Archives for November 2017

Grants in Action: Making Way for Daisies with the Women & Girls Fund

While many private foundations do admirable work in countless ways in their support for nonprofit charities, very few of them have made it a priority also to encourage and mentor young philanthropists to understand the challenges and benefits that come with giving money to needy organizations.

That cannot be said of the Women & Girls Fund which for the last several years has done just that with a dedicated program called the Daisy Fund.

The Daisy Fund was designed to help parents, grandparents, or friend teach their young loved ones the art of giving by setting up them with a designated fund ($10,000 minimum pledge) in their child’s name with the Women & Girls Fund which requires the direct input of the participants in making grant decisions.

Now with eleven active participants involved, the Daisy Fund also provides educational opportunities and field visits to applicants to learn the importance of due diligence and the vetting process to determine the best use of their funds.

Over the last few weeks, we spent some time with two Daisy Fund participants, along with Women & Girls Fund Board member Donna Cantor, to understand how powerful this program has become. .The Spy reached out to Donna’s granddaughter, Lauren Westrick, in California via FaceTime (hence the poor audio quality) as well as Women & Girls Fund founder Alice Ryan’s daughter, Allie Prell in Easton, to talk about their experience.

This video is approximately four minutes in length. For more information about the Women & Girls Fund Daisy Fund please go here 

 

Spy Minute: Christmas in Easton Arts and Crafts Market Place Starts Friday

It seems like every time the Spy bumps into artist Jen Wagner she has become involved with another exciting project and She did not disappoint us when we last saw her at the Bullett House a couple of days ago.

It turns out that Jen and her friend, Susan Langfitt, have yet another project up their sleeve when they take over the Waterfowl Festival building this coming Friday night for two days as part of the Christmas in Easton Arts and Crafts Market Place.

In short, Jen and Susan, with the help of the Easton Business Alliance, and thirty other artists, performers and singers will have the equivalent of a “pop up store” on Harrison Street where the words “buy local” means some of the best arts and crafts are there for holiday shoppers to find some unique gifts for friends and family.

We chatted with Jen, along with artists Maggii Sarfaty and Josepha Price, about what could be the birth of a new tradition for downtown.

This video is approximately two minutes in length. For more information about the Christmas in Easton Arts and Crafts Market Place please go here

Facebook: On the Edge by Al Sikes

My Facebook experience began in February of 2016 just ahead of the publication of my book, Culture Leads Leaders Follow. I was looking for promotional channels.

As I have watched Facebook’s evolving position as a major news source and for some, the only news source, what began for me as a publicity option has become an object of more interest.

Since at one point I was involved in communication’s regulation I get questions like, “should the Federal Communications Commission be regulating it?”; I always say no and note the comprehensive shield of the First Amendment. This is just one more instance of a commercial offering that will ultimately be shaped by the cultural force of its users.

Facebook now recognizes it is a magnet for bad actors. A recent Wall Street Journal article noted it is using artificial intelligence to screen for terrorist postings. Monika Bickert, Facebook’s head of global policy management commented, “A beheading is easier to enforce than hate speech. Certain policies are easier to enforce than others.”

Brian Fishman, lead policy manager for counterterrorism at Facebook, commented: “One of the dangers there is that we’re dealing with a nimble set of organizations that frequently change the way that they behave……We need to keep training our machines so that they stay current.”

Facebook’s core business is in relationships. It is the star of a sub-set of businesses known as social media. So while machine learning can filter out the egregious, it will take talented people to create a relationship sensitive news service of any consequence. Politics today is not very social and is especially harmful when Russians trick the political tribes into becoming propaganda partners. The Russian elite recognized that Facebook was a news medium before Zuckerberg would acknowledge that fact.

Facebook has a market value of $531 billion and an annual cash flow over $16 billion. Financially it is positioned to be a powerful force. So where does Mark Zuckerberg direct his energies? Is he interested in what is a more complicated stage in his rapidly evolving business? He, after all, has the controlling interest in Facebook.

Zuckerberg is said to be interested in running for President. He has a far more consequential opportunity. Facebook can use artificial intelligence to discern shared concerns and interests that both cross and bridge ideological differences and use the findings to shape a news service that is truly “fair, balanced and unafraid.” But, and this is crucial; it will take probing and discerning reporters and editors, not just machines, to succeed.

New York to Des Moines

While on the subject of news let me betray my Midwestern sensibilities.

My first trip to New York City, where I eventually lived, was in 1970. It seemed like I was in the center of the news universe. I can recall the CBS building, the home of Walter Cronkite. I remember walking past the residence of Time magazine, an important source of my news at the time.
Today Time magazine, indeed all the Time Inc. magazines, will soon have a new owner, Meredith. It is headquartered in Des Moines, Iowa and its brands are a strong presence in the home and family categories.

Meredith’s headquarters building is adorned by a giant spade sculpture. Not a bad symbol. Advice to Mark Zuckerberg, good journalism requires a lot of spade work.

Al Sikes is the former Chair of the Federal Communications Commission under George H.W. Bush. Al recently published Culture Leads Leaders Follow published by Koehler Books. 

Op-Ed: Shore Residents should Save the Historic Tax Credit by Nicholas Redding and Katie Parks

Caught up in the current effort to reform the federal tax code is a critical program that has completed nearly $25 million worth of rehabilitated historic buildings on Maryland’s Eastern Shore since 2002. The Federal Historic Tax Credit (HTC) is a 20% credit on the cost of rehabilitating a historic building and is a powerful and efficient tool for revitalizing our nation’s small towns and cities.

For every $1 invested by the federal government, the program attracts nearly $4 in private investment. Better yet, for every $1 in credits, the program returns $1.20 to the federal treasury – actually yielding a profit for the government. The results have been stunning and have changed the outlook for many communities.

On Maryland’s Eastern Shore the program has a long history of revitalizing communities while also saving important historic buildings. Since 2002, in Easton alone the program has incentivized the rehabilitation of $10 million worth of buildings – from main street shops to former industrial buildings. A perfect example is the McCord Laundry facility, home to the Eastern Shore Conservation Center – a mixed-use campus of nonprofit organizations, businesses, and apartments. In Cambridge, the program is supporting the rebirth of Race Street, providing critical equity to make the rehabilitation of the Hearn Hardware Building a reality. The formerly vacant and crumbling building will now host market rate apartments and first floor retail space; yet another positive outcome thanks to the Historic Tax Credit.

Elsewhere in Cambridge, the Historic Tax Credit is incentivizing an ambitious and potentially catalytic project that will convert the vacant Phillips Packing Co.’s Factory F into a hub of commerce, industry, and education. Without the Historic Tax Credit and the New Market Tax Credit program, which is also seriously threatened, tackling difficult projects like this in rural communities would not be possible.
Repeal of the Historic Tax Credit should be of grave concern for anyone who cares about the future of the Eastern Shore’s charming small towns and cities. Reuse of historic buildings will plummet and investment in downtowns will become increasingly cost prohibitive. In turn, property values will sink and local coffers will suffer as property tax revenue plummets. New construction will move to the fringes of communities – resulting in more sprawl and the subsequent loss of farmland. Fortunately, this is a future we can avoid.

Organizations and municipalities all across the state and the Shore are calling on Congress to save the Historic Tax Credit. It’s also a rare opportunity for bipartisan agreement – it was a favorite program of President Ronald Reagan and has been championed by Republican and Democratic leaders alike in this latest tax reform debate. Eastern Shore residents should reach out to Congressman Harris and let him know they support preservation of our historic properties and investment in our towns.

Nicholas Redding & Katie Parks

Nicholas Redding is the Executive Director of Preservation Maryland, the nation’s second oldest statewide preservation organization.Twitter: @PreservationMD. Katie Parks is the Director of Conservation at the Eastern Shore Land Conservancy, a land conservation and community development non-profit organization. Twitter: @EShoreLandC

Avalon’s Weekend Marquee Update

The Talbot Spy sharing with our readers each week the MCTV produced Weekend Marquee with Tim Weigand as host. We hope you enjoy this short two minute preview of what’s coming up over the next few days.

Academy Art Museum Opens New Exhibition – The Caprichos: Goya and Lombardo

Emily Lombardo, Emily Lombardo Printer, Plate I from The Caprichos, 2013, Etching and aquatint, AAM 2016.032.

The Academy Art Museum will open The CaprichosGoya and Lombardo –  just in time for the holidaysThe exhibition will be on display from November 21, 2017 through February 25, 2018The Caprichos by Emily Lombardo is a series of etchings which are in direct conversation and homage to Francisco Goya’s Los Caprichos, 1799. Both explore and present a satirical critique of contemporary culture and the forces that influence society along economic, racial, political, religious, and gender lines.

Emily Lombardo states, “Copying has been the defining component of the apprentice-mentor structure since the birth of art production. The relationship was successfully completed when originality became discernible in the hand of the apprentice. My earliest apprenticeship was with a newspaper, pen, and paper. I would tirelessly copy political cartoons depicting Nixon, Reagan, Castro, and countless others, with slight understanding of the historical significance and intent of the author. This method evolved into a personal narrative, born in reaction to a lack of resonance with mainstream conversations.”

Emily Lombardo is an artist who has lived and worked in Boston for over 15 years.  She received her BFA from The Massachusetts College of Art and Design and her MFA from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Her work has been shown and collected internationally. Lombardo applies her knowledge of sculpture and print across a wide range of conceptual projects. She engages with appropriative art practices as a mode of investigating personal and cultural identity. She resides in Brooklyn, NY.

The Academy Art Museum recently acquired Lombardo’s The Caprichos series for the Permanent Collection. The edition was published by Childs Gallery and printed at The Center for Contemporary Printmaking (Norwalk, CT) by printer Paul DeRuvo. The Art Gallery of Ontario loaned the entire set of Goya’s Caprichos so that we can exhibit the two series of prints in parallel. A publication will accompany the exhibition. The exhibition is supported by the Childs Gallery, Boston.

The Museum’s exhibitions are generously supported by the Maryland State Arts Council, the Talbot County Arts Council and the Star-Democrat. For additional information, visit academyartmuseum.org or call the Museum at 410-822-2787.

Easton Hospital Unit Staff Collect Supplies for Gratitude House Recovery Home

Nurses on the 2 East Multi Specialty Care Unit at UM Shore Medical Center at Easton believe in giving back to the community and most recently, they have made that belief real by conducting a drive for cleaning and laundry supplies for the Gratitude House in Easton, a project of Realslow Recovery LLC, a nonprofit organization founded by Easton residents Mike and Sara Rissolo  with the goal of providing safe, affordable and supportive housing for all people to live and grow in recovery from drugs and alcohol.

Members of the team on the 2 East Multi Specialty Unit. Kneeling is Sara Rissolo, a founder of Gratitude House and per diem nurse at UM SMC at Easton; standing L-R, are Becky Hutchison; Erin Jones, Mary Camper, Colby Hall, Alyssa Baker, Mary Collins, Lauren Ayres and Shadonya Johnson.

In addition to her involvement with Gratitude House, Sara Rissolo is currently a per diem nurse for UM Shore Regional Health while pursuing advanced nursing studies. “These supplies will go a long way to helping our10 residents maintain the house,” she says. “I know they will be so grateful for this support. We welcome donations of supplies and also groceries, prepared foods and other items.”

Other organizations supported by the unit’s “2 East Gives Back” initiative include the Ruth Ann Jones Endowed Scholarship at Chesapeake College, Perry Point Hospital, the Bayside Quilters of the Eastern Shore, the Cancer Center at UM SRH and local humane societies.

As part of the University of Maryland Medical System (UMMS), University of Maryland Shore Regional Health is the principal provider of comprehensive health care services for more than 170,000 residents of Caroline, Dorchester, Kent, Queen Anne’s and Talbot counties on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. UM Shore Regional Health’s team of more than 2,500 employees, medical staff, board members and volunteers works with various community partners to fulfill the organization’s mission of Creating Healthier Communities Together.

Christmas in St. Michaels Weekend Coming Up!

Christmas in St. Michaels festivities kick off December 2nd with the Gingerbread House Preview Cocktail Party from 5-7 PM at the Women’s Club of St. Michaels located on St. Mary’s Square.  The Gingerbread House competition is open to anyone. Tickets for the Cocktail Party and complete contest rules are available online at christmasinstmichaels.org.  Awards will be announced at the Preview Cocktail Party.

The following Friday, Dec. 8th, put on your dancing shoes and join the fun at The Yuletide Party, starting at 6:30 pm at the Miles River Yacht Club.  All of the ingredients are in place for a spectacular event: there will be an open bar, passed hot hors d’oeuvres, a carving station of pork and beef tenderloin and desserts.  In addition, there will be a raw bar with a selection of seasonal specialties gathered from the Bay.  Guests will also enjoy complimentary valet parking.  And you won’t be able to stay off the dance floor when Joe Martone strikes up the music starting at 8 PM. Tickets are required.

Mr. and Mrs. Claus wow the crowds along Talbot St. at the annual St. Michaels Christmas Pa-rade December 9th from 10 a.m. – 11 a.m.

On Saturday, Dec. 9th, gather the whole family for the Christmas Parade which steps off on Talbot Street at 10:30 a.m.  For parents with younger kids, there is a pre-parade Breakfast with Santa, held at Harrison’s Eastern Shore, 1216 Talbot Street.  Tickets are $10.00 and reservations are required. After the parade, kids ages 3-11 can head over to Santa’s Wonderland, located at the St. Michael’s School, 200 Seymour Ave for face painting, games and – for baseball lovers – a maybe even a visit with major league baseball star and St. Michael’s native Harold Baines.

For lovers of historic homes,  the signature event of the weekend is the popular Christmas in St. Michaels Tour of Homes.  Eight historic and significant homes, all decked out for the holidays,  will be open to the public from Dec. 9th 11 a.m. – 5 pm. and Dec. 10th 11a.m. – 4 PM.  On the tour for the first time this year is the elegant brick colonial style Cannonball house which earned its nickname after being hit with a cannonball during the War of 1813.   Evidence is still visible in the stairwell.  All of the homes located in town are within walking distance of each other and transportation is provided to outlying locations.  Tickets for the Tour of Homes are $25.00 until Dec. 8th.  After that, tickets are $30.00. Tickets can be purchased on line or in local stores.

And finally, you can finish up (or get started on!) your Christmas shopping at the Marketplace and Sweet Shop, located at the Granite Lodge on St. Mary’s Square.  Filled with an array of artful gifts including hand-etched wine glasses, hummingbird feeders, fine jewelry, cuddly scarves and gloves plus homemade jams, jellies, and other gourmet goodies, Marketplace has something for everyone on your list.

To purchase tickets, make reservations, and find out more about these and other events, please visit:  christmasinstmichaels.org. All proceeds from Christmas in St. Michaels events go to fund local non-profit organizations that provide important services for local residents.

Mid-Shore Education: The Country School’s Plans for Goldsborough Street with Justin Nonemaker

Even when you take into account the long history and great affection that Talbot County has for the Country School, it is an incredibly daunting task for any small private school to raise enough capital to dramatically change their campus’ physical plant, add new classroom space, and redesign their parking and student pick up zones, mainly when it needs to happen all at the same time.

That certainly is the case for the K-8 school on Goldsborough Street as board members, parents, and staff work their way to the finish line of an almost $10 million fundraising campaign.

And the person that is the most responsible for the successful execution of this effort campaign is Justin Nonemaker, chair of the Board of Trustees at the school, Country School parent, and co-founding partner of ShoreGate Partners in Easton.

The Spy talked to Justin a few weeks ago to hear more about their plans, their early success the campaign has had to date with $7.6 million raised, and the long-term impact for the school community and for the streetscape on Goldsborough.

This video is approximately five minutes in length. For more information on the Country School please go here

New Weather Station Helps Students Learn at CBMM

A new, in-the-water weather station has recently been installed at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum on Fogg’s Cove along the Miles River.

Made possible through a generous gift from Lesley and Fred Israel, the weather station allows CBMM to enhance its K-12 programming to better support science and environmental education. Using the weather station, students are able to monitor the water quality at CBMM remotely from their schools to extend their museum learning into the classroom.

The monitoring equipment and data compilation are provided by the Virginia-based Sutron Corporation, which specializes in high quality real-time hydrologic, meteorological, and oceanic data. Water temperature, salinity, turbidity, and alkalinity are measured in the water, along with wind direction and speed, rainfall, dewpoint, and barometric pressure from the sensor above. Real-time data from CBMM’s weather station can be accessed online at bit.ly/weatherstationmap.

Established in 1965, the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum is a world-class maritime museum dedicated to preserving and exploring the history, environment, and people of the entire Chesapeake Bay, with the values of relevancy, authenticity, and stewardship guiding its mission. Charitable gifts to the museum’s annual fund enable CBMM to educate and inspire the next generation of Chesapeake Bay stewards, and can be made online at cbmm.org/donate.