More than 50 past and present MARCH Foundation Trustees, and guests gathered Thursday night at the Dallas/Plano Marriott at Legacy Town Center to celebrate the Foundation’s 20th Anniversary and to hear Plano Mayor Harry LaRosiliere proclaim October 19th as “MARCH Foundation 20th Anniversary Day.”
MARCH Foundation, which stands for Mutual Alliance Restoring Community Hope, was launched to support the education of African-American youth. Since its inception in 1997, the Foundation has distributed more than $890,000 in grants and scholarships which have impacted more than 1,000 students to date.
The MARCH Foundation was conceived October 1997 post-retirement by longtime Plano community business and civic leader Kenneth B. Jarvis.
“After 37 years with United Parcel Service (UPS), I really felt blessed,” Jarvis explained. “I had strong inspiration from my father, grandfather, and great grandmother who were all involved in the community. To see how helping others can really grow our community is very exciting to me. Just the thought of being able to do that on a small scale meant a lot to me.”
The event also featured entertainment by Don Diego and the premiere of an anniversary video providing an overview of the history of the foundation and the many programs and projects it has supported over the past 20 years.
The MARCH Foundation’s scale of influence continues to spread far beyond Plano. Beneficiary organizations include: Generation Success in Plano, TX; Create Your Dreams in Atlanta, GA; The Piney Woods School in Piney Woods, MS and Project Medishare for Haiti Relief. In 2015, the MARCH Foundation made a $100k challenge grant to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund to establish the Eric H. Holder, Jr. Fellowship. Past Chairman and founding member Jim Castillo of Calabasas, CA spearheaded the effort to commit resources to supporting a new generation of civil rights attorneys at LDF.
Castillo said the 20 years of targeted gifting by the philanthropists of the MARCH Foundation has made an immeasurable impact. Access to fellowships and college would have been financially off limits for most MARCH recipients, Castillo said.
“When you look at the value equation — where can you give wisdom, work and wealth, and give it with a group of people who are similarly aligned?” Castillo explained. “As I look back on the time and energy spent with MARCH, the impact is really invaluable because we have targeted helping African-American youth.”
According to the Digest of Education Statistics, increasing numbers and percentages of Black and Hispanic students are attending college. Between 2000 and 2015, the percentage of college students who were Black rose from 11.7 to 14.1 percent. Also, the percentage of Black 18- to 24-year-olds enrolled increased from 30.5 percent to 34.9 percent in that same period.
Castillo, Jarvis and friends intend to do their part to improve those figures. The MARCH Board is comprised of active and retired UPS executives. Their careers spanned an average of 35 years, beginning as package car drivers or truck loaders. The Plano-based 501(c)(3) organization is managed by those men whose personal financial investments provided the initial source of funding for contributions and grants.
As part of the celebration, the Board presented Jarvis with a $5k gift in the name of the H. Kay and Kenneth B. Jarvis Foundation. The funds will be distributed as a scholarship or grant to an organization in the Jarvis Foundation’s name.
“We thought long and hard about how to properly honor our Chairman Emeritus, Ken Jarvis, whose influence has spread far beyond the Plano community,” explained Chairman Norman Carmichael of Atlanta. “We decided providing them with a foundation gift they could then share with the community would be a unique and appropriate way to do so.”