A 15-minute walk from the Johns Hopkins Carey Business School’s waterfront campus in Baltimore’s Harbor East neighborhood sits City Springs Elementary/Middle School. In the shadow of renewed development throughout the area, City Springs is ranked 125th out of Baltimore’s total 125 elementary schools in terms of household income, but its heart, grit, and giving nature has made it a natural partner mirroring Carey’s mission of teaching business with humanity in mind.
Case in point: After the devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey in the Houston area last year, City Spring students raised $3,000 for victims of the massive storm. That’s $3,000 raised and donated by one of Baltimore’s poorest neighborhoods to help complete strangers in their time of greatest need.
The genesis of the Carey/City Springs relationship started in early 2017 when faculty member Lindsay Thompson suggested that Carey’s Staff Council, which was looking to partner with a nearby school, consider City Springs. Led by Mary Somers, associate director of Coaching and Education in Carey’s Career Development office, an active partnership blossomed that has produced an ongoing series of initiatives including a clothing drive, a summer clean-up day, a breakfast hosted for City Springs faculty, and donations for City Springs students to purchase books at a book fair held at the school. Additionally, in collaboration with Gilchrest Hospice, four Vietnam veterans visited City Springs to share their stories with students, while City Springs staff and students attended Carey’s “Women in Leadership” panel discussion held this past spring. City Springs academic coaches also hosted a training session for Carey volunteers, examining the concepts of “Direct Instruction” and the benefits of its use in the Baltimore City Public Schools curriculum.
The highlight so far of this young but inspiring collaboration took place this past April 26 when Carey presented a check for $6,098 to City Springs to restock and expand its library, a most pressing need. The total raised by Carey students, faculty, and staff through a GoFundMe page and additional Carey promotions was 50 percent higher than the original goal of $4,000.
Glen Steinbach, senior associate dean for Finance and Administration for Carey and one of the school’s City Springs volunteers, related how his wife volunteers weekly at the library, seeing firsthand the eagerness of students to read despite the scarcity of available books. In light of that, “Our Staff Council has made this [raising funds for the library] a priority project,” he said. “We are making a difference in that school and in the lives of those children. What a proud moment!”
Added City Springs principal Rhonda Richetta, “I’m just so touched, not just by the money, but by the time that people from this school [Carey] are giving to my school. I’m just so honored to do what I do every day.”