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GRAND OPENINGS REPRESENT START OF MAJOR CITYWIDE CHILDREN'S INITIATIVE

BALTIMORE, Md., Sept. 10, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation and The Johns Hopkins University will today host the grand opening of the Weinberg Early Childhood Center, an innovative space - and the first of five such centers that will be created in Baltimore City - designed to care for infants and educate children up to age 5.
In unveiling the Early Childhood Center, the Weinberg Foundation, one of the largest private foundations in the United States, and its many partners, will also recognize the Foundation's latest school libraries created as part of the Baltimore Elementary and Middle School Library Project.

The event will take place on Wednesday, September 10, from 10 to 11:30 a.m., at Henderson-Hopkins School, 2100 Ashland Avenue, Baltimore, Maryland 21205. Featured speakers include:

• Lieutenant Governor Anthony Brown
• Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake
• Ronald J. Daniels, President, The Johns Hopkins University
• Gregory E. Thornton, CEO, Baltimore City Public Schools
• Ellen M. Heller, Chair, The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation

"This new library and early childhood education center will give more Maryland children the tools they need to climb the ladder of opportunity towards success," said Lt. Governor Anthony Brown. "Every child deserves the opportunity to get a world-class education. By working together to invest in our schools and through the dedication of our partners in the private sector, like The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, we're making real progress towards that goal."

The Weinberg Early Childhood Center, located in the Henderson-Hopkins School in East Baltimore, is a 30,000 square-foot-facility that will focus on children, birth to age 5, their family, and community. The Center will include a family support center and health and wellness suite ensuring that the young children there will have the support and services they need to reinforce the development of their language, literacy, and math readiness skills.

"Early childhood education is an important priority for the Weinberg Foundation, and this beautiful early childhood center represents the beginning of a strategic, coordinated plan to give children a brighter, better start throughout Baltimore City," said Ellen M. Heller, Weinberg Foundation Board Chair. "A multitude of Baltimore nonprofits and foundations are partnering with the Baltimore City Public Schools system, the Maryland State Department of Education, and the Mayor's Office so that our children will succeed in school."

The Weinberg Early Childhood Center on the campus of Henderson-Hopkins School is a state-of-the-art facility that will pursue the most effective evidence-based approaches to learning to meet the needs of all students, their families, and an East Baltimore Community that is the subject of an ambitious revitalization effort.

Weinberg Foundation capital support for the Early Childhood Center alone totals nearly $10.8 million. The Center is the result of a University-community partnership involving the Weinberg Foundation, The Johns Hopkins University School of Education, The Annie E. Casey Foundation, the Maryland Family Network, and the YMCA of Central Maryland.

"The opening of the Early Childhood Center and the Weinberg library helps bring to life our holistic vision for the Henderson-Hopkins campus and for the students learning within it," said Johns Hopkins University President Ronald J. Daniels. "We look forward to watching children thrive from their earliest days in the ECC through their 8th grade graduation."

"We know the early years of children's lives lay the foundation for everything that follows, from their future academic success to their work and life opportunities as adults," said Patrick McCarthy, President and CEO of The Annie E. Casey Foundation. "This center will not only open doors for kids in East Baltimore but also help their families support their healthy growth and development at home."

The opening this month of the library at Henderson-Hopkins and three others in Baltimore City Public Schools, also marks the latest chapter of the Baltimore Library Project. The Library Project is a multi-year, collaborative effort to design, build, equip, and staff new or renovated elementary/middle school libraries in high-poverty neighborhoods where many students face academic challenges. The Weinberg Foundation has committed a total of $10 million to build or transform 24 public school libraries in an effort to strengthen academic achievement among students.

"This is another extraordinary day for the Weinberg Foundation, the Library project, and our many partners," said Rachel Garbow Monroe, Weinberg Foundation President and Chief Executive Officer. "This fall, we celebrate not only the opening of the newest spaces but, also, a total of nine libraries created or renovated since this project began in 2011.Through the efforts of nearly 40 government, business, and nonprofit partners, more than 5,000 students and their families now will enjoy the benefits of a well-equipped, well-staffed, and community-centered elementary and middle school library."

In addition to the morning celebrations, the Weinberg Foundation has partnered with Maryland Food Bank and the Heart of America Foundation to provide a mobile food pantry for students and families at Henderson-Hopkins this afternoon. The pantry utilizes a client choice approach where families can pick the items they receive. Every student in the school will have the opportunity to go home today with 25 pounds of food – including fresh produce.

These initiatives reflect a total Weinberg investment in Baltimore City Public Schools of more than $26 million. Such efforts coincide with Baltimore City Public Schools' work to provide its school communities with modern, high-quality school buildings, an effort that will result in $1.1 billion in renovations and new construction in the coming years.

Please follow all Weinberg Library Project developments at www.baltimorelibraryproject.org and on Twitter at #libraryproject.
Baltimore Elementary and Middle School Library Project Partners:

The Annie E. Casey Foundation
The Abell Foundation
Art with a Heart, Inc.
Association of Baltimore Area Grantmakers
Baltimore City Public Schools
Baltimore Community Foundation
Baltimore Education Research Consortium (BERC)
The Baltimore Sun Media Group
Barnes and Noble
Bogdan Computer Services, Inc.
Campaign for Grade Level Reading
Citi Community Development
Comcast
DLA Piper
Dyslexia Tutoring Program
Enoch Pratt Free Library
Fund for Educational Excellence
The Heart of America Foundation
Incite Creative
Ironmark (formerly CPS Gumpert)
JRS Architects, Inc.
Kirk Designs
Knott Mechanical
Maryland Book Bank
Maryland Food Bank
Maryland State Department of Education
Office of Governor Martin O'Malley
Office of Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake
Office of U.S. Senator Barbara Mikulski
Office of U.S. Senator Benjamin L. Cardin
Operation Warm
Parks and People Foundation
Raising a Reader
Reading Partners
United Way of Central Maryland
VPC Incorporated
Wells Fargo Banking Corporation

About The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation

The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, one of the largest private charitable foundations in the United States, provides approximately $100 million in annual grants to nonprofits that provide direct services to low-income and vulnerable individuals and families, primarily in the U.S. and Israel. Grants are focused on meeting basic needs and enhancing an individual's ability to meet those needs with emphasis on older adults, the Jewish community, and our hometown communities of Maryland, Northeastern Pennsylvania, and Hawaii. The trustees, some of whom also serve as executive officers of the Foundation, are Donn Weinberg, Barry I. Schloss, Robert T. Kelly, Jr., Alvin Awaya, and Chair Ellen M. Heller. Rachel Garbow Monroe serves as the Weinberg Foundation's President and Chief Executive Officer. For more information please go to www.hjweinbergfoundation.org.

CONTACT: Craig Demchak, 443-738-1159 cdemchak@hjweinberg.org

Source:The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation