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To our readers

Each year we highlight what the employers on The Baltimore Sun’s Top Workplaces list are doing right for their employees. We explain how they’re providing a healthy mix of meaning, challenge, leadership and fun, as well as decent pay and benefits.

But the unrest in Baltimore this spring brought fresh focus to the economic disparities and inequality of opportunity that simmer beneath the surface across the city.

On some levels it doesn’t matter how good a workplace a business creates behind its doors, whether in the city or out in the suburbs, if Baltimore itself isn’t a top place to find a job and make a living.

Most top workplaces understand they need to invest not just in their workforces but in their communities. You see it in companies large and small, from charitable donations and fundraising events to outreach programs and partnerships with civic and educational groups aimed at improving the community as a whole and sometimes its future workforce.

Such involvement pays dividends beyond any marketing value. Employees are happier when they see their employer is as vested in where they live as they themselves are.

In her story beginning on page 8, Emily Bregel describes how several of Baltimore’s top workplaces give back to the region. For example, the Living Legacy Foundation helped restore a park in Sandtown-Winchester, and design firm Gensler worked with city schools to attract minorities to careers in architecture.

Michael Hankin, president and CEO of Brown Advisory Inc., which is in its third year on the list, encourages the investment firm’s employees to get involved in Baltimore, where, as he explains on page 38, it’s easier to make a difference. He practices what he preaches, serving as chairman of the Waterfront Partnership with a goal of making the Inner Harbor swimmable and fishable by 2020. Hankin understands such involvement makes both Brown Advisory and Baltimore better places to work.

To identify Baltimore’s top workplaces, The Sun collaborated with Philadelphia-based WorkplaceDynamics to conduct employee surveys and crunch the data. WorkplaceDynamics, whose mission is to help employers create places where people want to work, has conducted similar surveys for dozens of U.S. newspapers and helped The Sun produce Baltimore’s Top Workplaces for the past five years.

WorkplaceDynamics scored and ranked the results, dividing the employers into three categories: large, medium and small. Doug Claffey, the firm’s CEO, explains the process on page 20.

The list of top companies across those categories starts on page 18. There are profiles of the No. 1 workplaces and others in the top 10 of each category. WorkplaceDynamics also awarded special honors, found on page 16, recognizing top managers and standout companies that scored high in particular categories.

We hope you enjoy this magazine and that you’ll nominate your company next year. But we also hope you think about what your business or organization can do to help make Baltimore a top place to work for everyone.

Christopher Dinsmore is The Baltimore Sun's senior editor for business and health

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