Rofe: We are grateful to the Weinberg Foundation for its generosity and for its commitment to our shared goal of meeting the essential needs of every member of our community, especially the neediest and most vulnerable among us.
With a grant of $500,000 from The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, the largest it has ever received from a private foundation, the St. Michaels Community Center (SMCC) is poised to finish the total renovation of its aged building and provide enhanced services to the most vulnerable in the Bay Hundred area of Talbot County and throughout the Mid-Shore.
“This grant is truly a difference maker for us,” SMCC Executive Director Patrick Rofe noted. “We are grateful to the Weinberg Foundation for its generosity,” he continued, “and for its commitment to our shared goal of meeting the essential needs of every member of the community, especially the neediest and most vulnerable among us. Adequate nutrition, a safe environment in which to learn and play, access to training, and appropriate educational offerings are the basic building blocks of human dignity. This crucial grant will make a profound difference in SMCC’s ability to serve our community.
“We are just months away from moving back into our building,” said Rofe, adding that “with the support of the Weinberg Foundation and our other supporters we will then be able to provide not only our existing programs but expanded services as well.”
When SMCC reopens early next year the new facilities – well-equipped classrooms, a technology center, and a modern commercial kitchen – will allow for expanded programming in four broad categories:
- Community Food Distribution and Culinary/Hospitality Workforce Development. SMCC will expand food distribution from three to five days a week, and, in partnership with Chesapeake College, launch a new program to train much-needed culinary and hospitality workers. SMCC past Board member Chris Agharabi, CEO of Ava’s Hospitality Group with two restaurants in St. Michaels says, “St. Michaels is known for great food and hospitality, which means we depend on outstanding team members at all levels. I’m confident SMCC’s new programs will help talented people grow into promising careers that will help our town and industry thrive.”
- Education. In addition to core programs such as after-school and summer camps, SMCC will offer additional workforce development programs, programming for adults including book clubs, a speakers’ series, and continuing education courses as a satellite campus for Chesapeake College.
- Technology. A fully-equipped Technology Center with Wi-Fi will both support SMCC’s programs and let community members access academic courses, job search resources, and support for personal business.
- Arts & Culture/Community Fellowship. A new, large atrium will be a home for concerts, dances, films, and other events, bringing both adults and children into the renovated building.
“St. Michaels Community Center plays a critical role in serving the Eastern Shore,” said Earl Millett, Managing Director at the Weinberg Foundation. “We are pleased to support its efforts to meet people where they are and expand services to provide the space and support the community needs.”
SMCC is close to completing its $4.5 million Capital Campaign. SMCC Board Chair Langley Shook notes that “At the outset of the campaign, we knew we would need to succeed on three levels – government support, private donations, and foundation grants. I am gratified that thanks to the hard work of our entire team and the generosity of our scores of supporters, we have done just that: We have received $1.75 million from the State of Maryland, the Federal government, and the town of St. Michaels; more than $1.5 million in donations from individuals; and $750,000in major foundation grants.
“I am moved and impressed, but not surprised, by the generous support of our donors. St. Michaels and the Bay Hundred area are special places,” Shook added. “We know how much the need for SMCC’s services has grown; now we will be able to provide what our community needs and deserves.”
About the St. Michaels
The St. Michaels Community Center’s mission is to serve, empower, and connect the community with year-round programs and activities for children, families, and adults. Donations to SMCC and proceeds from its Treasure Cove Thrift Shop on Railroad Ave. in St. Michaels help the nonprofit provide year-round programs, services, and community events for residents of St. Michaels and the Bay Hundred area.
Architectural renderings of the St. Michaels Community Center’s renovated building and planned capital improvements, including information about how to support the campaign, can be found at www.stmichaelscc.org/homestretch.