Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Williams and Francis Giving Back to the Community

Today I have two stories about two stars from two eras, but the common thread is that they are working to give back to the community here in Maryland.

First, Steve Francis (1998-99), through his charitable foundation, donated $70,000 towards renovating a park in Takoma Park near where he grew up. Excerpts from Montgomery County's Gazette newspaper:
Behind him was a new basketball court with glass backboards, padded stanchions and his signature, painted between the half-court and 3-point lines, part of the $70,000 donation the Steve Francis Foundation made to Montgomery County Parks to renovate Takoma-Piney Branch Local Park. [...]

The skinny, trash-talking kid from the Park Ritchie apartments on Maple Avenue stood in front of a crowd at the ribbon-cutting ceremony Sunday, and spoke about what he hoped the rebuilt park would mean to the hometown that meant so much to him. [...]

Francis now lives in the Houston area with his wife and children. He toured the park, which also has a pavilion dedicated to his mother, a skateboard park, volleyball court and playground, for the first time on May 31.

Next, Walt Williams (1988-1992) is training for the Catoctin Challenge, a 100-mile charity bike ride through the Catoctin Mountains to raise money for Camp Greentop, a summer camp that serves disabled children and adults near Thurmont, MD. Excerpts from the Baltimore Sun:

So when Williams, 42, recently learned about the Catoctin Challenge, a 100-mile charity bike ride through the Catoctin Mountains, it didn't take him long to make his move.

"Honestly, about 10 seconds into talking, he's like, 'Oh, yeah, I'd love to do it,'" said Phil Heffler, the chair and founder of the Catoctin Challenge. "He hadn't ridden a bike in years, but he wanted to raise money. He thought it was a great idea to raise money for a good cause."

Williams hopes to raise $50,000 from friends and supporters for Camp Greentop, a summer camp in Catoctin National Park that serves about 300 disabled children and adults annually. The money will help send low-income individuals to the camp.

For Williams, the Challenge seemed like a good opportunity to get more involved in one of his favorite organizations. The financial adviser has served as a member of the board of directors for the League for People with Disabilities — the agency that runs Camp Greentop — for more than a year, and he was interested in ways to further support its mission.