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Donor Inspires Us With $10,000 Gift

May 29, 2009:  The Public Justice Center is proud to announce and cheer a record-breaking gift from supporter Ellie Cox.  We couldn't be more grateful.  Ellie's contribution of $10,000 inspires all of us at the PJC.  Her contribution is the single largest unrestricted gift from an individual donor in the history of our organization.

We visited with Ellie recently to hear what moved her to give so generously in support of our mission.  This is what she shared with us:

I have great admiration and respect for the work that the PJC does.  I was brought up with the idea that it is important to work to help others.  This influenced me to dedicate much of my professional life to social justice organizations.  Along the way, I've discovered that the more work you do for social justice, the more you realize that there is a lot of "gray."  It's not always obvious what is "right" and what is "wrong."  The more you see the gray, the more of a challenge it is to figure out what to do to help.  For me, the power of the PJC and the people who work there has to do with their ability to look into the gray and have the courage to make sense out of it.

Ellie first became aware of the PJC when she was working at the Open Society Institute.  A heartbreaking event stoked her interest in our efforts, and a PJC meeting solidified her backing.

I really began to pay attention when I learned of the death of Deamonte Driver, the young boy who died because he did not receive needed dental care.  I was in Spain at the time and saw this tragedy covered in the international press.  Coming so soon after our national failure to respond to the victims of hurricane Katrina, I just became angry.  How could a child in Maryland die because he didn't receive dental care?

When I learned that PJC was sponsoring a Justice for Breakfast on this issue, I went to try to make sense of how this could happen.  What impressed me about the Breakfast was that I could sit in a room with people from all sides of the issue and, although there was tremendous passion, there was no fighting, there was no finger pointing.

Representatives of dentists were there side by side with others from groups who were trying to increase access to dental care.  There was an honest and respectful conversation.  I could understand everyone's perspective and could see how something productive could come out of the vibrant discussion.

Ellie made her first gift to the PJC in 2007.  Since then she has been increasingly engaged and inspired by our work.

I couldn't do what the PJC does.  I admire their work greatly, but my patience would run out.  I would give up, and they don't.  The entire staff is so committed to finding solutions in the middle of the gray.  I'll continue to do my work, but the world is a better place because the PJC is in it.  They are unique.  Baltimore has many problems, but I am so grateful that we have the asset of the PJC to tackle these problems.  I'm committed to keeping their work going, and I hope that my financial suppot will inspire and galvanize others to join me.

Thank you, Ellie.

If Ellie's gift moves you to aid our work, please donate here.  Together, we will build a more just society.

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