Working to create a new culture of charitable givingThanks...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

August 05, 1999

Working to create a new culture of charitable giving

Thanks to The Sun for the accurate picture of Baltimore's need for increased philanthropic giving ("Why Baltimoreans don't give more," July 30).

We agree that changing the giving culture in the Baltimore region, as well as the nation, is necessary. The key is to encourage the next generation of donors to fill the void in philanthropic leadership.

The Baltimore Giving Project, a broad-based and diverse coalition of Baltimore-area organizations, institutions and individuals, is attempting to encourage this philanthropic leadership and create a new civic imperative to give.

The project is one of 13 initiatives across the country that has received national funding to launch and support strategies to increase philanthropy.

We are working with "next generation wealth holders" -- entrepreneurs, sectors of the African-American community, professional advisers -- to increase support to grant-making institutions and create foundations, philanthropic funds and corporate giving programs.

With new industry and personal wealth growing, Baltimoreans have an incredible opportunity, and responsibility, to embrace a new culture of giving.

Jan Rivitz, Baltimore

The writer is chair of the Baltimore Giving Project.

A way to find pennies and help area charities

Here's a modest suggestion for alleviating the penny shortage and increasing gifts to charities.

Instead of empty coin wrappers, banks could provide strong containers into which a person could place loose coins and a card with his or her name and address and the name of a charity, such as the United Way, Catholic Charities or the Jewish Community Federation.

The donor would return the container to the bank, which would count the coins, send a receipt to the donor and forward a check to the charity for the sum of the donations made to it.

Although individual stashes of coins may be small, the cumulative impact could be great.

Brigid Kenney, Baltimore

City voters must demand better from mayor's race

As Baltimore continues to sink

As Baltimore continues to sink -- with a the nation's fourth-highest murder rate, a court system legendary for incompetence and a state's attorney who congratulates herself while murderers are set free as a result of negligence in her office -- we have yet another cause for concern: the crop of mayoral hopefuls ("Murder rate is challenge to city's mayoral candidates," July 27).

In recent weeks we have learned that several of these candidates are prone to irresponsibility and outright lies.

One candidate recently had his car repossessed because of his financial failures. One lied about having a college degree. Another may have attended a seminary full-time when she should have been at work.

These people would have us believe they have the experience, vision and integrity to lead Baltimore into the new millennium, break down an entrenched drug culture and reduce the city's consistently high murder rate?

And how do they propose to do this? By opening more recreation centers in troubled neighborhoods. By holding more conferences with law enforcement officials and reorganizing the police department. By placing a judge at the central booking center for slightly swifter justice.

One confused candidate believes that the way to solve the city's drug problem is to open more clinics that provide addicts with the narcotics they need, thus taking the profit out of the drug trade (and shifting the burden to taxpayers).

Let's hope that voters and concerned citizens demand something better -- not least, better candidates.

John Martalo, Owings Mills

Lawrence Bell is best for Baltimore

This year, City Council President Lawrence Bell is clearly the best candidate for mayor of Baltimore.

Mr. Bell is pro-union. He is of the people, for the people -- and the people will make him the next mayor of Baltimore.

Dominic M. Leone Jr., Pasadena

O'Malley's integrity stands unblemished

Barry Rascovar's column "In mayoral race, look for viability, not perfection" (Opinion Commentary, July 25) made me angry.

For Mr. Rascovar to write off Councilman Martin O'Malley as a "white running in a majority-black town" is inexcusable. When was the last time The Sun set aside a serious candidacy because the person was African-American, Hispanic, Asian, or female?

When Mr. Rascovar noted that "Mr. O'Malley hasn't skirted any laws, lied about his credentials or gone to school on taxpayers time," he was apparently recognizing Mr. O'Malley's integrity.

Had he considered Mr. O'Malley's qualifications, Mr. Rascovar might have written a different column.

Instead of asking Baltimore voters to accept "imperfections" in our next mayor, Mr. Rascovar could then have asked us to sort through the field of candidates and find one who meets standards for integrity and qualifications.

Tim Sharman, Baltimore

Fans of Sesame Street will remember the game "one of these things is not like the other."

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