Price's $250,000 gift boosts Open Society drive

March 13, 2007|By Lynn Anderson | Lynn Anderson,sun reporter

A gift from the charitable arm of Baltimore investment firm T. Rowe Price has put the Open Society Institute's fundraising campaign closer to the $20 million goal set by billionaire financier George Soros, who founded the institute nearly a decade ago and promised an additional $10 million if local residents also contributed.

The institute has raised more than $7 million, including in recent months a $250,000 donation from the T. Rowe Price Associates Foundation and a $200,000 contribution from an anonymous donor, said Debra Rubino, OSI spokeswoman.

"The work that OSI has been doing has really made a difference in the community," said Ann Boyce, president of the T. Rowe Price Associates Foundation. "We want to help ensure that the work here continues."

Soros founded the institute in 1998 and provided $50 million to tackle issues of drug addiction, incarceration and education.

In 2005, when the money was close to running out, Soros came to Baltimore to announce his fundraising challenge. At a City Hall news conference with Mayor Martin O'Malley, Soros said he would give $10 million to the institute if $20 million could be raised locally.

Since then, the institute has hired a development director and launched a major fundraising campaign.

Besides the T. Rowe Price contribution, the institute received $800,000 last year from the Bunting Group, including Mary Catherine Bunting, George and Anne Bunting and the Bunting Family Foundation, a legacy of the Noxell cosmetics fortune.

Other contributions have come from the Lois and Irving Blum Foundation, the Ben & Zelda Cohen Charitable Foundation and the Jean and Sidney Silber Foundation.

"These generous gifts demonstrate the commitment of these Baltimore families to invest in the future of our city and to create opportunities for all city residents," Diana Morris, director of the institute, said in a written statement. "These people share our goal of making Baltimore a better place to live and work."

lynn.anderson@baltsun.com

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