BALTIMORE — The Baltimore Ravens have a longstanding relationship with the community. It has become a tradition for the team to find ways to give back to the community. Their most recent community service event will have an impact for years to come.
Ravens president Dick Cass, quarterback Joe Flacco, and Dr. Gregory E. Thornton, CEO of Baltimore City Schools took part in a special library unveiling at Charles Carroll Barrister (CCB) Elementary School in downtown Baltimore. The Ravens Foundation funded a large renovation of the school’s library. The project is an example of the organization’s commitment to supporting education and promoting literacy.
“Research has shown that reading proficiency is directly linked to graduation rates, which is why we encourage a love for reading beginning at an early age,” said Heather Darney, executive director of the Ravens Foundation. “Our hope is that all students will have access to the tools and inspiring space needed to develop a true passion for reading.”
CCB Elementary School is located in the Pigtown neighborhood near M&T Bank Stadium. Approximately one-third of the community’s residents live below the poverty line. Pigtown is an area desperately in need of assistance— 95 percent of the students at CCB Elementary School receive free and reduced meals.
The Ravens didn’t announce how much money they donated to the school. Ravens President Dick Cass did however say that the foundation invested a couple hundred thousand dollars. Several of the Ravens players also donated their time over the summer to assist in the renovation project.
Flacco used the opportunity to show there is more to his job than just playing football.
“I’m a professional athlete,” Flacco said at the library’s opening ceremony, “and people think all we do is play on the football field. But every day we’re reading.”
He took time to read to some of the kids at the elementary school. Each of the 371 students received a Ravens team backpack and book. The school also received new books to go into the newly designed library that features a reading room that resembles a Ravens themed stadium.
Assisting in the development of inner city youth has been a focus for the Ravens over the years. Former Raven’s wide receiver Torrey Smith and his foundation, The Torrey Smith Foundation donated a series of reading rooms named “Reading Oasis” at various high schools in the city.