Funds donated to the Central Maryland United Way
campaign not only help keep alive a large umbrella of
affiliated services throughout the region; a significant
portion of the money goes directly to agencies right in
Johns Hopkins' own backyard, many of them organizations
with which university employees are intimately involved.
The immediate areas surrounding the Homewood and Johns
Hopkins at Eastern campuses — which officially begin
their 2005 United
Way campaign this week — are home to 15 United
Way-affiliated agencies that help address the community's
human service needs.
Salem Reiner, the university's director of community
affairs, said these agencies deliver a wide array of
critical services for the community, including literacy
training, youth development and assistance to homeless
adults and children.
"These organizations play truly important roles in
enhancing the vitality of the area by serving the
fundamental needs of a wide range of individuals, as well
as tackling basic neighborhood-level issues," Reiner said.
"The actions of these organizations directly benefit us
all, during the time that we spend at Homewood and
Johns Hopkins is directly involved with a number of
these neighboring agencies, including the Greater Homewood
Community Corp., the Village Learning Place and the Harry
and Jeanette Weinberg YMCA at Stadium Place, whether it be
through cash contributions, board membership, technical
assistance or volunteer support.
Founded in 1969, the Greater Home-wood Community Corp.
is a nonprofit
organization that serves north-central Baltimore. Its
mission is to strengthen neighborhoods by improving
education, supporting youth development and advancing
economic development and community revitalization.
The organization, which caters to the needs of nearly
68,000 residents living in 40 neighborhoods, currently has
three JHU affiliates on its board of directors —
Michael Beer, professor emeritus of biophysics; Beth
Felder, director of federal relations; and Frederick
Savage, acting vice president and general counsel. Its
borders stretch from North Avenue to the south and the
city/county line to the north, and from the Jones Falls
River to the west and York Road to the east.
From its inception, GHCC has focused on improving the
quality of life for people living in Greater Homewood.
Currently, its activities fall into six major categories:
adult literacy and English as a second language, public
education, youth development, economic development and
housing, neighborhood outreach, and community meeting
facilitation. Specifically, GHCC assists community
associations in increasing leadership capacity, mobilizing
citizen involvement and developing special projects.
Another United Way agency closely affiliated with
Johns Hopkins is the Village Learning Place, a community
library and learning center that provides free access to
information, resources and educational programs to promote
literacy, cultural awareness and lifelong learning. Located
in the heart of Charles Village on St. Paul Street, the
Village Learning Place opened in early 2000 and now has a
collection of 14,000 books and more than 3,300 active
Staff members from the Center for Social Concern, the
Milton S. Eisenhower Library and the Center for Talented
Youth played an active role in the development of the
library, which replaced a branch of the Enoch Pratt Free
Library that closed after 101 years of continuous service
in September 1997.
The next month, residents, educators, business owners
and service providers formed a coalition to restore the
building and reopen it as a community-based library and
learning center. Bill Tiefenwerth, director of the Center
for Social Concern, was a founding member of the
organization's board of directors and a champion of the
VLP's creation. Presently, Kelly Amabile, assistant
director for development research, serves on the VLP
Today, the facility consists of a full library, a
learning center, a community technology center, classrooms
and an educational garden. A state-aided educational
institution, the VLP offers a variety of free educational
and enrichment programs.
Located just a stone's throw from the Johns Hopkins at
Eastern campus, the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg YMCA at
Stadium Place works collaboratively with other area
organizations to provide programs that meet the community
needs for wellness, youth and senior programming. Located
on East 33rd Street on the former site of Memorial Stadium,
the 54,000-square-foot facility includes a swimming pool,
gymnasium, multipurpose and meeting rooms, wellness center,
child-care center, teen programming areas and indoor and
outdoor play areas, including a community playground.
The facility's child-care center was made partially
possible by a commitment of funds and support from Johns
Hopkins and Union Memorial Hospital, both of whose
employees use the center. Meg Sonneborn, deputy to the
senior vice president for finance and administration,
currently serves on the branch's board of directors.
The other United Way agencies in close proximity to
Homewood and Johns Hopkins at Eastern are the Baltimore
Child Abuse Center; Baltimore Neighborhoods; Big Brothers
Big Sisters of Central Maryland; Boy Scouts of America,
Baltimore Area Council; Catholic Charities; the Family
Tree; the House of Ruth, Maryland; Marian House; Mental
Health Association of Maryland; Prisoners Aid Association
of Maryland; Project PLASE; and the Women's Housing
Reiner said that, in this time of giving, it's
important to remember that donating to the United Way of
Central Maryland campaign has a direct and positive effect
on the community surrounding the university's campuses.
"These organizations function as a safety net,
delivering services that improve self-sufficiency of
individuals, and enhancing the quality of the community as
a whole," he said.
The university's 2005 drive for the United Way of
Central Maryland begins officially with a kickoff event at
noon on Thursday, Sept. 22, in Homewood's Shriver Hall.
Separate launches will be held on other campuses. For more
information on Hopkins' United Way campaign, including how
to donate online, go to www.jhu.edu/unitedway.
In its Oct. 10 issue, The Gazette will focus on
United Way-affiliated agencies in the East Baltimore