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What United Way of Central Maryland ‘Wish Wish Wishes’ for Families in Howard County

Columbia Family Center Opening

Baltimore, MD (October 4, 2022) – United Way of Central Maryland, Howard County Executive Calvin Ball, Howard County officials, local executives and partners today opened the organization’s third Family Center in central Maryland, located at 7115 Columbia Gateway Drive in Columbia, Maryland. The Columbia Family Center will provide quality, accessible childcare and early childhood education to parents in Howard County.

Among the participants was award-winning children’s book author and art therapist, Sandra Magsamen, who read from her latest book, I Wish Wish Wish For You, which illuminates the power and purpose of wishes.

“Our wish for our families and children is a bright, stable future – and that starts right here,”
 said Franklyn Baker, president and CEO, United Way of Central Maryland. “The pandemic has illuminated the critical need for childcare in our country. This family center is a symbol of our commitment to provide affordable, accessible childcare; enriching early childhood education; and an array of supportive services for children and their families in high-need communities.”

Designed as an early learning “home” to accommodate up to 73 children, the new center offers certified childcare to Howard County families who are working hard but still struggling to make ends meet.

“United Way’s new Family Center is a result of much-needed investment for so many hard-working families in our community, many of whom struggle with childcare costs and other basic needs,” said Howard County Executive Calvin Ball. “We continue working hard for all our children to be successful and ready to become their best selves. This Center will create more opportunity for families.”

“It is so critical for parents to have a safe place for their children to learn and grow as they juggle the daily demands of maintaining employment, staying safely housed, and feeding their families”, said Jackie Scott, director, Department of Community Resources and Services, Howard County Government.  “Places like this Family Center help reduce the stress and strain on families struggling to just make ends meet”.

United Way of Central Maryland worked with many partners to bring the Columbia Family Center to life. “We are here today because of our partners,” said Baker. “This building, and this program, are not possible without the support of a community – a village – and we have that here in Howard County from partners like Corporate Office Properties Trust (COPT), Whiting Turner, Howard County Government, Maryland State Department of Education and many others.”

“One of our key principles as a company is to be engaged with the communities where we live, work, and serve,” said Steve Budorick, president and CEO, Corporate Office Properties Trust. “We are so proud of the work and partnership that went into the completion of this project. It’s my personal view that the highest calling of society is to protect and educate our children; and this United Way Family Center, is doing just that.”

“For nearly 100 years, we have united others for the common good,” Baker added. “The Columbia Family Center is a physical manifestation of that work and we are proud to serve the hardworking families of Howard County.”

For more information about United Way of Central Maryland and its Family Centers, visit

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United Way of Central Maryland helps the working poor and those in poverty access basic needs like housing, healthcare, jobs, and education. The nonprofit’s programs promote equity, create opportunity, and improve the lives of our neighbors and the neighborhoods they call home. For nearly 100 years, United Way has tackled the toughest challenges in Baltimore City and Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Carroll, Harford and Howard counties. Learn more at