In the weeks leading up to the 2016 Alumni Awards Ceremony, we’ll be profiling each honoree in detail here on the blog. This year’s distinguished alum in the Social Work category is Joseph Jones, Jr. ’06, social work, founder and CEO of Baltimore’s Center for Urban Families.
The Center for Urban Families (CFUF), the Mondawmin-based nonprofit founded by Joe Jones in 1999, seeks to provide services to Baltimore’s most marginalized citizens, ranging from job training and placement to responsible fatherhood initiatives. Jones says his time at UMBC was instrumental to building his organization, as it put him in touch with “an extended network of influential thought leaders and other stake holders” and taught him a whole new way to look at Baltimore’s potential as a city. In particular, he cites both Dr. Freeman Hrabowski’s inspiring leadership and Dr. James Bembry’s methods class as key influences on his career path. Thanks to what he learned here, he’s since re-engineered the organization to provide more than just job connections, but to help create career paths and work with several generations of the families they serve. In the midst of the 2008 financial crisis, Jones led CFUF through a successful $8 million capital campaign, something he considers to be the proudest achievement of his career. In addition to his work with the Center, Jones has served as an advisor to the past three presidential administrations, most recently serving on President Barack Obama’s Task Force on Fatherhood and Healthy Families. He’s recieved an honorary doctorate from Morgan State University, as well as a Walter Sondheim Public Service Award.