From Harford Family House:
It all started after GM Baltimore Operations Plant Manager William Tiger joined the Community Partnership Board of United Way of Central Maryland. He had no idea the extent of the homeless situation in his own backyard.
“You figure Baltimore City has a high rate as many big cities in America do, but I really didn’t know how bad it was in the other counties around Baltimore,” said Tiger. “I needed to find a way to show our employees what the needs were here locally. I also wanted to increase the participation rate of employee giving to the United Way. At one of our board meetings I saw a client of The Harford Family House (THFH) speak and I knew that was a place that would win our employees hearts.”
Tiger went back to his team and they created a special event in September of this year – part United Way presentations, part fund raising. The results were stunning!
Tiger said, “We had a woman named Keisha who benefited from the services of The Harford Family House come and speak to our employees. She and her husband were a typical middle class family with two kids, a house, dog and two cars. She developed degenerative arthritis in both knees and was unable to work at her military job. Her mother-in-law was HIV positive and her mother had cancer. They tried to help their moms financially and lost everything but their van, which is a good thing since that’s where they lived once they got someone to take their kids for a while.”
Tiger learned that most shelters will not mix men and women, so families get separated; and recipients can only stay for short periods of time and oftentimes move from shelter to shelter. This is really bad when kids are involved and it breaks families apart. That’s when Keisha learned about The Harford Family House.
“For $25 a day, THFH can house a family and they allow the family to stay up to a year to get some stability back in their lives. THFH helps with services, job searches – things that will help them become independent again,” Tiger said.
After the meeting, employees had the ability to sign up to donate to United Way of Central Maryland and/or donor designate. Giving participation increased from 17 percent to 43 percent.
Then the real fun began as Tiger, Personnel Director Nichole Oliver, and UAW Local 239 Shop Chairmen Jeff Beard and Shawn Gross took turns in a dunk tank to raise cash for the cause. There were several other games available too, including a game that entails seeing how far someone could launch a marshmallow using a golf club!
After the day’s events, Ernest Morgan, a Technical Operations Specialist at the GMBO eMotor Plant, approached Tiger and said that if the plant could raise enough money to house a family for six months – $4,500 – then he and his wife Margie would donate the other six months – $4,500 – and then the plant could house a family for a whole year.
Tiger’s Baltimore Operations team did achieve the target of raising the money to enable them to donate $9,000 to The Harford Family Home. “It’s been really neat to see the team embrace an organization that does so much to help families.”