Weinberg Foundation Leads Launch of Groundbreaking Baltimore City School Library Project

Public-Private Partnership Represents Total Investment of $3.78 Million

BALTIMORE, Dec. 5, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, one of the largest private foundations in the United States, today celebrates the launch of the multi-million dollar, multi-year Baltimore Elementary/Middle School Library Project:

  • Monday, December 5, 10 a.m.
  • Moravia Park Elementary/Middle School (#105), 6201 Frankford Avenue
  • Scheduled to speak:
    • U.S. Senator Benjamin L. Cardin
    • Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake
    • Dr. Andres A. Alonso, CEO, Baltimore City Public Schools
    • Rachel Garbow Monroe, President, The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation

This initiative, involving more than 15 community and government partners, will work with Baltimore City Public Schools to design, build, equip, and staff new or renovated libraries in selected elementary and middle schools where existing public funding can be leveraged. In the first year of this effort, the Weinberg Foundation is committed to providing up to $1 million in library funding.The combined direct and in-kind contributions of the Foundation's many partners bring the total value of this project to $3.78 million.

Each library will feature new equipment, reading materials, and furniture including e-readers (Nooks), a bank of computers, and a "Parenting Corner" for parents and guardians to visit the library and share time with their child.

"The Elementary/Middle School Library Project will not solve 'all the ills' of this economic world," said Rachel Garbow Monroe, Weinberg Foundation President. "But the Weinberg Foundation and its many partners believe it is a critical starting point; the first page in a story of meaningful, lasting change encouraging an increased focus on literacy and helping young people to break the cycle of poverty."

The Weinberg Foundation will financially support up to 30% of the actual costs of each library. In addition, the Foundation will provide an operating grant for two years to increase staff support and provide professional development.

The schools selected for this project have received federal Qualified Zone Academy Bond (QZAB) funds which are used for the renovation of public school libraries. QZAB eligibility requires that the school be located in either an Empowerment Zone or Enterprise Community with 35% or more of its students eligible for the free or reduced price meal program. Baltimore City Schools has identified elementary/middle schools that have either completed or have started the QZAB process and need additional resources to complete their project.

"I want to commend the Weinberg Foundation for its commitment to Baltimore City's children," said U.S. Senator Ben Cardin. "Reading is the key to future success and the Weinberg Foundation and its partners, through this project, will better equip Baltimore City children with the reading and learning skills they need to succeed in school and in the workplace."

The Weinberg Foundation has learned from other Foundation-led public-private partnerships that worked in New York City and Washington, D.C. The Weinberg Library Project currently includes three schools to receive new libraries with QZAB funds and one school financing the library outside of the QZAB process:  Moravia Park Elementary/Middle, Southwest Baltimore Charter School, Thomas Johnson Elementary/Middle, and the East Baltimore Community School (outside QZAB).

Baltimore City Public Schools CEO Dr. Andres Alonso commented, "Love of reading leads to love of learning, and a lifetime of self-improvement and continuing education for our children and their families." Dr. Alonso continued, "The Baltimore Elementary/Middle School Library Project is focused, targeted to our areas of greatest need, and designed for success. It is my sincere hope that we will be able to duplicate this success throughout City Schools."

Design work at Moravia Park Elementary/Middle is underway and construction is expected to begin in summer of 2012 with completion three to six months later.

Follow Monday's events and all Weinberg Library Project developments on Twitter at #libraryproject.

About The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation
The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, one of the largest private charitable foundations in the United States, provides approximately $100 million in annual grants to nonprofits that provide direct services to economically disadvantaged people, primarily in the U.S. and Israel.  Grants are focused on meeting basic needs and enhancing an individual's ability to meet those needs with emphasis on older adults, the Jewish community, and our hometown communities of Maryland, northeastern Pennsylvania, and Hawaii. The trustees, some of whom also serve as executive officers of the Foundation, are Alvin Awaya, Judge Ellen M. Heller, Robert T. Kelly, Jr., Barry I. Schloss, and Chairman of the Board Donn Weinberg. Rachel Monroe serves as the Weinberg Foundation's President. For more information please go to www.hjweinbergfoundation.org.

Media Contact: Craig Demchak, 443-738-1159
cdemchak@hjweinberg.org

SOURCE Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation



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www.hjweinbergfoundation.org

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