BUILD demands teams back school program Leader suggests Orioles, Ravens give in six figures

June 12, 1996|By John Rivera | John Rivera,SUN STAFF

Members of BUILD, a church-based community group, demanded last night that the owners of Baltimore's two major-league sports teams make at least a "six-figure" contribution to its public authority that will fund after-school programs for city school children.

At a meeting attended by more than 1,000 people at St. Mary of the Assumption Roman Catholic Church in Govans, the Rev. Grady Yeargin, co-chairman of Baltimoreans United for Leadership Development, said he would give the owners of the baseball Orioles and the football Ravens until July 2 to come up with a specific dollar figure to support the Child First Authority.

Yeargin said he would seek a minimum six-figure commitment this year with a similar commitment in future years.

BUILD has hailed the Child First Authority as the nation's first public authority dedicated to providing enrichment activities for children. The authority will raise most of its money from private sources and will have the power to sell bonds to buy equipment and pay for necessary construction or renovation to support the program.

The authority will fund after-school programs to keep children safe between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m., the hours they are most likely to get into trouble. This fall, it will start in seven city schools, adding two in January.

BUILD's goal is to expand the program to 40 schools in three years. Students will be offered tutoring and cultural and recreational activities.

Yeargin noted that public funds were used to build Oriole Park at Camden Yards and will be used to build the proposed football stadium next door. "Tonight, we're asking them to invest in us," he said. "And that investment is called the Child First Authority."

After the meeting, Yeargin said BUILD has been involved in negotiations with the Orioles and the Ravens and that "they have been very open to [negotiations]."

BUILD also has asked the National Aquarium in Baltimore for contributions and will ask other downtown businesses.

Orioles owner Peter Angelos has said the team is likely to contribute to the authority and Ravens officials have said the authority is on a list of charities the team may support. Neither team has made a specific commitment.

Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke reaffirmed last night his commitment to raise $1.5 million for the authority. Of that amount, about $400,000 will come in the first year from the privatized corporation that runs municipal golf courses, a figure that could rise to $500,000 in subsequent years. The rest will come from private sources, Schmoke said.

A highlight of last night's meeting was the announcement of the schools selected for the first year of the program.

To be selected, a school already must have had a relationship with a BUILD church.

The schools selected are General Wolfe, Dr. Bernard Harris Sr., Govans, Eutaw-Marshburn, John Eager Howard and Calvin Rodwell elementaries, and a partnership of Patapsco and Cherry Hill elementaries.

In January, after-school programs will begin at Yorkwood Elementary and Greenspring Middle.

Pub Date: 6/12/96

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