MCPS Educational Foundation Receives $10 Million Gift From Rales Foundation


The Norman R. Rales and Ruth Rales Foundation has committed to the largest ever donation to the Montgomery County Public Schools Educational Foundation. The five-year gift, totaling $10 million, will support the newly created Ruth and Norman Rales – Patricia Baier O’Neill Scholarship Recognizing Academic Excellence. Launching in the spring of 2023, this significant scholarship program will award $10,000 each to 200 of the highest-achieving graduating seniors annually from low-to-moderate income households in Montgomery County to help ease the financial burden of attending college. Eligible students will have a weighted GPA of at least 4.0 and will need to submit an essay that will be reviewed by a committee established by the Educational Foundation.

This commitment honors the legacies of Ruth and Norman Rales, whose generosity and spirit of giving lives on through the Rales Foundation and the public service of the late Patricia Baier O’Neill, the longest-serving member of the Montgomery County Board of Education. Recipients of the award will be known as Rales-O’Neill Scholars.

The Rales family has deep roots in Montgomery County and a history of philanthropic collaboration with MCPS that goes back many years. The Rales Foundation Trustees are all MCPS alumni and Walt Whitman High School graduates. The Rales Foundation’s collaboration with MCPS has included a tutoring program for second graders, a public-private partnership that brought a summer academic and enrichment program to thousands of MCPS elementary school students, and support for the expansion of the CollegeTracks program into additional county high schools. Most recently, the Foundation is supporting a partnership to bring best practices in literacy and teacher professional development into MCPS elementary schools to close the achievement gap in reading. This initiative is now in its second year and has expanded from one school to 10 schools in response to initial promising outcomes.

At the time of her death on Sept.14, 2021, Mrs. O’Neill was serving her sixth term on the Board. She served as its president five times and vice president six times. Mrs. O’Neill was a fierce champion for the students, staff and families of Montgomery County. This generous gift by the Rales Foundation solidifies that legacy.

“This contribution reflects the passion and commitment the Rales Foundation and our family have for the students of Montgomery County Public Schools and is a way to honor our parents, Ruth and Norman, as well as Pat O’Neill, who shared a deep belief in the value of education as a pathway to opportunity,” said Josh Rales, President of the Rales Foundation.

“This incredible gift is an example of how partnership supports students and represents the immense dedication of one family’s support to its community,” said Dr. Monifa B. McKnight, Interim Superintendent. “The Rales family has yet again recognized the need many of our students have and are providing heartfelt support for that need.”

“The Rales family has a long history of supporting MCPS and its students. We are very pleased to work with the Rales Foundation to facilitate their support of postsecondary education for outstanding students,” said Yolanda Pruitt, Executive Director of the Educational Foundation. “Patricia O’Neill was actively engaged in the work of the Educational Foundation, serving as the Vice-Chair for many years. She would be overjoyed to see this amazing scholarship opportunity offered to such a large number of deserving kids.”

“My daughters and I and our entire family are so appreciative of this wonderful and very special honor being given to Pat, and I know how proud she would be,” said James Richard “Rick” O’Neill, Mrs. O’Neill’s husband of 49 years.

Recent Stories

Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Services (MCFRS) responded to the 400blk of Green Pasture Dr in Rockville for the report of a fire at approximately 4pm on Monday, April 15….

“Just in time for summer, your newest tropical escape awaits!” The Gaithersburg Marriott Washingtonian Center has announced the upcoming opening of its newest concept, Tiki Bar and Grill. It is…

The Montgomery County Council issued the following new release on Tuesday, April 16:

Montgomery County Police has announced the arrest of a 46-year-old man for second-degree rape of a minor.

17th Annual Kensington Day of the Book Festival

Now in its 17th year, the Kensington Day of the Book Festival is a family-friendly street festival featuring 150+ renowned authors, poets, and literary organizations. Enjoy live music on five stages, special guest speakers, military veteran writers and comedians, poetry readings, cookbook demos, children's program, and much more.

Admission is free, and attendees will also be able to explore a marketplace of books and food offerings from local vendors.

Not your average book festival! This festival offers something for everyone!

17th Annual Kensington Day of the Book Festival

Sunday, April 21, 2024, 11am-4pm (held rain or shine!)

Howard Avenue, Kensington, MD 20895

Instagram: @kensingtonbookfestival

Contact: Elisenda Sola-Sole, Festival Director

[email protected]

301-949-9416 (text preferred)

FEST OF SPRING Caribbean Wine Food & Music Festival

Get ready to experience the vibrant colors, tantalizing flavors, and infectious rhythms of the Caribbean at the FEST OF SPRING Caribbean Wine Food & Music Festival! Hosted by RHU LLC, this exciting festival is set to take place on May 18, 2024, at the picturesque 16700 Barnesville Rd in Boyds, MD.

Step into a world where the Caribbean spirit comes alive! From 12:00 PM onwards, immerse yourself in a sensory journey that celebrates the unique culture, cuisine, and music of the Caribbean. Whether you're an African American, a Reggae or Soca music enthusiast, a wine lover, or part of the vibrant Caribbean diaspora, this festival promises to delight and captivate you in every way.

Let the enticing aromas of mouthwatering Caribbean dishes tantalize your taste buds. Feast on traditional delicacies prepared by expert chefs, showcasing the rich and diverse culinary heritage of the Caribbean. Indulge in flavorful jerk chicken, succulent seafood, and delectable plantain dishes that will transport you straight to the islands.

Accompanying the culinary extravaganza is a carefully curated selection of premium wines, ensuring the perfect pairing for your palate. Sip on fine wines from renowned vineyards, each sip a reflection of the Caribbean's vibrant spirit. Discover new flavors, expand your wine knowledge, and savor unforgettable moments with every glass.

As the sun sets, get ready to groove to the infectious rhythms of Caribbean music. Feel the pulsating beats of reggae, soca, dancehall, and calypso, moving your body to the lively melodies. Live performances by talented musicians and performers will keep the energy high, ensuring a night of unforgettable entertainment.

Don't miss this opportunity to embrace the Caribbean spirit and celebrate the arrival of spring in style! Tickets are available on AllEvents, so secure your spot today. Join us at the FEST OF SPRING Caribbean Wine Food & Music Festival, where cultures collide and unforgettable memories are made.



2 NIGHT Camping packages available: RV/CAMPER $200 | TENTS $150 Starting on Friday May 17 @ 5pm | 30 RV SPACES | 30+ TENT SPACES



Subscribe to our mailing list