The largest gift in the history of University of Maryland, Baltimore County —a $21 million donation from the Sherman Family Foundation—will dramatically expand the reach and impact of the university’s K-12 and early childhood education work. The transformational gift will provide funding to launch the Betsy & George Sherman Center as a national model to advance excellence in urban schools. This new center will expand and integrate UMBC’s work in teacher preparation, school partnerships, and applied research focused on early childhood education and improving learning outcomes for Baltimore’s students.
“If universities are to be major contributors to the development of society, they have to be involved with the schools and with neighborhoods and with communities,” says UMBC President Freeman Hrabowski. “Betsy and the Sherman Family Foundation have provided us with invaluable resources to make this collaborative work possible.”
“This gift represents a clear and bold commitment to developing teachers that can better support future generations of students in Baltimore City, especially in early learning and STEM,” said Sonja Brookins Santelises, chief executive officer of Baltimore City Public Schools. “It also expands the research partnership between City Schools and the university in ways that will further enhance teaching and learning in our community. We are excited about this next great step.”
Prior gifts from the Sherman Family Foundation supported the launch of UMBC’s Sherman Center for Early Learning in Urban Communities as well as the Sherman STEM Teacher Scholars program, which prepares UMBC students as culturally responsive and compassionate STEM educators. The Betsy & George Sherman Center will include these programs and more.
Betsy and George Sherman’s philanthropy in STEM education has been inspired by Mrs. Sherman’s career in early childhood education and the late Mr. Sherman’s experience as an engineer and business leader. Their family foundation has now invested more than $38 million in UMBC’s education initiatives.
The Shermans have shared with UMBC a deep commitment to children’s equal access to high-quality education and a supportive community. “It is our job as the adults in the community to offer them an opportunity to grow in a way that will support them,” says Mrs. Sherman. “When a university is connected to a city, children thrive, families thrive.”
Photo: George and Betsy Sherman (front row, left) with President Freeman Hrabowski and Jacqueline Hrabowski (front row, right) next to Rehana Shafi (front row, in yellow) with Sherman Scholars