Baltimore-area philanthropists Art and Patricia Modell recently pledged $5 million to open a public boarding school for disadvantaged students in Maryland.
The school is to be operated by the SEED Foundation, a Washington-based nonprofit organization that runs one such school in the nation’s capital.
Although the eligibility criteria for the Maryland school have not been formally determined, the school will be designed to serve students who are struggling academically and who come from low-income households and tenuous family structures, SEED officials say.
Ms. Modell became interested in the SEED model after visiting the Washington school last year. She will remain involved in the Maryland school by serving on the boards of directors of both the national and Maryland arms of the SEED Foundation. She and her husband, minority owners of the Baltimore Ravens professional-football team, live outside that city in Cockeysville, Md.
The Modells’ gift is an “anchor donation” that will cover such expenses as construction of the facility and start-up costs. The foundation hopes to raise a total of $60 million for the Maryland school through private donations and loans.
The state is to cover the school’s operating costs, estimated at $25,000 per student annually. Unlike the Washington campus, the Maryland facility is not expected to be a charter school.
Slated to open in the fall of 2008 at a temporary location, the school will start with a class of 80 6th graders and add one class per year through grade 12, with an anticipated total enrollment of about 400. Organizers plan to move into a permanent location in the Baltimore area after one year.
In addition to the Maryland school, the SEED Foundation is planning to open another campus in Washington. It is also researching expansion possibilities in California, Cincinnati, Milwaukee, and Newark.
A version of this article appeared in the January 24, 2007 edition of Education Week