Our hearts are heavy and minds filled with thoughts of the devastation in Texas this past week. The horrific stories and pictures are as equally gut wrenching as the stories of the heroism and kindness are inspiring.
The leadership of The Associated has tried to keep abreast of the situation with our partners at the Jewish Federations of North America and those in the affected regions.
Throughout March, anyone who is not currently a MAC member can get a 25-day trial to the MAC for $25! The entire $25 will be donated by the MAC to the Ronald McDonald House. Ronald McDonald House Charities of Baltimore provides a home away from home for seriously ill children and their families, and helps to fund programs in the local area that directly improve the well being of children.
Here’s another reason to run up and hug Ray Rice if you see him at the mall next month: according to UMBC economic analysts, the fact that the Ravens have made it to the Super Bowl will boost Baltimore’s economy by about $140 per resident.
St. Frances Academy sits squarely in the shadow of the Baltimore City Detention Center, and the irony is lost on no one. With just over 200 high school students, mostly black and mostly poor, St. Frances can seem like the last chance for many. Established in 1828, by a Haitian nun of the Oblate order, St. Frances has been educating the children of Baltimore African-Americans for nearly 200 years now, on a budget that sometimes seems little more than a wing and a prayer.
Founded as The Baltimore School For Colored Girls, the school’s original mission was to “teach the children of color to read the Bible” – an illegal act in the slave-state of Maryland. Its founder, Mother Mary Lange, is currently a candidate for sainthood in the Catholic Church, although at the time of the school’s founding, her efforts were not embraced among Catholic leadership, many of whom were slave owners themselves. St. Frances persevered, times changed, and the tiny East Baltimore school continued to meet a growing need. In the 1970s it went co-ed, and its role expanded to become a neighborhood gathering place, a community and health center.
Today, there are many success stories here. Almost 100 percent of St. Frances graduates go on to college, despite a small sports program and no academic admission standard. What is required — according to Sister John Francis Schilling, director of the school since 1993, who personally interviews every candidate — is a sincere desire to come, and that their parent or guardian promise to support them. Tuition is charged for nearly every student, although the school strives to accommodate families in difficult circumstances. With a purposefully small enrollment, and classes of less than 15 students, St. Frances is able to provide individual attention and, when needed, counseling to each of its students.
Among St. Frances’s notable sponsors are Camille Cosby, who in 2005, donated $2 million, which the school used to endow 16 scholarship chairs. In three weeks, on April 20th, Drs. Bill and Camille Cosby will visit St. Frances to be honored at a fund-raising gala, organized to help the school continue its mission. Soledad O’Brien, popular CNN anchor, will also attend — on behalf of her mother Estella, a St. Frances graduate.
For tickets to the gala on April 20th, contact Melissa D’Adamo at St. Frances, [email protected]. or call 410-539-7030.
Since Tom Wilcox arrived here in 2000 to become president and CEO of the Baltimore Community Foundation (BCF), the city has witnessed a now-you-see-‘em/now-you-don’t burlesque of changes among its top officials – at City Hall, the police department, fire department, health department, public schools – that includes a mayor and a police commissioner convicted of low crimes and misdemeanors. Simultaneously, the city, sometimes by accident and sometimes by design, also has witnessed dramatic improvements: notably, a decreased crime rate, increased student test scores, and, probably thanks to the Internet, greater transparency at various government agencies. Partial credit, certainly, goes to a handful of forward-thinking municipal administrators, who, given a forum, loudly declaim their achievements. More quietly, the progressive policies of the BCF and its nonprofit brethren – true “BELIEVE” types – have just as demonstrably enhanced Baltimoreans’ lives.
As head of the BCF, now in its 40th year, Wilcox rides herd on 600-plus varied philanthropic funds, organizing “grants, initiatives, and advocacy around a vision of a Baltimore with a growing economy,” according to the foundation’s website. Last year, the BCF dispensed more than $20 million in grants to hundreds of local, regional, and national nonprofits. Specific to the metro area, its Invest in Baltimore agenda, co-crafted by Wilcox, “encompasses and measures coordinated efforts to reduce poverty, stimulate economic growth, and assure a high quality of life in Greater Baltimore.” In essence, BCF shepherds donors’ charitable giving by matching benefactors to their particular areas of interest: neighborhoods, education (including scholarships), health, and the arts.
Maryland is the second most charitable state in the country, according to 24/7 Wall St. The Old Line State was bested only by Utah when it comes to charitable donations.
Urban Institute’s methodology was used to determine the most charitable states with data collected by the IRS, ranking each state by average charitable donation per taxpayer. The number is calculated by dividing the total number of taxpayers in each state by the total charitable donations listed in itemized deductions for taxpayers.
Maryland: Charitable donation per taxpayer: $1,661 Taxpayers who donate to charity: 40.8% (the highest) Average income per taxpayer: $66,614 (4th highest) Pct. of households earning $200,000 or more: 7.4% (3rd highest)
Said 24/7 Wall St: Like Connecticut, Maryland is in extremely good economic shape. The state has the third-lowest poverty rate in the U.S., as well as the third-highest percentage of families that earn at least $200,000 per year. Average income per taxpayer in 2009 was $66,614, the fourth-highest rate in the U.S., and the average taxpayer gave $1,661 to charity in the same year.
Loyola University announced yesterday that it received the largest gift in its history from Ed Hanway, Class of 1974, and his wife Ellen. The $5.2 million gift from Hanway, who is the head of the university’s board of trustees, will support a number of key initiatives, including its global studies program, York Road Initiative, and living-learning communities for first-year students, as well as create a new, endowed, full-tuition scholarship.
The Hanways’ gift stems from the longstanding, positive impact the University has had on their family, and on the belief in its potential for future success. “Loyola is at an interesting point in its history, with a solid strategy in place that really cuts to the core of what the university is about—programs and education, not buildings,” said Ed Hanway, a Media, Pa., resident who retired as chief executive officer of CIGNA in 2009.
The University’s global studies program, an interdisciplinary major combining economics, political science, history, and sociology, is the largest beneficiary of the Hanways’ gift. Their support will allow for the creation of an endowed faculty chair and endowed speakers’ series, as well as provide additional resources for faculty scholarship.
The gift also provides additional funding for Loyola’s planned living-learning program, set to launch in the fall of 2013. While many colleges and universities—including Loyola—offer living-learning experiences in which students take one or more courses with immediate neighbors in their residence halls, Loyola’s will be unusual in extending the experience to all first-year students, and in the depth and breadth of extra- and co-curricular programs it includes.
Additional resources would also be made available for Loyola’s York Road Initiative, a University-wide effort to improve the quality of life for those living, working, and learning in the neighborhoods just east of Loyola’s Evergreen campus in North Baltimore, as well as for the creation of an endowed, full-tuition scholarship.
GiveCorps and the Enoch Pratt Free Library will hold one of Baltimore’s first Tweet-a-Thon’s today from 5 – 7 p.m. The Pratt’s e-reader program is one of the first in the nation and the two groups hope to raise awareness (and money) to purchase additional e-readers. The hashtag for the Tweet-a-Thon is #Nooks4Pratt.