Erin O’Keefe, ’03, named director of Center for Community Service and Justice and York Road Initiative
Loyola University Maryland has named Erin O’Keefe, ’03, director of the Center for Community Service and Justice and the York Road Initiative.
O’Keefe has served as interim director of CCSJ since August 2015 and director of YRI since its inception in 2010. She begins her new role officially overseeing both offices immediately and will lead the restructuring of CCSJ and YRI into one center charged with strengthening Loyola’s connections to the Baltimore community.
“We have a tremendous opportunity to deepen our commitment, as a Jesuit institution, to meaningfully addressing inequities in our world,” said O’Keefe. “I am honored to seek new ways for community voices to inform our work as we engage Loyola students, faculty, staff, and administrators in learning and leadership through service, and collaborate with neighbors and partners on a broad range of essential service initiatives along York Road and throughout Baltimore.”
O’Keefe has devoted her entire career to service in Baltimore. Under O’Keefe’s leadership, YRI has made significant progress in its mission to collaborate with neighbors and public and private partners to produce positive change in Loyola’s neighboring York Road community. She was instrumental in securing grant funding to support efforts to strengthen the York Road commercial corridor and improve youth development, two of YRI’s primary focus areas. In addition, her vision expanded the scope of YRI to include food security, and she and her team launched the Govanstowne Farmers’ Market in 2011 to address this critical food access issue. The market has grown in each subsequent year and the recently-launched FreshCrate corner store program builds on its success.
As Loyola’s representative on the York Corridor Collective, O’Keefe played a key role in developing a commercial corridor action plan that was approved by Baltimore City in 2015. Comprehensive recommendations in the plan aim to generate a decade of economic growth and improvements to quality of life, giving the Govans corridor of York Road a “Main Street” atmosphere.
“Our commitment to social justice challenges us to ensure a more peaceful, just world in the future and also make a profound difference today and tomorrow. The tireless work of CCSJ and YRI has long inspired the Loyola community to take up that challenge—and the unrest last spring reaffirmed the importance in investing in our city,” said Rev. Brian F. Linnane, S.J., president of Loyola. “I am confident Erin will build on that legacy and open doors to new, strategic initiatives at this important time in Loyola’s, our city’s, and our nation’s, history.”
Prior to returning to Loyola, O’Keefe worked in community affairs for Johns Hopkins University, as a research assistant for housing and redevelopment policy in the department of public policy at UMBC, and in community services management at Catholic Charities of Baltimore.
O’Keefe graduated from Loyola with a bachelor’s degree in political science and she has a master’s degree in public policy from UMBC. She lives in Baltimore City and sits on the boards of the Citizens Planning and Housing Association and Strong City Baltimore.