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City Life Community Builders

Our Mission

City Life Community Builders is committed to creating healthy, sustainable, and stable communities where all members are able to participate in economic opportunities, obtain jobs and live in quality housing.

What We Do

City Life Community Builders and their affiliates have been rebuilding disenfranchised communities in East Baltimore since the early 1980s. This work has provided us firsthand knowledge of barriers that prevent communities from thriving. 

City Life Community Builders provides residents who lack jobs that pay a family-supporting wage construction training, job readiness skills, and job search skills. We offer professional support services to assist in overcoming barriers that have prevented trainees from gaining employment and financial independence. This support, combined with our organization's extensive experience in construction management and construction training, leads to successful job placement and puts our graduates on a career pathway leading to advancement and family-supporting wages.


City Life also rehabilitates vacant homes in East Baltimore. We recognize that vacant homes are oftentimes used as cover for illegal activities, which can hinder the community's ability to attract businesses and make neighborhoods appear like ghost towns. Through our efforts in rehabbing homes in East Baltimore, we aim to deter crime, beautify the community, and bring pride to the residents of the communities. 

We also aim to empower the communities we serve. Through our Community Development initiatives, we connect with local leaders, residents, and businesses to enrich the lives of our neighbors in East Baltimore. 


Ella M Durant- C.D., D.D., M. Ed.
Board Chair

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Ella has been a member of City Life Community Builder's board of directors since 2016. She currently serves as the Board Chair.

Ella's experience includes: 

  • Civic Responsibility and Accountability- President of Collington Square Neighborhood Association for 25 years, which has brought and continues to bring positive experience in the area.

  • Employment- Retirement from 50+ years of a professional career, at a world-known medical system. This includes 40 years in an education position. In addition, she has been an adjunct educator in a well respected higher education system, teaching Psychology.

  • Diversity- Recipient of a prestigious Diversity and Inclusion Award through the medical center of employment, Personal heartfelt belief is that “there is only one race – the human race”.

Ellen Burke
Co-Founder & Executive Director


Ellen has spent the last 20 years building communities and housing in East Baltimore.  Through this work, she saw the lack of job opportunities for young community residents and utilized her extensive background in training and development to create a construction workforce training program.  She recognized that without jobs paying family-supporting wages, these young adults would be unable to purchase a home or participate in the transformations occurring in their neighborhoods.


Ellen continues to participate with many community associations and organizations throughout East Baltimore working to make positive and lasting changes in disenfranchised neighborhoods. Additionally, she has been a leader in the re-development of the Hoen Complex into the Center for Neighborhood Innovation, which is now home to the largest construction workforce training center in the Baltimore Region.

Our Partners

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