Today is your last chance to help Baltimore Heritage with a tax-deductible gift in 2017. Please don’t wait! Join or renew now or make a donation of any size. As a small nonprofit organization, your support goes a long way to help preserve historic places and revitalize historic neighborhoods in Baltimore.
With sincere thanks for your past interest and support, I am writing today to ask you to join or renew your membership with Baltimore Heritage.
Baltimore Heritage is a small nonprofit organization. We rely on the many kind people who volunteer their time and commit their support each year to help save Baltimore’s unique historic places.
One historic place we’re helping right now is the Village Learning Place. For the past few months, we’ve worked with the Liesje Gantert, director of the VLP, along with staff and volunteer architects from the Neighborhood Design Center to take a close look at the condition of their former Pratt Library branch on Saint Paul Street. Over the next year, we will build on these efforts to help more local nonprofits improve maintenance of their historic civic spaces across Baltimore. Not all historic buildings are museums: they also provide affordable housing, child care, community meeting space, and more. We are eager to help keep these buildings working well for all the people who rely on them.
In addition to helping us save Baltimore’s historic places, as a member you also get the benefit of discounts on our heritage tour program. With great volunteers like Patricia Hawthorne, who has led our Monumental City tours for years, and new volunteers like Sarah Krum who just started this year, our we are grateful to the many people who make our heritage tours possible. Over the last ten years, our volunteers have organized and led nearly four hundred tours of over two hundred different historic places!
Membership support has been the foundation for nearly eight years of advocacy for the Hebrew Orphan Asylum, the nation’s oldest surviving Jewish orphanage. Today, we are a proud partner with the Coppin Heights Community Development Corporation in turning this long-threatened and neglected building back into a health care facility for people in West Baltimore. We expect construction to begin soon.
Every year we say thank you to everyone who has volunteered their time with us, supported us as a member, and rolled up their sleeves while working to improve Baltimore and our historic neighborhoods. We rely on people like you for your support and we are grateful for every dollar you can give. Please consider making a donation today.
Thinking back on the changes and challenges of the past year, we believe 2016 showed us that preserving historic places and teaching local history is more critical than ever. We need to do more in the year ahead.
We need to preserve diverse historic places that tell all of Baltimore’s story.
Late last year we lost Freedom House, a former center of Civil Rights activism in Upton’s Marble Hill. In April, Public School 103, Thurgood Marshall’s own elementary school, suffered a devastating fire. When we lose buildings like these, we lose places that teach us about past efforts to redress inequality. Our losses have spurred us to redouble our efforts to protect our city’s Civil Rights history through our ongoing Landmarks from the Movement project.
We need to share more stories of struggle and success from past generations that help us overcome our challenges today.
With generous help from our volunteers, we are proud to have hosted fifty-six tours of twenty-nine unique historic places in 2016. We explored everything from the catacombs under Lexington Market to Baltimore’s brewing heritage. In the year ahead we plan to showcase our city’s immigrant experience through places like the Immigrant House in Locust Point and the courageous legacy of activism found in Mount Vernon’s LGBTQ landmarks. We seek to share the stories of the many people and places that shape our communities and our city.
We need to concentrate our preservation efforts even more in Baltimore’s most disinvested historic communities as they work to revitalize.
In January, the city and state launched Project CORE: a multi-year program to demolish vacant rowhouses and fund new investments in neglected buildings. Since the program began, we’ve sought to steer demolition away from the most important historic places and advocating for reinvestment where it can do the most good for historic neighborhoods that need it. In the year ahead, we are expanding our work in West Baltimore neighborhoods like Harlem Park and Greater Rosemont. We support and celebrate the people who are building on Baltimore’s heritage to lift up their communities.
If you have not already donated this year, please renew your membership or become a member for the first time. By supporting our work today, you can help us grab the opportunities and face the challenges that lie ahead for Baltimore’s historic landmarks and neighborhoods. Membership is still just $35 for you or $50 for your household and it only takes a few minutes to donate online.
We hope you have a happy and peaceful holiday season!
P.S. In addition to giving online through our website, we can now accept gifts of stock. You can also always sign up to volunteer – we’ll be recruiting tour guides for our Monumental City Tours in 2017. Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Thank you to everyone who has supported Baltimore Heritage and our city’s historic places by joining us on some of our past heritage tours and programs. Today, I am asking you to continue your support by becoming a member. As a small organization with two paid staff and a great group of volunteers, members provide over half of Baltimore Heritage’s operating budget. With member support, we can continue to teach students about local history, fight to protect threatened landmarks, and offer assistance to Baltimore homeowners.
By becoming a member, you can keep enjoying great heritage tours and events like our upcoming visit to Lexington Market to meet long-time merchants and descend into the catacombs underneath the stalls. But your membership gift allows us to do more than tours. Over the last year, we worked with students and faculty from the University of Maryland Baltimore County to create a new virtual tour of UMBC’s Catonsville campus. We participated in the review of the B&P Tunnel Project for months and helped project planners avoid tearing down historic buildings along the route. We are empowering residents to address the issue of vacant buildings in their historic neighborhoods in partnership with the Community Law Center. We are continuing to research and document Baltimore’s Civil Rights movement and to share what we’re learning online.
As a Baltimore Heritage member, you can help us do even more. In the coming year, Baltimore City and the State of Maryland are undertaking a $75 million project to demolish or stabilize thousands of vacant rowhouses in Baltimore. Most of these buildings are located in historic neighborhoods. We are working closely with city and state officials to protect buildings that matter most to local residents and to use program funds to stabilize buildings where investment can make a real difference.
Our members make all of our work possible. Please make a donation of $35 for an individual membership or $50 for a household and become a member of Baltimore Heritage today.
On behalf of Baltimore Heritage, I hope you are enjoying a cheerful holiday season. I am thankful for the volunteers, members, and supporters who helped us to sustain and expand Baltimore Heritage’s education and preservation programs over the past year.
Before we all start to sing Auld Lang Syne, I’d like to share a few highlights from our year in review:
- We expanded our tours. With our new Monumental City Tours, we offered volunteer-led tours every Sunday morning from April to November from Patterson Park to the Shot Tower. And we are getting ready to do it again in 2016!
- We celebrated heritage milestones. We welcomed the tenth family into our Centennial Homes program honoring families that have been in the same house for a century. We also organized a year-long series of Fell’s Point walking tours celebrating the 250th anniversary of the Robert Long House.
- We documented Baltimore’s Civil Rights heritage. In partnership with the Maryland Historical Trust, our project—Looking for Landmarks from the Movement—has mapped over 200 places (from churches to rowhouses to tennis courts) associated with the Civil Rights movement in Baltimore. We are already putting this research to work with a new initiative to protect threatened Civil Rights landmarks.
Be sure to learn more about what we do with your support in our 2015 year in review! Thank you again to everyone who volunteered with us, joined or renewed their membership, and came out on a tour to learn more about Baltimore. If you have not contributed yet in 2015, please donate online today or send a check to 11 1/2 W. Chase Street, Baltimore, MD 21201.
I wish you a happy holiday season and I look forward to seeing you in the new year.