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Pete DeCandia, C'13

Lives of Significance

Pete DeCandia, C'13

An Entrepreneurial Spirit

The role of an entrepreneur is to make solutions irresistible in both magnificent and mundane ways. Pete DeCandia, C’13, uses his entrepreneurial spirit to serve others, harness the collective power of placemaking and create influence in Baltimore by building community through professional networks and strategic initiatives.

Pete’s penchant for placemaking began during his time at Mount St. Mary’s University where he was actively involved in positively shaping the Mount’s campus community. Pete, who studied business and philosophy, succeeded in combining all his interests, including sports, academics, friendships and faith. He played baseball, joined the honors program, was a peer tutor, and served as president of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and SGA Class of 2013 treasurer.

“The supportive nature of the Mount gave me the confidence to be successful in the real world despite my lack of confidence in myself academically,” Pete reflects. Having graduated in the bottom 50 percent of his high school class while working through the challenges of dyslexia, he says these struggles were his greatest strength—an advantage to problem solve and think differently about the world around him.

“I learned how to be a virtuous person at the Mount,” he says. “In all the things I learned—from Aristotle to St. Thomas Aquinas—my amazing professors balanced the Catholic values with reasoning from philosophies that ignited my curiosity.”

Placemaking in Baltimore

After graduating from the Mount, Pete joined Teach for America. The nonprofit organization, whose mission is to “enlist, develop and mobilize the nation’s most promising future leaders to grow and strengthen the movement for educational equality and leadership” afforded him the chance to become a full-time educator while earning a master’s in education from Johns Hopkins University.

In all the things I learned—from Aristotle to St. Thomas Aquinas—my amazing professors balanced the Catholic values with reasoning from philosophies that ignited my curiosity.

While it was a perfect opportunity, he learned firsthand the difficulty of moving to the city and finding a home. It was that realization that led to Charm City becoming the epicenter for Pete’s community-building efforts.

On January 1, 2017, Pete launched Teacher Props, a company that finds and sources great places to live in desirable neighborhoods and matches them with deserving teachers. By the summer of 2017, his company had helped 104 teachers find homes and properties in Baltimore.

The concept behind Teacher Props is that if a city values its teachers by providing smooth transitions and excellent living situations that meet their personal and professional needs, then teachers can bring their best selves into the classroom to better serve their students. Pete’s vision is that teachers will fall in love with the city and stay in Baltimore as change-makers for years to come.

Building Community

Studies have shown that the more connected people are to the places where they live, work and play, the more those communities contribute to individuals’ health, happiness and well-being. In effect, placemaking capitalizes on the assets of a city or neighborhood to maximize shared values.

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Pete DeCandia, C'13, outside the global headquarters for Under Armour Inc. in Baltimore, Maryland.

Today, Pete uses the interconnectedness and intersections of companies’ shared interests to the advantage of Baltimore’s teachers and students. He works in the Global Philanthropy Department at Under Armour and at the Fund for Educational Excellence, a nonprofit organization working to improve student achievement in Baltimore City schools.

His most ambitious project, the Baltimore Student-Athlete Coalition, consists of partnerships between Under Armour, the Baltimore Ravens, Baltimore City Public Schools and the Inside Out Initiative. “There’s a lot of synergy in working together,” he says.

That synergy keeps him motivated as he continues to draw on the lessons that he learned at the Mount of serving the needs of others and creating an inclusive and collaborative environment.