Baltimore hotel gives back to the local community
Upon entering Hotel Revival in Baltimore’s historic Mount Vernon neighborhood, a neon sign catches my eye: Let your life proceed by its own design.
The motto is something Jason Bass, director of culture and impact at the boutique hotel, is taking to heart.
Bass started “Night Brunch,” a community gathering in Baltimore that brings people together with food, music and other shared interests.
First a fan and customer of Hotel Revival, including Topside, the hotel’s seafood-centric restaurant, Bass reached out to the property about the possibility of hosting Night Brunch at Topside.
“Baltimore can be a little siloed and segregated, even though it has a very diverse population from some standpoints,” Bass says.
Soon Bass became a consultant for Hotel Revival where he focused on community programming. He started on Jan. 1, 2020, with the mission to create inclusive spaces for guests as well as the local community.
Although the excitement had been building for Bass and the team, the pandemic put these dreams on hold while the hospitality industry had to shift how they were used to operating.
With no shortage of opportunities to pitch in, the initial goal of coming together was still possible. Creativity and collaboration led the hotel to become a sort of community center, where people could pick up necessities like toilet paper, produce, hot meals, coffee, flowers and other items. Rooms were also offered at a reduced rate or even free to first responders.
“There are a lot of things out there that you can do that give you a sense of purpose,” Bass says. “But this one went somehow beyond that. It really felt like you’re making an impact immediately. Because you see it immediately. People who are hungry could come and grab food. Everyone was so grateful and appreciative and kind.”
Now, Bass and Hotel Revival are looking to create additional partnerships in the community, including a collaboration with an East Baltimore school.
Through this relationship, Bass says, the goal is simply to bring the kids into their own community. These field trips will help foster a sense of giving back. One plan is to take the students to nearby Sagamore Farms to see retired race horses and offer hands-on opportunities to learn about agricultural practices.
Additionally, the hope is to have students shadowing employees at the hotel.
“We have a pretty high representation of people who look like them in various roles and positions,” Bass said. “I think that’s going to be incredibly important to the kids.”
At the school itself, the idea is to help grow a community garden as well as help refurbish the park.
“The hospitality industry is here to help people, to be hospitable,” Bass said. “But it’s weird to think it only happens within these walls. Why it doesn’t extend to the community is something I think we should start to challenge.”