By Tashi McQueen,
AFRO Political Writer,
Fagan Harris, a social entrepreneur with roots in Baltimore and Bowie, and a past that includes a term in Oxford, England as a Rhodes Scholar, says he has always been eager to serve people.
“I love helping and engaging with people, and I’ve always had an entrepreneurial spirit,” he said. “I had a paper route, a landscaping business, and I’ve gotten involved in student government throughout my youth.”
He was appointed chief of staff for then Governor-elect Wes Moore in November 2022 and started working in December, largely helping Moore forge his policy agenda.
“It has been busy and gratifying to work with the governor and help him get off to what I think is an extraordinary start,” said Harris. “His administration has been focused on building the cabinet, defining the budget, creating his key objectives for the state, building a core team, and getting to know the state workforce we will partner with.”
Recently Harris reflected on his childhood in Glen Burnie and Bowie and what influenced him to collaborate on community organizing.
“I was inspired to be a social entrepreneur through my parents. They showed me the power of opportunity,” said Harris. “My parents worked in the Job Corps. I watched that transpire and how it gave them an opportunity and through opportunity, they excelled. It sparked this desire to create platforms where others may succeed, just as my parents did.”
Job Corps is a federal government program that provides free education and vocational training to young adults between the ages of 16 and 24.
He is also the president and CEO of Baltimore Corps, a social enterprise that aims to provide opportunities to the next generation of leaders. He and Moore co-founded the Baltimore Corps in 2013.
“Baltimore Corps is a forum for tapping into the genius of our communities,” said Harris. “We help connect the talent to the opportunity. I hope the Baltimore Corps continues to connect the Baltimore community and provide platforms throughout the city.”
Harris noted that Brittany Young, of B-360, and Nneka N’namdi, of Fight Blight Bmore, are just two talents that have come through Baltimore Corps.
“In 2018, Fight Blight was given an elevation award. It was the first large investment Fight Blight received,” said N’namdi. “It was a great experience and continues to be. The award was just the beginning of the support we have received from the Baltimore Corps.”
N’namdi said, “Fagan’s leadership truly centers on those individuals and organizations that aim to create a future for the Black community. Few places in Baltimore’s social entrepreneurship arena seriously engage entrepreneurs where they are in their respective sectors.”
Harris comments on his work as a community leader.
“Leadership is a heavy and hard task,” said Harris. “The uprising after the death of Freddie Gray left me feeling like I hadn’t done enough. It changed my whole perspective.”
Harris said, “I learned that putting community members in the driver’s seat is crucial to our growth.”
Tashi McQueen is a Report For America Corps Member.