Those of us lucky enough to know and love David Holder are much better people for having him in our lives. David loved life. His family and friends meant the world to him and we all knew it. He lived everyday with love and passion and touched countless people in his much-too-short lifetime. He made us all better people for he set a tremendous example of how to live life to its fullest.  

David’s friendships were enduring, and he had a knack for collecting great people around him. David’s closest friends spanned the decades from his childhood days in Baltimore at the Gilman and Friends schools to his college lacrosse playing days at Cornell University. Everyone felt like they were on the right team with David by their side. 

David believed that we can all accomplish our dreams if given the opportunity, regardless of our race, ethnicity, or community. He believed that a public education should create the foundation on which a young person can build a fulfilling and successful future. 

While a law student at the University of Maryland, David coached and mentored a lacrosse team of inner-city Baltimore middle school students – a group of kids who had never seen a lacrosse stick. His commitment to these children reached beyond the four corners of the field, as he ensured that each season, they got out of the city, hit the trails along the Gunpowder River, and got a taste of nature.  

Years later, David would provide similar opportunities to students in Washington, D.C., partnering with KIPP DC to establish their first lacrosse program. KIPP  is a national network of free, open-enrollment, college-preparatory public schools with a track record of preparing students in underserved communities for success in college and in life. David was a huge supporter. He ensured that the students received brand new equipment, real coaches, and played on actual fields. He would settle for nothing less. 

As a business owner, David established an academic reward program for the children of his employees, providing incentive to succeed and a forum for recognizing achievement. David remained committed to improving educational opportunities in his hometown, serving as a board member for the Baltimore Curriculum Project, a nonprofit organization that operates public charter schools in the city, converting underperforming, high-poverty schools into high-performing charter schools. 

Each week, David, his chocolate lab, Ruby, and young son, Eli, visited patients in local nursing homes through PAL (People, Animals, Love), a pet therapy program. He was a beloved volunteer, winning the service award in 2006, because he always took the time to look each resident in the eye, ask questions, and hold their hand.  

Everyone felt special in David’s presence. He epitomized warmth and love. His spirit lives on in his wife, Liza, and both of his sons, Eli and Reed, and in all of those who knew and loved him. We miss him more than words can express.