Awards of Excellence

“I Had a Dream” Awards

Martin Luther King had a dream of uniting a segregated nation and its people. Barack Obama had a dream of bringing change to a discouraged nation. Oprah Winfrey dreamed of being a journalist. William and Roberta March opened their first funeral home based on a dream of starting their own business so they could afford to send their children to school.

• Martin Luther King’s dream empowered the civil rights movement and made him a symbol for peace.

• Barack Obama now leads the free world as the first African American President of the United States.

• Oprah Winfrey revolutionized daytime television.

• William and Roberta March’s dream led them to March Funeral Homes, King Memorial Park Cemetery, and several other subsidiary companies. Their companies stand as national leaders in the funeral industry and their dream to educate their own children was achieved and surpassed. They educated their children, their children’s children, and have provided over one half million dollars in scholarships to other’s deserving children.

These dreams had awesome outcomes. Did you have a dream that is now a success story? Do you know someone whose dream became a reality and now serves the larger community?

If so, contact us to nominate yourself or another dreamer for the I Had a Dream Award. Deadline for submission is July 31, 2010. Winners will be featured in the 2011 March Funeral Homes’ Community Calendar.

The Thelma March Scholarship Foundation

The Thelma March Scholarship Foundation The foundation was created in 1981 and is named for the late sister of William C. March, co-founder of March Funeral Homes, in memory of an aspiring young woman from the class of 1939. Thelma March achieved excellence in all that she did: a woman who did not succumb to circumstances but arose to her dreams. Since 1983, the Thelma March Scholarship Foundation has awarded deserving high school students of Paul Laurence Dunbar High School and Frederick Douglass High School with four-year scholarships to the colleges of their choice.

An active member of Dunbar and Douglass High Schools, Thelma was editor of the Frederick Douglass High School newspaper. She was the first to attend college in the March family and had just begun her first year at Coppin State Teacher’s College in 1939, when she died tragically in a fire. Baltimore City was so moved by the accident that friends and classmates stood in line to donate blood outside John Hopkins Hospital in an effort to save her life.

In her memory, each year one graduate from each of the schools she attended, Paul Laurence Dunbar and Frederick Douglass High School is awarded a partial scholarship towards the college institution of choice. To date, this foundation has awarded over 40-student scholarships, totaling approximately $200,000.

The Thelma March Scholarship is not only significant because of its origin and worthy cause, but it supports graduates of the first two African American schools founded in Baltimore City. As early as 1833, Paul Laurence Dunbar School and Frederick Douglass High School were segregated for colored people only. Black children had to travel from north, south, east and west, to get an education. With such a large population to educate the schools were divided by grade level. Many ninth and tenth graders attended Paul L. Dunbar and then went to Frederick Douglass for the eleventh and twelveth grades. The education provided by these historic institutions was the foundation for many prominent African American entrepreneurs, leaders and contributors to our city.

Supporting the goals of students from Baltimore's historic Black high schools has been a community partnership committment for March Funeral Homes. For more information on the Thelma March Scholarship, please contact us.

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