In his role as Applied Development’s Chief Operating Officer, Biffrey Braxton prides himself on being able to balance his technology-focused background with his human-centered approach to work. Although these may seem like opposing ways of thinking about the world, Biffrey embraces these two ideas not only in work, but in his approach to life, work, and community service. Earlier this year, Biffrey joined the Midtown Community Benefits District board of directors. Joining the board allows Biffrey to continue to build the community where he lives and design better tomorrows for Baltimore.
The first five years Biffrey lived in the Mt. Vernon neighborhood of central Baltimore, he didn’t even know the Midtown Community Benefits District (MCBD) existed. Once he learned about the organization, he realized how important it was for his community. “If we agree that all politics are local, being active at this level helps to make our elected officials aware of the issues, concerns, and joys that we encounter,” he says. This year, he joined the board because he knew he had something to offer and he also felt he had “a duty to serve my community.”
In work, Biffrey believes in creating products that are both useful and beautiful. In a way, the MCBD seeks to make the Midtown neighborhoods of Bolton Hill, Charles North, Madison Park, and Mt. Vernon/ Belvedere both useful and beautiful, too. The MCBD is an advocacy and improvement group authorized by law, and the main purpose of the organization is to “promote and market the District by providing supplemental security and maintenance services, as well as administer amenities in public areas, and facilitate park and recreational programs and functions.”
Biffrey says that the primary focus of the MCBD was on keeping the neighborhoods clean, green, and safe. But bringing usefulness into equation, the board has recently started focusing on how to keep them fun, too. For example, the radio station WTMD used to host the First Thursdays concerts in Mt. Vernon, but moved the event to another neighborhood in the city. The Baltimore Book Festival also used to find a home in Mt. Vernon, but moved downtown. These types of events entice people to live in and visit Midtown.
Biffrey hopes his work on the board will help “bring back that fun feeling that caused us to move to this area almost ten years ago.” Nan Roher, President of the MCBD board says, “Biffrey is an avid supporter of the urban experience, and strives to consistently share that lifestyle with those he comes into contact with professionally, civically, and personally.” She adds, “We are so fortunate to have Biffrey on Midtown Community Benefit District’s board as we continue to improve the way we do business and provide high quality experiences for our Midtown constituents.”
In addition to his position of the MCBD board, Biffrey volunteers for the House of Ruth, Maryland (HRM) as one of the first members of the Men Greater Than Violence initiative. The initiative is conducting research to develop an Intimate Partner Violence Intervention Model, which will be based on responses from Baltimore City. They hope this will create a model that works particularly well in our communities. His love of music and jazz also led him to volunteer with the Eubie Blake National Jazz Institute and Cultural Center (http://www.eubieblake.org/), also located in the Midtown area of Baltimore.
Biffrey believes in volunteering and giving back, and has built that ethos into Applied Development’s corporate culture. When Biffrey and Kimberly Citizen co-founded Applied Development a little over eight years ago, they both wanted to focus on creating a new type of government contracting experience. With experience in contracting and consulting, they both knew that employees often feel like a number, disconnected from the company and without a mission-driven purpose. As part of our mission to create better tomorrows, Applied Development encourages volunteerism, community service, and mentorship among our employees.