Michael J. Ragland, Sr. Honored with Philanthropy Award

Congratulations! Michael J. Ragland, Sr., Esq. receives the Carol Thompson Lifetime Achievement Award at CFAAC’s Celebration of Philanthropy Awards Luncheon on November 17.   Listen to the Eye on Annapolis interview with Mike Ragland and Diana Davis. 

Langton Green is fortunate to have dedicated, talented leadership and is grateful for the contributions of its board members. This month’s leadership conversation is with Board Member Michael J. Ragland Sr., Esq. whose extraordinary service in the community will be honored with the Carol Thompson Lifetime Achievement Award at the annual Celebration of Philanthropy Awards Luncheon, hosted by the Community Foundation of Anne Arundel County (CFAAC). 

Mike is especially dedicated to community activities and programs that benefit children and the IDD community. His service with Civitan and on non-profit boards, such as Langton Green’s, that impact the IDD world, are his top priority. He believes that individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities are frequently stigmatized by a society that ignores their individuality and the joys they deserve and are capable of. Thanks to Mike, for example, the Langton Green Community Farm, a 13-acre sustainable farm in Millersville, Md., received grants through Annapolis Civitan for new greenhouses, gators, and other essential equipment.

Mike has a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Maryland School of Law as well as extensive training as a general and domestic mediator.  He was admitted to the Bar of the Court of Appeals of Maryland and the Bar of the United States District Court for Maryland in 1972.  In 1977, he was admitted to the Bar of the United States Supreme Court. He was formerly an attorney with Bell and Ragland, a general practice firm. In addition to his professional and volunteer service, Mike cares about education and kids. He worked as substitute teacher for Anne Arundel County public schools from 1999-2000 and taught Pragmatics.  Read more about Mike. 

Why do you believe volunteer service is important?  Do you have any role models you admire?  I believe that too many of us assume that the government will supply the services needed by our disadvantaged neighbors.  This is not true.  I believe, like Franklin Roosevelt “That to those who have been given much, much is expected.”

Which volunteer activities are especially important to you?     I’m dedicated to community activities and programs that benefit children.  My service on non-profit boards, such as Langton Green’s, and especially for those affecting the IDD world are also my top priority.  I believe that IDD individuals are frequently stigmatized by images that ignore their individuality and the joys they deserve and are capable of. I have been a member of Langton Green’s board since 2017.

How did you first get involved with Langton Green?  What do you enjoy about it? I have been a Civitan for many years. Civitans believe in being a good citizen and helping our community.  Through Civitan, I became involved with the Foundation for Children with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, Inc. which promotes organizations seeking to aid and serve those with intellectual and developmental disabilities. This of course connected me with Langton Green.

 Did you first volunteer in the community when you were growing up?    Community service in my youth was largely through the Scout program when I was growing up in Wheaton, Md.  In adulthood, I have volunteered with groups that serve the community, especially those individuals who are underserved by our government services.  I have, for example, been involved in many ways, including as secretary, with the Annapolis Civitan Club, a member of Civitan International.

What inspires you to be involved with Annapolis Civitan?   The Civitans do so much good in our communities. I am proud to work hand-in-hand with them to help those that need it most.  The Annapolis Civitan Club has been helping its community by bringing together citizens to improve the lives of our neighbors. For many years it has focused its efforts on those with developmental disabilities. The Foundation for Children with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities – Chesapeake District Civitan International, Inc. has made great strides in understanding and caring for people with developmental disabilities.

 What do you see as Langton Green’s strengths?  Langton Green is well organized and achieves an outstanding level of service to those with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Langton Green recognizes the needs of the IDD community and understands the efforts necessary to insure that group receives the governmental assistance that is available.

Looking to the future what challenges will Langton Green (and other nonprofits) face?  Most non-profits are the best kept secrets.  Few people understand that the services provided by non-profit are not automatically received by those with the greatest need.

What inspired you to study law?   I wanted to help people who had problems beyond their understanding.

What aspect of your work do you find most rewarding?  I believe it is important to always serve the underdog, once you are satisfied that they are the underdog.

Do you have a mentor who inspired you when you?  Charles W. Bell taught me to always display compassion.  A recent advertisement put it clearly: “No one cares how much you know, until they know much you care.”

Something people might be surprised to know about you?  I prefer to be the grunt working in the fox hole. I prefer to let someone else be in the limelight and be important.

Of what accomplishment are you most proud?  My family. I grew up in Wheaton, Montgomery County, Maryland and moved to Annapolis in 1974 with my wife. We raised our children in Annapolis. I have been married 54 years and raised three fine children to adulthood. I had two daughters who died from complications at birth.