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November Newsletter

Welcome Cearia Pitts and Shantelle Jackson

The Fund for Educational Excellence happily welcomes two new staff members to our team: Cearia Pitts, Finance Associate; and Shantelle Jackson, Program Manager, Fiscal Sponsorship Services.

Cearia manages the day-to-day aspects of accounts receivable and accounts payable processing of the organization’s finances, including financial reporting and general accounting services. A certified payroll clerk in Maryland, Cearia brings in over 10 years in nonprofit financial management focusing on maintaining finance department procedures.

Shantelle helps coordinate the Fund’s Fiscal Sponsorship work, assisting with client, grants and contracts management. She works in close collaboration with the finance and human resources teams helping to ensure that private and public grant dollars are put to work quickly, efficiently, and appropriately to meet clients’ missions and needs, and ultimately benefit Baltimore City youth. An experienced nonprofit worker, Shantelle brings with her extensive knowledge and experience in the mental health field and prides herself on being an advocate for disadvantaged communities.

We are thrilled to have them both on board. Welcome, Cearia and Shantelle!

City Council Announces December 16th Public Hearing About Baltimore Students’ Experience with MTA

On Thursday, December 16th at 5 PM the Baltimore City Council is hosting a public hearing regarding Baltimore City Public Schools students’ experience commuting to and from school on Maryland public transit. If you are a student or if you know a student who would like to testify, please respond to this interest survey by Sunday, December 5th. We encourage everyone to attend and support City Schools students – please spread the word!

Heart of the School Holiday Party is Back!

After two years away, we’re excited to return to M&T Bank Stadium, December 16th for the 2021 Heart of the School Holiday Celebration! This festive evening is an opportunity for principals and district leaders to come together, relax and celebrate their incredible work with colleagues in an exclusive setting. Learn more, here.

Interested in supporting the Heart of the School Holiday Party? We are always in search of prizes, gift cards, or tickets to raffle to principals – reach out to to explore ideas. You can also show your support for City Schools principals and the work that they do to improve schools and enhance students learning by donating this Giving Tuesday to the Heart of the School Fund. Proceeds go directly to principals for projects like the Black Girl Joy mural highlighted above. Over its five years, the Heart of the School Fund has granted funds for over 125 principal-identified projects.

Help us expand our support of Baltimore City Public School leaders by donating Tuesday, November 30th (or today!)

Donate Here

White House Highlights Baltimore Students Commute in Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal Video

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill officially passed putting $550 billion in new funds into transportation, broadband and utilities. Leading up to the bill signing, the Fund helped identify a student to be featured in the White House produced video that highlights a Baltimore student’s experience with the MTA, revealing how the package will help City Schools students — and millions of Americans — get around more easily. The video opens with Baltimore City Public Schools student, Simeon, traveling to his summer job at a suburban Starbucks on MTA buses. Connectivity between his Baltimore City neighborhood and his workplace is poor on the state-run transit system. Watch the video showcasing his experience, here.

Roughly 29,000 City Schools students also rely on MTA to get to school every day. In our latest report, NOT IN SERVICE: Why Public Transit Must Aim to Serve Students, students report unreliable, infrequent service that leads to lost learning time. Read our report to learn why safe, reliable, frequent transit as part of a robust, connected system is critical to kids’ success and how federal funding for public transit can help us get there:

Of Note:

Additional insights, updates and resources:

  • Today! Join us this evening at 6 PM for an informative session about the middle and high school choice process in Baltimore City Public Schools. Joining the workshop is special guest MDOT MTA to demonstrate trip planning as part of your search and answer questions. Don’t miss it! Register for the virtual workshop, here.
  • Need help with completing the FAFSA? College Bound advisors will be available to guide City Schools students and families through the FAFSA application Saturday, December 11th at the YMCA at 33rd St. from 10 am-2 pm. Register, here.
  • Fiscal Sponsorships explained: Chuck Adkins, the Fund’s Chief Financial Officer, reviews legal and practical issues regarding fiscal sponsorships in this informative webinar presented by Venable, LLP. Check it out, here.
  • Baltimore’s Delegate Robbyn T. Lewis advocates for the Red Line and shines a light on how so many in Baltimore (including students!) rely on inadequate public transit and don’t have the option of a car to get around. Read the full article, here.

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