused on making energy upgrades accessible to low-income residents who need services the most.
People talk about the Jewish value of social justice. You put it in action. How so?
I feel very fortunate that my career and the source of my livelihood aligns so closely with my values. The work gives me an opportunity to help people, help communities and fight climate change all at the same time. Tikkun olam literally means “repairing the world.” In Baltimore, that means reducing the carbon footprint of our old housing stock and breaking down barriers to employment in green industries.
What is the most challenging part of your job?
I’ve enjoyed each new challenge, including hiring and developing staff; forging new partnerships; securing grant funding; and adapting data systems and technologies. The biggest challenge is that there are more ideas than hours in the day!
How do you get people to become more interested in the environment and the greening of America?
Most people already care about the environment. There is a common misconception that “going green” is too hard and too expensive. All I had to do was make it easy and affordable. Greening the home is also by no means a sacrifice for the environment; it has a variety of other personal benefits, including reducing energy bills and making the home more comfortable and healthier.
As a true city native, what’s the best-kept secret about Baltimore?
Bmore Licks is the best ice-cream in Baltimore, and a big blue scoop of Cookie Monster is not just for kids. Cookie Monster is packed with Oreos, cookie dough and chocolate chunks. Yum!