At Towson University, community partners come from a variety of missions and services, from schools and educational nonprofits to community engagement organizations, research institutions, and government agencies. The types of partnerships are also just as varied. Some are long-standing collaborations, some are just getting started, and others may be a one-time collaboration. To help understand the scope of partnerships at TU, we’ve created the following partnership categories.

  • Emerging idea: An idea, conversation, or developing concept for a new relationships or partnership.
  • One-time collaboration: A single or short-term activity with a beginning and an end date.
  • Ongoing relationships: Collaborations between TU and an outside entity with a formal or informal agreement in place, working toward mutually beneficial outcomes, with no estimated end date.
  • Transactional: Engagements that are limited to financial support through sponsorships.

While we often talk about our ongoing relationships, we don’t always highlight the important work happening with emerging ideas.

One emerging idea partnership that I’m excited to share is one between Thread and TU’s Office of Human Resources. Because this partnership is just emerging, there isn’t a great deal of details to share—but that will hopefully change! However, exploratory conversations are happening around how TU can connect with Thread regarding workforce development needs for the population Thread serves. Specifically, creating a pipeline for Thread to align with TU’s hiring gaps/needs, in order to expand employment opportunities for their communities. While there will be more to share on this developing partnership down the road, in the meantime, I’d like to share a bit about Thread as an organization. I hope you also see the value in their amazing work, and consider ways that you or your organization could collaborate with them.

What is Thread?

Thread is an innovative, nationally-recognized, homegrown community, weaving a new social fabric in Baltimore.

What does Thread do?

As stated in their mission, Thread harnesses the power of relationships to create a new social fabric of diverse individuals deeply engaged with young people facing the most significant opportunity and achievement gaps. Our community is committed to ending social isolation and building a more equitable culture in which everyone thrives.

Thread weaves a new social fabric by connecting students, university and community-based volunteers, and collaborators. By radically and permanently re-configuring the social support structure of all involved, Thread breaks the cycle of crime, poor educational and economic outcomes and replaces it with a new cycle of educational attainment, service and social well-being.

Thread is often mistaken for a mentoring program or tutoring group, but really, they are a community of individuals working to end our social isolation by rallying around Baltimore’s most academically under-performing and highest-potential ninth graders and committing to them for 10 years. Young people in Thread consistently defy the odds:

  • 84% of Thread students have graduated from high school within six years
  • 69% have completed a college degree or certificate program. 

Thread volunteers make a one-year commitment (or more) to work in a group with a young person, empowering them to actualize their goals, and building relationships that transcend lines of race, class and zip code.

Get involved with Thread

Thread is looking for others to join their community. They work with over 600 students and alumni, and over 1,000 volunteers, with plans to reach 7% of Baltimore City Public Schools’ entire ninth grade class. If you are interested in volunteering to work directly with Thread students or lead a team of other volunteers, complete a volunteer application. If you are interested in exploring a larger collaboration through your company or organization, complete a collaboration form. To find out more about Thread, their work, and their opportunities to connect, email volunteer@thread.org.

Featured image credit: On a recent Maryland Day, Thread volunteers and young people decorated Charm City with Frederick Douglass quotes.