Casey Foundation carries link to UPS

Nonprofit: With his siblings, a founder of the delivery service established the charitable organization, naming it for their mother.

May 23, 2004|By Meredith Cohn | Meredith Cohn,SUN STAFF

In a corner Reservoir Hill house-turned-after-school-hangout one recent afternoon, an 11-year-old girl known as Goofy is looking serious.

Between chatter with friends and instruction by a local artist, Cieara Henson is focused on putting the final touches of paint and glaze on a clay tile she has made. It will go in a garden in her neighborhood that she helped create. She is working on the project with about a dozen girls: Monique, Robin, Jericka and others.

None of them has likely given a thought to a man from Seattle named James E. Casey, who lived from 1888 to 1983. But from his office a half-century ago at United Parcel Service, he thought girls and boys in some of the nation's tougher neighborhoods had something to offer their communities.

Casey, a founder of United Parcel Service, and his siblings founded the Annie E. Casey Foundation, named for their mother, from shares of the package company stock. It began providing funding for Baltimore programs such as Kids on the Hill 10 years ago, when the foundation headquarters moved to Baltimore from Greenwich, Conn.

While only a third of the foundation's endowment consists of UPS shares, Casey's organization relies heavily on the company's performance for its prosperity. Several current and former UPS executives also help guide the foundation as board members.

"It's fun," said Cieara, adding that without the program, "I'd just be playing in my house."

"We've learned to mix paint and make shades and work with clay and hang stuff up in the neighborhood," added D'andre Beverly.

The Kids on the Hill program, which uses art to promote positive messages such as pride, confidence and creativity, received $20,000 this year from Casey. It's one of many that have received Casey money, including the Baltimore Believe image campaign promoted by Mayor Martin O'Malley. The foundation recently guaranteed loans used to overhaul an East Baltimore neighborhood that will be the site of a life sciences and technology park near the Johns Hopkins medical campus.

The foundation expects to hand out $238 million this year around the nation, up from about $190 million in 2001. That would make the foundation the nation's sixth-largest in terms of spending. Fifteen to 25 programs in Baltimore will share about $13 million this year, or more than 5 percent of the total.

Casey will continue to give away about 8 percent of the endowment's value each year, which outpaces the Internal Revenue Service's target for nonprofits of 5 percent.

The foundation began diversifying its portfolio in the early 1990s, and accelerated sale of UPS stock after the company went public in 1999. The value of its portfolio increased by $1 billion overnight to about $2.7 billion. Today, about one-third of the $3 billion endowment is in UPS stock. Casey plans to continue selling shares until UPS represents about 28 percent of the portfolio.

Shares closed Friday at $69.12, up 16 cents.

"We've been immensely fortunate to benefit from the continued success of UPS through the 1980s and 1990s, and had the good luck to have significant shares when it went public," said Douglas W. Nelson, president of the Casey Foundation.

But the connection between UPS' stock and the young people who benefit from it in places such as Baltimore is little known.

The Kids on the Hill program in West Baltimore's Reservoir Hill officially began as a nonprofit in 1997 and hired staff in 1999. It has several sets of middle and high school kids who participate in art education as well as other community and personal development programs.

Recently, all of the kids and some outside volunteers boarded up vacant rowhouses that had attracted drug dealers. The corner of Linden and Whitelock streets remains outfitted with colorful pictures by the young artists.

"We do art with a social message," said Rebecca Yenawine, who founded the program in her home as an alternative for two girls she found spray-painting graffiti in her neighborhood. "They learn they're an important part of the community."

UPS through the years

Highlights in the package delivery company's history:

1907: James E. Casey borrows $100 to start the American Messenger Co. in Seattle, Wash.

1919: Expands beyond Seattle and changes name to United Parcel Service from Merchants Parcel Delivery.

1924: Builds the first conveyor belt system for handling packages.

1930: Expands to East Coast.

1953: Begins air operations with Blue Label Air providing two-day service on both coasts.

1975: Service begins for every address in the 48 contiguous states.

1985: Starts international air service between U.S. and six European countries.

1988: Officially becomes an airline and adds service to more countries.

1990: Schedules first flights to Asia on UPS aircraft.

1992: Begins electronic tracking of all ground packages.

1993: Offers global supply chain management to customers.

1996: Allows customers to track up to 100 packages at once and see image of receiver's signature with real-time software.

1999: Sells 10 percent of its stock in an initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange.

2000: Capability added to calculate rates and find transit times for shipments on digital wireless devices. Customer online tracking requests reach record-high 6.5 million in a single day.

2001: Launches direct flights to China with China Express. Purchases Mail Boxes Etc. (name changed to The UPS Store).

2003: Logo updated and advertising campaign launched and package flow technology updated.

2004: UPS is now a $30 billion company based in Atlanta and the world's largest package deliverer with a network of more than 200 countries. Shares of UPS closed Friday at $69.12 (up 16 cents).

Source: UPS

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