Blue Water Baltimore


Founded in 2010 when five grassroots organizations merged together, Blue Water Baltimore (BWB) focuses on restoring the waterways surrounding Baltimore to drive greater economic, environmental and community benefit.



After making a series of difficult but necessary financial management decisions, including staff layoffs, BWB sought to rebuild its revenue position and explore new pathways for growth. BWB needed support from an external partner to help deliver a strategy that would breathe new life to the organization’s fundraising and earned income efforts.


20 Degrees delivered a multi-tiered response:

We conducted our signature service, the 20° Revenue Readiness Assessment. Through our analysis, we helped the organization identify its readiness to capture and grow new revenue, along with concrete priorities and steps to quickly increase the likelihood of success. The assessment served as the roadmap for the new revenue strategy delivered at the end of the engagement.

We created a comprehensive revenue strategy that included both philanthropic and earned income pillars.

  • Philanthropy: supported the reimagination of the development department and implementation ahead of the permanent development lead arriving. 20 Degrees wrote the organization’s high-level development plan and supported the execution of it, including helping the organization secure major donor support at a critical time of need.
  • Earned Income: helped BWB optimize existing earned revenue lines, including a plant nursery, offering insights on pricing, market positioning and other recommendations to support the overhaul of the business line. These ideas were then socialized with staff to get early feedback on ideas, integrating and course correcting as needed.

Throughout the engagement, we delivered regular customized workshops and trainings to support the organization’s leaders with major gifts, financial management and other operational questions.


Blue Water Baltimore’s financial situation has stabilized and is now on a pathway to growth that is sustainable.

The organization has grown revenues throughout the COVID era leveraging many of the key recommendations from 20 Degrees. Further, the organization has been able to successfully onboard and retain development staff,elevate its earned income and investigate additional programmatic offerings for new revenue.