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Professor’s advocacy helps bring in donations for the Baldwin Center

Thursday, June 12, 2014
Professor’s advocacy helps bring in donations for the Baldwin Center

Jennifer Lucarelli, Ph.D., a nutrition and health professor at Oakland University, spoke on behalf of the Baldwin Center at a unique charity function. The result was a $16,700 donation.
A community-minded Oakland University professor recently played a key role in a local civic group’s generous donation to the Baldwin Center in Pontiac.

While attending a meeting of the 100 Women Who Care - Greater Rochester Area chapter, Jennifer Lucarelli, Ph.D., was one of three chapter members selected to spotlight the work of their favorite charity and encourage members to vote in favor of supporting the cause. She spoke about the Baldwin Center's impact on the lives of citizens and her pitch received the most votes.

Following the vote, the group's 167 members each contributed a $100 check to the Baldwin Center, with funds going to support a variety of programs and services. The $16,700 donation represents a significant investment in the center’s efforts, according to Elizabeth Longley, Baldwin’s executive director.

“We feed 79,000 people annually, and we are going into one of our biggest feeding seasons of the year,” Longley said. “We are also preparing to hold our youth day camp in collaboration with the YMCA, so this money could not have come at a better time for us.”

Founded in 1981, the Baldwin Center provides resources to the underserved, including food, shelter, clothing, education and recreational programs. Dr. Lucarelli, an assistant professor of health sciences, has supported the center for a number of years, helping to develop health and nutrition activities and conducting research on enhanced physical activity in after-school and summer programs. She also serves as community chairperson of the Healthy Pontiac, We Can! coalition, which collaborates with the Baldwin Center and other partners to increase healthy eating, physical activity and tobacco-free living in the Pontiac community.

“The Baldwin Center has really expanded their mission of meeting people’s basic needs through their mission to feed, clothe, educate, and empower the community, to an organization that also promotes health and well-being through each of its initiatives,” Dr. Lucarelli explained. “To name just a few, they’ve improved the quality of the foods being served in the soup kitchen and in the youth programs, and they’ve enhanced opportunities for physical activity.  As a nutrition and health professor and researcher, I’m happy to lend my support whenever it is needed to improve the health of the community.” 

With dozens of chapters statewide, 100 Women Who Care is a broad network of grassroots groups that make donations to numerous charitable causes. The Greater Rochester Area chapter formed in 2013 and has contributed thousands of dollars in support of nonprofits, such as the New Day Foundation for Families, the Assistance League of Southeast Michigan and the Catholic Community Response Team.

Chapter co-founder Barbara Donohoe said the success of 100 Women Who Care is rooted in the power of collective action.

“$100 from one person may not seem like a lot, but when you multiply that by 100-plus people, it adds up,” Donohoe said. “Pooling our resources allows us to make a much bigger impact than any of us could make on our own and the best part is that we can see the difference we are making right here in our community. It’s very rewarding to know that our dollars are helping so many people in need.”

To learn more about the chapter’s efforts, visit For more on the Baldwin Center, view the website at