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The Baltimore Ravens and their players are contributing nearly $200,000 to upgrade the HVAC units at Lakewood Elementary School. The units are expected to be operable in January 2019.
Lakewood Elementary, located in eastern Baltimore, is an early education school servicing pre-K and kindergarten students. Lakewood’s enrollment consists of 40 percent special needs, and 65 percent of the students qualify for free and reduced meals. The new HVAC system will help control the climate throughout the entire school. The Baltimore Sun report that the lack of air conditioning in city schools, such as Lakewood, has been criticized over the years as the hot summer days at the beginning of the school year have led to closures and early dismissals.
As part of its Social Justice Program, the Ravens have pledged to match player donations in efforts to support social justice initiatives and engagement in the Baltimore community. This is the first funding distributed from the players’ pledge through their social justice fund and continues the Ravens’ commitment to making a difference throughout Baltimore.
In the spring of 2018, the National Football League announced that each team would match player contributions up to $250,000 annually for the purposes of establishing a fund to support community improvement, social justice and law enforcement relationships.
Ravens president Dick Cass, general counsel Brandon Etheridge, long snapper Morgan Cox, OLB Matthew Judon, DB/LB Anthony Levine, WR Chris Moore, LB C.J. Mosley and DT Brandon Williams joined congressman Elijah Cummings, Baltimore City Mayor Catherine Pugh and CEO of Baltimore City Public Schools Dr. Sonja Brookins Santelises to announce the contribution.
"As professional football players, we understand the importance of being leaders in a community that proudly supports us,” Cox said in a statement. “There have been times where these children have had to go to school in the summer and winter months without reliable air-conditioning or heating, and we see this as a great opportunity to provide them with the optimal learning environment that they deserve.”