Huddle For 100 around downtown Baltimore on September 23, 2019. Lamar Jackson and Willie Snead IV at Webster Kendrick Boys & Girls Club. Chris Moore at St. Vincent De Paul Society. Our Daily Bread with Mark Ingram and Marshal Yanda. Maryland Center for Veterans with Brandon Williams and Chris Wormley. (Photo courtesy of the Baltimore Ravens)

By Megan Sayles
AFRO Business Writer
Report for America Corps Member
msayles@afro.com

Since the late Art Modell, former owner of the Cleveland Browns, relocated his football franchise to Baltimore, the Ravens have been dedicated to giving back to the community. Modell and his wife, Patricia, donated millions of dollars to various charities, including Johns Hopkins, the Kennedy Krieger Institute and House of Ruth, a domestic violence center. One of the couple’s most notable charitable contributions was their $5 million donation to the SEED School of Maryland in Southwest Baltimore.

“I think it’s come from our ownership and that leadership that we’ve always prioritized giving back to our community, and I think it definitely started with Art Modell who brought the team to Baltimore in 1996,” said Heather Darney, vice president of community relations for the Baltimore Ravens.

The team’s current owner, Steve Bisciotti, has continued this legacy most recently with his $4 million donation to Maryland’s historically Black colleges and universities to create scholarships for Baltimore City Public School students.

Since their inception, the Ravens have been heavily involved in the Baltimore community in working with local branches of organizations, including the Boys and Girls Club, United Way and the Y.

However, these acts of generosity have not been exclusive to the team’s owners, the Ravens’ players have also been actively involved in the Baltimore community, especially within Baltimore City Public Schools.

“The youth will be our future and running our city someday and the organizations and companies in our city, and we want them to have as many opportunities to thrive as they can,” said Darney.

Some of the team’s earliest examples of outreach encompass supporting youth football programs, stadium renovations for high schools, and building playgrounds in Baltimore communities. In 2006, the Ravens renovated the Lumsden-Scott Stadium at Baltimore Polytechnic Institute, and two years later, the team helped to finance a $1 million renovation for Mergenthaler Vocational-Technical High School (Mervo).

Some of the Baltimore Ravens’ legends have also forged strong relationships with schools in the community. Hall-of-famer Ed Reed has hosted numerous fitness days for the students at Booker T. Washington Middle School and The Seed School of Maryland. He has also donated Thanksgiving meals for the families at both schools. Former wide receiver Torrey Smith has helped to create reading rooms in Benjamin Franklin High School, Friendship Preparatory Academy and Dickey Hill Elementary School.

Outside of their work in Baltimore City Public Schools, the Ravens have passed out turkey dinners to Baltimore families and shelters during Thanksgiving and hosted toy drives during the holiday season. “Players have just always naturally kind of felt a strong desire to give around that time frame,” said Darney.

More recently, the Baltimore Ravens have made donations to Baltimore City Public Schools

June 5, 2019, Baltimore Ravens help Webster Kendrick Boys and Girls Club in Baltimore, MD.

to upgrade heating and air conditioning units, and they have helped to build outdoor classrooms and meditation rooms.

While the pandemic put in-person outreach events on pause, the team is looking forward to getting back out into the community to continue giving back. “When our fans come out to support us, come to games to cheer us on, and wear our gear on purple Fridays they come to show their love for us, and we want to make sure that we can reciprocate that,” said Darney.

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