Executive Director Amy Menzer Departing After 15 Years of Leadership;
Deputy Director Tasha Gresham-James will Serve as Interim Executive Director
After more than 15 years, Executive Director Amy Menzer is moving on.
Dundalk, MD–Under Amy’s leadership, Dundalk Renaissance has established programs supporting housing renovations, neighborhood marketing, main street business development, community engagement, and the most recent addition, financial counseling. She guided the board of directors through 4 Strategic Planning processes while raising over $13 million from public and private sources. During that time, the organization has achieved much success with a small staff that grew from 1 to 6, including assisting over 2000 households, improving 250 residential properties, supporting 28 businesses, and hosting over 300 events attended by more than 35,000 people to build community connections and attract shoppers to the Historic Dundalk Town Center.
In 2014, Dundalk Renaissance was fortunate to be included as one of 4 community development organizations in the pilot for the Baltimore Regional Neighborhood Initiative (BRNI), a State program managed by the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development designed to provide deeper levels of investment for targeted revitalization strategies in the City and older suburbs. Funds raised through that initiative have enabled the organization to expand its work and pursue innovative solutions to Dundalk’s challenges, including a partnership with small developers to support more acquisition rehabs for homeownership, and a pop-up shop program that has launched 4 permanent businesses from 7 temporary shops over a 6-year period. BRNI funds also supported a community branding process and a brand launch in 2014 that engaged over 75 stakeholders and generated 10 days of positive media coverage for Dundalk, which was followed by five Dundalk Housing Fair and Neighborhood Tours events including multiple bus tour routes of homes for sale.
In 2018, Amy oversaw the renovation of 11 Center Place and cut the ribbon on The Forge, a business incubation and community resource space. It is used for pop-up shops, trainings, community association meetings, housing counseling, and tax intake services. The building also houses Dundalk Renaissance offices on the 2nd floor.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, she organized a multiracial group of community leaders to begin discussions virtually on race and racism in Dundalk, and volunteers distributed over 200 “All Are Welcome Here” yard signs and installed 11 Little Free Libraries stocked with books centering people of color. The organization is now seeking funding for a community organizer to expand this work as part of our most recent Strategic Plan.
Dundalk Renaissance President Dan Dawes stated: “Amy’s vision and leadership over the past 15 years has been a key driver to propel Dundalk Renaissance to become the organization it is today. And while she will be greatly missed by the staff, board, partners and our Dundalk neighbors, her tireless and thorough work over the years leaves us on very solid footing. Personally, having worked alongside Amy as a board member for 5 years, I’ll miss her passion for helping our community, but I think it’s great that she’s taking this opportunity to share her talents on an even larger stage to help more neighborhoods in Baltimore County.”
Amy declared: “It has been a labor of love to advocate for this community, grow this organization, and implement concrete changes. I am so grateful for all the community leaders and business owners and residents for your investments of time and money to build a better future here for yourselves and for your neighbors. I am so thankful for our State and County and private funders and the collaborations with our elected officials and nonprofit partners. We could not do any of it without such a devoted group of staff and volunteer board members. It takes all of us. Thank you. I look forward to Dundalk’s next chapter.”
While Amy is moving on, she is not going away: as a Senior Project Manager in the Office of the Baltimore County Planning Director she will be applying her experience to older neighborhoods across the County to help make them more livable. Her last day with Dundalk Renaissance is March 31st.
The organization will celebrate Amy’s contributions along with those of many others as part of our in-person 20th Anniversary Bash and Milestone Awards on May 26, 2022 at Sparrows Point Country Club. Reservations may be made here.
Deputy Director and Housing Initiatives Manager Tasha Gresham-James will step in as Interim Executive Director upon Amy’s departure. Tasha has been with Dundalk Renaissance for 8 years. She will lead the Dundalk Renaissance team during the transition while the Board of Directors conducts a formal hiring process.
The Executive Director position is posted now on Indeed.com and the organization’s website, dundalkusa.org.