An article featuring the New Jersey Scholars, Educators, Excellence, Dedication and Success (NJ SEEDS) charity recently ran in the Wall Street Journal.
The NJ SEEDS College Preparatory Program (CPP) has sent high school students to the Hobart and William Smith campus for a summer of academic enrichment and leadership development for the past six years. NJ SEEDS has received a great deal of support from HWS faculty and alums alike. HWS Trustee J. Paul Hellstrom Jr. ’64 has been an advocate for NJ SEEDS since its beginnings at the Colleges. Hellstrom was the driving force in bringing together NJ SEEDS and HWS and has contributed to the program’s continued success. Also significantly involved as a SEEDS Trustee is Paul R. DeRosa ’63, who with his wife, Elizabeth Johnston DeRosa ’65, are donors to the organization.
The Wall Street Journal article features M. Brian Maher, who recently committed $500,000 to the organization in support of the CPP. The article notes: “Critically, Mr. Maher likes that the college-preparatory program targets students who are highly motivated, but not necessarily the No. 1 and No. 2 in a class. His recent commitment will sponsor a class of 15 students over the next three years; it’s his second class to sponsor. He says that with each graduating group, students are going on to even more competitive schools. Ninety students have graduated from the college-preparatory program.”
To date, four successful SEEDS scholars have chosen HWS for their college careers.
The following is the article as it appeared later on the paper’s website in the “Donor of the Day” feature. For more information on the program, visit the organization’s website at www.njseeds.org.
Wall Street Journal
Donor of the Day: Setting Up Needy Students for Success
M. Brian Maher Feeds New Jersey SEEDS
Melanie Grayce West • July 27, 2013
To M. Brian Maher, education is a key component of almost anything that we do to solve many societal and economic problems.
“The shrinking middle class, uneven wealth distribution, unemployment…I look at education as not the solution for all those issues, but certainly a major ingredient,” says Mr. Maher, 66 years old, former chairman and chief executive of Maher Terminals LLC, a major marine-terminal operator with a container terminal in the Port of New York/New Jersey.
Since 1998, Mr. Maher has supported New Jersey SEEDS, a Newark-based charity that helps high-achieving students from low-income families go to top colleges. He recently committed $500,000 to the charity to support its college-preparatory program, which provides three years of advanced academic help in math, language arts, science, writing and test preparation to high school students during their sophomore to senior years.
He’s given some $700,000 to the organization over the years and has served on the New Jersey SEEDS’ board of trustees.
The college-preparatory program, which is free of charge, serves some 90 students from three high schools in Orange and Trenton, N.J. Students commit their Saturdays to the program and participate in leadership retreats. College admission and financial aid guidance is a core of the program, and SEEDS works with colleges to secure at least 90% in financial aid and scholarships for its students.
Graduates of the program have gone on to American University, Occidental College, Denison University and Hobart and William Smith Colleges, among others, says Mr. Maher.
Critically, Mr. Maher likes that the college-preparatory program targets students who are highly motivated, but not necessarily the No. 1 and No. 2 in a class. His recent commitment will sponsor a class of 15 students over the next three years; it’s his second class to sponsor. He says that with each graduating group, students are going on to even more competitive schools. Ninety students have graduated from the college-preparatory program.
Mr. Maher says that in his retirement-he and brother, Basil, reportedly sold their family business for more than $1 billion in 2007-he was looking for what he could do to be productive.
“People always say, ‘Give back,’ which to me is kind of a cliché,” says Mr. Maher, who lives in Short Hills, N.J. He wanted to do something that would “move things forward.”
“You can take a very large shotgun approach and you can give a small amount of money to a lot of different things. Or, you can focus,” explains Mr. Maher, who has decided to concentrate his efforts in education, including scholarships and early-childhood programs.
SEEDS’ college-preparatory program is, to him, making a significant difference in the lives of students. “You can take financially disadvantaged students and give them a greater opportunity than they’ve had,” he says. “I don’t think it’s rocket science.”
Write to Melanie Grayce West at email@example.com
The photo above features a gathering held on campus for the NJ SEEDS students and members of the HWS community.