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Support "Baltimore Small Business Stories"

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“Baltimore Small Business Stories” is an independent media platform built to amplify Baltimore’s thriving and diverse small business and nonprofit community.

By doing in-depth photo stories, we connect audiences with incredible small businesses and nonprofits by showing their human side. The behind-the-scenes. The origin stories, struggles, and triumphs. 

The thought here is simple. Most of us believe in supporting small businesses, but so often we default to the Amazon order or Target trip. Why? Oftentimes it’s because we don’t have a tangible relationship, or human connection, with the businesses in our community. Our goal is to change that.

Our platform is donation-based because it is important to us that small businesses and nonprofits are not charged for our services. In addition, each owner/founder receives the photography and story to use for their own marketing purposes.

Supporting small businesses and nonprofits has endless benefits, for not only the businesses and nonprofits themselves but for our communities and the local & global economy. 

With your support and donations, we will be able to complete our first 50 stories, releasing multiple each week, while continuing to evolve and grow the platform.

The founders' of "Baltimore Small Business Stories" are committed to donating their time, professional skillsets, and resources, so every penny of this $18,000.00 fundraiser goes directly towards the operating expenses related to the project.

Why small business?

Small businesses are integral to the success, health, and wellbeing of every community in America. 

”More than half of Americans either own or work for a small business, and they create nearly two out of every three new jobs in the U.S. each year.”  - SBA (

In March 2020, when many small businesses were initially impacted due to the COVID-19 pandemic, our dependence upon them became even more apparent. Suddenly, we realized how lonely it can be without the opportunity to engage with our local businesses. It’s because of them that we are able to experience a heightened joy for life and human connection in our communities. 

They are the heartbeat of this city, and we are so excited to partner with you to help Baltimore thrive. 

How you can help:

Oftentimes, small businesses and nonprofits don’t have big marketing budgets or access to high-quality photography, and it can be a real struggle to stand out amidst Fortune 500 businesses. Our team has traveled the globe filming and photographing advertising campaigns for some of the world's biggest brands including; Nike, National Geographic, Audi, Cadillac, ACLU, Samsung, to name a few. In that process, we’ve realized that part of why small businesses struggle to compete is because they don’t typically have access to the exact skills we’ve honed. 

That’s why we’re so passionate about this platform. By combining our skills with the support of people like you, who believe in Baltimore’s small businesses and nonprofits, we believe we can help level the playing field, and make everyone’s lives so much richer.

What you see on our website and social media is just the beginning of what we hope to achieve with Baltimore Small Business Stories. Up until this point we have been entirely self-funded, but with the addition of your support and donations, we will be able to complete our first 50 stories while continuing to evolve and grow the platform. Your donations also secure us with the funds to market each story online, driving as much engagement to the small businesses as possible.

All money raised overtop of our $18,000.00 goal will be reserved for future expenses and projects through Baltimore Small Business Stories. Our goal is to keep this project alive and thriving for years to come, so every penny helps. 

Please help us share:

If you are unable to donate to this campaign, we totally understand. Simply sharing the GoFundMe URL with others goes a long way for us: 

Below are a few ideas:

-Share the GoFundMe URL through Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, or e-mail 

-Share the GoFundMe URL with your favorite small businesses and nonprofits

-Share with Baltimore influencers 

-Share with people who enjoy supporting small businesses and nonprofits

-Share with contacts in the Baltimore media/news industries

Who we are:

Jon Bregel - Founder, Creative Director, Photographer

Jon Bregel is a multidisciplinary filmmaker & photographer who was born and raised in Towson, Maryland. Much of Jonathan’s ambition to create films comes from a love for the creative & collaborative filmmaking process. Jon’s relentless curiosity and zest for life have led him around the world capturing humanity at large.

Check out Jon's creative portfolio here: 

Rocco Campanelli - Co-Founder, Creative Director & Managing Director

Rocco Campanelli is a strategic producer and creative working with production companies, agencies, and brands to create commercials and branded content. From the original creative concept to final delivery, he creates collaborative work environments to foster authentic relationships with both colleagues and clients. 

Check out Rocco’s creative portfolio here: 

Founders Story:

Founders Jon Bregel and Rocco Campanelli met in 2015 while working in the advertising business. While their friendship has remained strong, it's their own unique connections to small businesses, nonprofits, and Baltimore that inspired Baltimore Small Business Stories.

At 22, Jon and a couple of friends were met with success after founding a commercial advertising company in New York City. Jon traveled worldwide creating, filming, and producing advertising campaigns for big brand products (Nike, National Geographic, Audi, Cadillac, ACLU, Tiffany & Co., to name a few.) After eight years of leading an exciting yet grueling lifestyle that left very little time for anything but work, he chose to part ways with his company and became intentional about developing a healthy work/life balance for him and his new wife in his hometown of Baltimore, Maryland.

Having been back in Baltimore for over two years, Jon has enjoyed building a sense of home and community in-between directing and filming freelance jobs. When Covid-19 hit in March of 2020, he was left feeling unsettled, staring in the face of his local community and surroundings in upheaval. His wife works at Federal Hill Main Street (a nonprofit that supports small businesses in Federal Hill) and every day she shared stories about how much the local business owners were struggling. Having been a small business owner for his entire adulthood, Jon couldn’t help but feel for the city's local businesses. Through his wife’s stories and his interactions with neighborhood small business owners, there was no denying that the local economy was going to take a big hit. He wondered what he could do to help. How could he use his experiences in advertising and storytelling to support his hometown's small businesses?

With an idea in mind, Jon called Rocco Campanelli, who immediately jumped on board to figure out how he could bring the idea to life. With his own work as a commercial producer and creative directly impacted by Covid-19, he too was seeking a way to create community while self-isolating. From day one, Rocco utilized his experience in fostering authentic relationships, community-building, and leading brands to make the project a reality.

What started as a few photoshoots and interviews with small business owners and not-for-profit founders quickly turned into a full-on passion project. The courage and resilience of these owners and founders has been always palpable, inspiring, and worth sharing with the world.

The result is Baltimore Small Business Stories.

Thank you:

Most importantly, we want to thank everyone who has supported Baltimore Small Business Stories thus far. Not only does it mean a lot to us, but it means even more to the small businesses and nonprofits whose stories we are able to share. 

FAQ / Contact Us:

If you have any questions about this fundraiser or Baltimore Small Business Stories in general, please reach out to Rocco or Jon directly via their contact at


Jon Bregel
Baltimore, MD

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