Weinberg Foundation President and CEO, Rachel Garbow Monroe, was the presiding Mistress of Ceremonies at the Wednesday, October 23 community tribute service for Maryland Congressman Elijah E. Cummings who passed away on Thursday, October 17. Congressman Cummings was 68. The celebration of life, held at Morgan State University, included remarks from more than 25 elected officials, as well as religious and community leaders.

“I was privileged to be part of the community tribute—a powerful and moving testament to the deep and diverse impact of Congressman Cummings’ life and commitment to serving others,” said Monroe. “The Congressman has been rightly described as ‘a giant in our country,’ ‘a civil rights advocate,’ ‘an American hero of our times,’ and as ‘a friend.’ Indeed, he was a friend of the Weinberg Foundation. But more important, he was a friend to all of us who love Baltimore. He was a tireless advocate for this great city and its people, especially those who would otherwise be neglected or rejected.” Monroe added, “Our thoughts and prayers remain with Dr. Maya Rockeymoore Cummings and the Cummings family. May his memory forever be a blessing.”

To honor the memory of Congressman Cummings, the Foundation is awarding a three-year grant of $180,000 ($60,000 per year) to the Elijah Cummings Youth Program (ECYP), which seeks to build bridges between Baltimore’s Jewish and African American communities. Specifically, ECYP focuses on preparing high school students in Maryland’s 7th congressional district to serve as open-minded leaders with the skills, community ties, and global exposure critical to success in a diverse society.

Each participating student begins the program as a junior in high school and must go through the program’s two-year, three-step process: leadership development; The Israel Experience, which involves living in the Yemin Orde youth village for at-risk students from around the world; and community service. The community service curriculum during the student’s senior year includes working on a specific project with a parallel group of Jewish high school students similarly focused on social justice and community leadership.