Program Aims to Expand the Middle-Class

Luther Starks was frustrated.

Like a lot of individuals in this economy, Luther was having a very difficult time finding full time employment and he spent his days filling out applications and knocking on doors to locate a job.

While researching his options, Luther came across a Customer Service Associate training program at Business Interface (BI). BI is a workforce development company that partners with Associated Black Charities (ABC) to train and place unemployed individuals in jobs. Luther had finally gotten the break he was searching for.

He studied hard, excelled in the program and upon graduation was employed by a local landscaping company. But thanks to BI and ABC, Luther’s story does not end there.

While working for the landscaping company, Luther took advantage of ABC’s “More in the Middle” campaign, an initiative that advocates for higher wage jobs that move lower-income workers and families into middle class.

Through "More in the Middle," Luther was able to find a higher paying job and within six months received a promotion which came with more pay and additional responsibilities.

Luther Sparks is among the thousands of individuals assisted through the work of ABC.

ABC’s President/CEO Diane Bell-McKoy announced this week that ABC has been selected to participate in a nationwide fundraising campaign sponsored by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. The “Cultures of Giving Donor Challenge” is an online giving campaign from April 17-26, 2012 that has the goal of increasing awareness of ABC’s history and mission and promoting philanthropy among minority communities. ABC is one of only 22 non profits nationally selected to participate in this challenge.

W.K. Kellogg has agreed to match dollar for dollar the funds raised up to $20,000 by ABC during the 10 day campaign and the organization is hosting special events including “Hot Spot” parties, networking opportunities for supporters and potential donors where the laptops, iPads, smart phones and other technology avenues will be available for individuals to make donations to ABC at the parties.

“The selection of Associated Black Charities by W.K. Kellogg speaks to the longtime work we’ve been doing to create healthier and wealthier communities in Maryland,” said Bell-McKoy.

“This campaign is an opportunity for us to promote something that we’ve always known – communities of color contribute to causes and organizations they support at a higher percentage of their income than other groups. We’re proud of the lives we’ve been able to touch and look forward to exceeding our goals for this challenge.”

Donors and supporters are being asked to:
 – Visit to get more information
 – From April 17-26, 2012 visit and contribute
 – Visit and “Like” Associated Black Charities on Facebook and Twitter to show support for the campaign
 – Send email messages and post on personal social media pages encouraging friends and family to support ABC with a donation between April 17-26, 2012

Associated Black Charities (ABC) is a public foundation established in 1985 to represent and respond to issues of special significance to Maryland’s African American community through responsible leadership and philanthropic investment. ABC has been dedicated to creating strong, healthy and economically viable communities in order to ensure a better quality of life for African Americans, especially children and families.

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Program Aims to Expand the Middle-Class


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