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Helping others: Local firms share stories

The Daily Record invited local organizations to tell us about how they gave back to the community during holiday time. Here is what they had to say, in their own words:

Lawyers’ Campaign Against Hunger

The Lawyers’ Campaign Against Hunger was originally conceived 26 years ago in response to the 1986 American Bar Association resolution declaring a “fundamental right to be free from hunger.”

At that time, a group of volunteer attorneys decided to do something about hunger in Maryland … and the Lawyers’ Campaign Against Hunger was born. Since 1988, the Campaign has raised over $3.5 million, which has benefited hunger-related initiatives and programs feeding thousands of individuals and families across Maryland.

Beneficiaries are the Maryland Food Bank and the Capital Area Food Bank.

Sponsors include: Media: The Daily Record; Judicial, $25,000 and above: Law Offices of Peter T. Nicholl; The Venable Foundation Inc.; Appellate, $5,000-$9,999: Denise A. & Philip M. Andrews; Goodell, DeVries, Leech & Dann LLP; Kramon & Graham P.A.; Law Offices of Peter G. Angelos P.C.; Kathleen Howard Meredith; Ober | Kaler; Paul W. Spence P.A.; George Psoras Jr.; Richard & Roberta Ufford; Charter, $3,000-$4,999: Anderson, Coe & King LLP; George J. Bachrach; Ballard Spahr LLP; Thomas J. Cullen, Jr.; DLA Piper; Gerard J. Gaeng & Niamh A. McQuillan; Gordon Feinblatt LLC; Hogan Lovells US LLP; Lerch, Early & Brewer; Linowes & Blocher LLP; Craig B. & Paula Krahn Merkle; Murthy Law Firm/Murthy/Nayak Foundation; Patrick Malone & Associates; Proctor & McKee P.A.; Saul Ewing LLP; Semmes, Bowen & Semmes; Mark & Claire Treanor; Whiteford, Taylor & Preston LLP.

Maryland Athletic Club & Wellness Center

The Maryland Athletic Club & Wellness Center’s (MAC) goal is to inspire members to push themselves to their personal best. Sometimes the company is inspired to leverage health and wellness to help others in the community with their needs.

Philanthropy is woven tightly into the MAC corporate culture. They donate time, energy and financial resources to a variety of charitable, social and health-related causes. The MAC uses innovative approaches to get people to get started with exercise and give back to the community.

In March of 2013, they launched a 25 for $25 campaign in which people received 25 days of access to MAC centers with a $25 donation to the Ronald McDonald House. The campaign was a complete success, with the MAC donating $10,000 to the cause. This December, they’ll bring the campaign back with proceeds going to the Maryland Food Bank.

In May, the MAC opened the doors at all of its locations providing free seven-day passes to nonmembers and free community classes in honor of the 10th Annual Get Active America! Program, an annual initiative from the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association to help America become physically active and improve their diet.

Also held annually in May, the MAC’s Half Marathon & Two-Person Relay raised funds for two local domestic violence organizations — The House of Ruth and CHANA.

Throughout the year, the MAC donates memberships and resources to scores of organizations including some of them listed below: The American Heart Association, The Johns Hopkins Ciccarone Center for Prevention of Heart Disease, Susan G. Komen Race for a Cure, Coalition For a Healthy Maryland, Tyanna Barre O’Brien Breast Cancer Foundation, MS National Society, House of Ruth, Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation, Living Classrooms Foundation, Alzheimer’s Association- Maryland, ALS society.


WYPR, a listener-supported radio station, provided over $150,000 in media partnerships in 2013 to such nonprofit organizations as Kennedy Kreiger Institute, Healthcare for the Homeless, Everyman Theatre, Hadassah, MICA, Chimes, the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation, Church of the Redeemer and many others.

Additionally, in an annual partnership with Giant Food, WYPR delivered 352 turkeys to the Maryland Food Bank.

Embrace Home Loans

From care packages to 5K’s, Embrace Home Loans’ employees are getting involved in the community this holiday season. Most companies are charitable, but what makes Embrace Home Loans stand out is its corporate commitment to encourage their employees not only to give, but to actively participate in each employee’s local community.

“We have a culture that most in business and especially in the mortgage business would find difficult to believe … a culture in which we pay employees to volunteer in the community rather than come to work, a culture in which we match employee charitable contributions. Embrace and its generous employees have given more than $20 million for charity over the last 25 years.” commented David Ratti, Branch Manager of Embrace Home Loans Timonium office.

The Timonium office volunteered at the 2013 Color Run in Baltimore to support The Cool Kids Campaign, a cause that David Ratti supports year-round. Ratti and his team manned the Purple section shooting purple-dyed cornstarch at 5K runners as they passed by. The Color Run is an event management company that works with local charities like The Cool Kids Campaign helping to increase cause awareness. As mentioned on The Color Run official website, the goal is “to help shine a light on important issues.” Chris Federico, the President and Co-Founder of The Cool Kids Campaign added that Ratti and his team’s “contributions and involvement from events like Color Run and Baltimore Running Festival to coming into the office to create care packages for the children, show how much they care for the community and we hope it encourages other organizations/branches of Embrace to get involved with us.”

In addition to the Color Run event, The Timonium office also teamed up with The Cool Kids Campaign by delivering holiday care packages to families who have children with cancer. Genna Wittstadt Hoy, a loan officer assistant from the Timonium Embrace Home Loans’ branch, shared: “I know it might not be much to all of us, but the couple of hours I spent with these families yesterday — people who only care about keeping their child alive despite all the odds — reminded me of what we have to be thankful for this holiday.”

Embrace Home Loans actively encourages community outreach by matching charitable donations made by employees, and investing in a Volunteer Hours Program.

“Dave and his team well epitomize our corporate passion — to make a positive impact in the lives of others. We see this in their continual investment in our employees, our customers and our communities. I am personally inspired by the care our Timonium office extends to others… and proud to corporately support their efforts” shared Embrace Home Loans’ president, Kurt Noyce.

Travel Advantage Network

Travel Advantage Network, of Millersville, a vacation accommodations program, collected 142 shoeboxes filled with gifts to be delivered to needy children by Operation Christmas Child.

“I have hosted this charity for the past three years because it’s very rewarding to have such a profound impact on less fortunate children and everyone in the office really seems to enjoy the experience. It’s so different than our usual monthly charities, in that employees get to shop for items and have their family members involved in the process,” explained Lauren Lombard, Training and Development Coordinator.

Each month, a Travel Advantage Network employee chooses a charity for the company to support and comes up with creative activities to help raise funds for that cause. For Operation Christmas Child, Lombard decided that stuffing as many boxes as possible and surpassing last year’s box collection (125 boxes were collected in 2012) was a primary focus.

“I am happy to work for a company that allows employees to choose a charity that is close to their heart and supports them in raising funds. Every month, we see true selflessness in our company as employees give of their time and finances,” said Lombard.

This is Travel Advantage Network’s third year participating in Operation Christmas Child, which is a worldwide children’s project of Samaritan’s Purse that delivers gift-filled boxes containing school supplies, toys and necessity items to children in need around the world.

Travel Advantage Network has been dedicated to charitable giving since its inception. In 2012, the company raised more than $15,000 for various local and national charities. For more information about Travel Advantage Network and its monthly charitable efforts, please visit or