Honickmans Stuns 30th Gala Crowd with $6 Million Donation
This story originally appeared in our Spring 2019 Edition of News from HOME.
To celebrate Project HOME’s 30th anniversary, Lynne and Harold Honickman generously donated $6 million which brought the event’s total to over $10 million. In honor of their incredible generosity, we wanted to share some of Lynne’s beautiful speech from that evening.
Twenty-five years ago, I was driving through the inner city taking a shortcut to North Broad Street. Within minutes from my residence on Rittenhouse Square, I found myself in what looked like a war zone. I couldn’t reconcile the seemingly anonymous man lying on a grate, teenagers hanging out on a corner during school hours, homes in degradation, with what should be every person’s hope for the future.
With Sister Mary Scullion, Joan Dawson McConnon, neighborhood leaders, and Comcast, we built a 38,000-square-foot comprehensive learning center in the second-poorest zip code in Philadelphia. Now in its 15th year, it’s helping thousands of children, adults, and families break the cycle of homelessness and poverty.
The odds were stacked against many of these kids. Their families facing enormous economic stresses, were rarely intact. The local schools were desperately under-resourced and performing poorly. Drugs were, and are, an all-pervading lure and the threat of violence hung over their lives.
But when they came through the Learning Center’s doors, we saw something else: the gleam in the eye of intellectual curiosity, the thirst to learn and experiment and create, the yearning to develop gifts and express themselves. We see talents, possibilities and energy.
They should have as much right to a bright future as any other children in this country. We have not and will not allow their gifts to become the collateral damage of poverty.
The Honickman Learning Center and Comcast Technology Labs would be a wonder in the wealthiest suburb, but it’s here in North Philadelphia, giving these children the chance to grow, develop, learn, and claim their future.
Sister Mary and Joan have become our cherished friends. We’ve learned so much from their capacity for a love and wisdom that compels an understanding that – “None of us are home until all of us are home.”
The Project HOME community is suffused with struggle, commitment, compassion, love and those enduring virtues succeed in insulating against the inevitable storms. That’s how strong and committed the Project HOME family is. It’s with a full heart and a few tears of joy that Harold and I tell you with great certainty that Sister Mary’s and Joan’s examples, as well as that of the entire Project HOME community that they are the spark that lights the way for all of us.