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Goldsmith Family Foundation supports CTY students for more than 30 years

August 17, 2023 by Abigail Sussman

Nearly $3M in gifts has provided 800 CTY scholarships

When rising 10th grader Alexis Breeding stands up in front of her fellow classmates at the Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth’s summer program, it is with an air of confidence. Her job is to deliver a rebuttal in a debate about whether human minds are physical, the culmination of three weeks in her Human Nature and Technology class.

Breeding assuredly makes her points to the members of the other team and is later selected for the last stage of the class’s debate: a dance-off. As she ably performs “the wobble” in front of the crowd, it’s hard to believe that the 15-year-old from Southern Maryland would describe herself as nervous about public speaking — not to mention dancing — before this summer.

“I felt like I was more comfortable with my classmates, and they made me feel more confident about what I was learning,” Breeding says. “And I felt more confident in what I was learning because I was actually interested.”

Breeding’s experiences this summer were made possible by a gift from the Goldsmith Family Foundation, which has been supporting CTY for more than 30 years as part of the foundation’s mission to enhance educational opportunities for the youth of Baltimore.

This year, the foundation made a $100,000 contribution to provide scholarships to 30 students at CTY’s On-Campus Summer Program, which brings together students from grades 2-12 for in-person advanced classes and fun activities.

The Goldsmith Family Foundation was funded by the will of the late Harold Goldsmith, who died unexpectedly in a small plane crash in 1991. He became interested in supporting education in Baltimore after watching a story on 60 Minutes about a man who adopted an entire seventh grade class and promised to pay their college tuitions.

Harold Goldsmith’s wife Beth Goldsmith is the foundation’s president. Because she is a former teacher, education is a cause that’s also close to her heart.

“It was sort of a gift he gave me, not only creating this wonderful foundation but choosing its mission to be something that I was well versed in, that I was comfortable in, and that I was also passionate about,” Beth Goldsmith says.

Goldsmith became aware of CTY during her teaching days and was always passionate about helping gifted and talented students, even working on a doctorate that focused on that field.

“I was always drawn to that area after working with kids who didn’t have an outlet, who didn’t have a way of being taught to their abilities,” Goldsmith says. “So, it was a real sort of no-brainer for us.”

Since 2009, the Goldsmith Family Foundation has given almost $3 million in scholarships and helped more than 800 students attend CTY programming, which includes on-campus and online courses. CTY Executive Director Amy Shelton, PhD, says that without the foundation’s support, many of those students wouldn’t be able to attend these programs.

“This kind of philanthropy is really vital to being able to really meet our mission of reaching these students across demographics, across different communities,” Shelton says. “We really could not do this without them. These students would be missing out on those opportunities.”

Breeding’s classmate Anthony Martinez also received a scholarship funded by the Goldsmith Family Foundation. This was his fifth year attending a CTY program, and he was excited to be among his fellow students again this summer.

“The people at CTY, I think I relate to them a lot more,” Martinez says. “It makes me feel almost at home, like these are my people and these are who I can spend a long time with and still not be bored.”

Along with his Human Nature and Technology class, some of Martinez’s favorite memories from the summer included a trip to the Baltimore Museum of Art and participating in a Shark Tank-like activity, where he pitched inventions to a panel of residential advisers.

Martinez will enter 12th grade in Baltimore this fall. He hopes to attend college next year and study biology with the ultimate goal of helping the environment. He says CTY has helped prepare him for his next step by improving his academic skills and his ability to think deeply on different subjects.

“There are no words to describe how unique it is,” Martinez says of his time in CTY. “There’s always something new and I appreciate it very much.”

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Topics: Alumni, Faculty and Staff, Center for Talented Youth, Support Scholars