Member news plus local and national philanthropic reporting

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  • June 16, 2021 6:35 PM | Philanthropy Delaware (Administrator)

    (June 14, 2021 by SEND2PRESS NEWSWIRE) Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield is a Philanthropy Delaware member. Exceptional Care for Children (ECC), Delaware’s first and only residential, pediatric skilled nursing facility, recently received a $250,000 contribution from Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield Delaware towards its future young adult center to provide specialized care for youth aging out of pediatric care.

    BluePrints for the Community, the donor-advised fund of Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield Delaware at the Delaware Community Foundation, has contributed over $21 million to the community since its inception in 2007. It was established to serve Delawareans, with emphasis on, but not limited to, the needs of the uninsured and underserved, and to reduce health care disparities in minority population and address social determinants of health.

    “Exceptional Care for Children is unique in its purpose, mission, and resident population as a whole, which sets us apart from other healthcare providers. In order to continue to meet the unique needs of our children as they age, our organization plans to construct a contiguous building on our campus that will eventually be home to our adolescents and young adults. A gift of this size is transformational for our organization and we are grateful that Highmark Delaware recognizes the growing needs of medically-fragile children and their families in our community,” said John L. White, LNHA, Executive Director of Exceptional Care for Children.

    Presently, the residents of Exceptional Care for Children must transfer out of ECC prior to their 21st birthday. To fill the healthcare gap that exists between adolescent and adulthood for medically complex individuals, ECC has launched a capital campaign to construct a 22-bed skilled nursing building on their property called the “Bridge Unit”. This building will work to ensure that there is a deliberate transition and not transfer of care for Delaware’s most fragile citizens.

    “Exceptional Care for Children has long provided quality skilled nursing for some of our most vulnerable children. We are proud to be part of their new bridge unit to continue caring for youth with unique needs and circumstances,” said Nick Moriello, President of Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield Delaware.

  • June 15, 2021 7:04 PM | Philanthropy Delaware (Administrator)

    (June 14, 2020 by Mike Rocheleau Delaware Business Times) Beebe is a Philanthropy Delaware Member. The Beebe Auxiliary gathered outdoors recently to celebrate a difficult year of fundraising for Beebe Healthcare due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

    The Auxiliary, which runs a craft group, a thrift shop beside the go-kart track at Midway, the gift shop at the Margaret H. Rollins Lewes Campus, along with many other fundraising efforts, had all of these normal avenues closed or limited for the entirety of the year.

    Still, the group was able to raise and donate $125,000 to Beebe. They presented the check and honorary memberships to David A. Tam, MD, MBA, FACHE, President & CEO, Beebe Healthcare, and Bill Chasanov, DO, infectious disease physician, VP, Chief Officer of Population Heath, Value Based Care, Physician in Chief, at the Cordrey’s East Coast Garden Center near Millsboro recently.

    “It certainly has been a difficult year for our members, but we are really proud to donate this amount during turbulent times throughout our community,” said Wendell Alfred, President of Beebe’s Auxiliary. “It was a pleasure to honor Drs. Tam and Chasanov, too, for their service to the community during the pandemic.”

    The Auxiliary’s donation will help fund the Heart and Vascular Center, which represents the renovations completed to the areas where cardiology and vascular tests are done at the Margaret H. Rollins Lewes Campus.

    “It’s such an asset for Beebe Healthcare to have a thriving Auxiliary to support us,” said David A. Tam, MD, MBA, FACHE, President & CEO, Beebe Healthcare. “I look forward to many years of partnering with the Auxiliary as they celebrate 85 years of service to our community.”

    Over the years, Beebe Auxiliary has raised millions in funds for various Beebe needs, including the Margaret H. Rollins School of Nursing, the Chapel at the medical center, the Georgetown Health Campus, two hyperbaric chambers at Beebe Wound Healing, special wheel-chairs for patients visiting the medical center and Tunnell Cancer Center, new navigational bronchoscopy equipment, and more.

    “All avenues of fundraising are so important for Beebe,” said Tom Protack, President, Beebe Medical Foundation. “The Foundation is so happy to have partners like the Auxiliary. The millions they have donated over the years has been a tremendous support to Beebe’s mission.”

  • June 15, 2021 6:04 PM | Philanthropy Delaware (Administrator)

    (June 14, 2021 By Delaware Business Now) WSFS and Highmark Bluecross BlueShield Delware are Philanthropy Delaware members. WSFS Financial Corp. announced the WSFS Foundation and the WSFS Community Foundation merger to form the WSFS Cares Foundation. 

    The WSFS Foundation, founded in 2003, was the philanthropic arm of WSFS Financial Corporation, while the WSFS Community Foundation, previously the Beneficial Bank Foundation, was founded in 2007 and joined WSFS as part of the acquisition of Beneficial Bank.

    Combining these two foundations will allow WSFS to provide even greater support to the Communities throughout the Bank’s footprint. The WSFS Cares Foundation will focus on supporting local nonprofits that provide tools for success, with its key pillars of support as follows:

    • Community investments
    • Affordable housing
    • Revitalization and business economic empowerment
    • Education and leadership development
    • Strengthening those in need

    “For nearly 200 years, WSFS has been deeply rooted in the communities we serve,” said Rodger Levenson, WSFS’s CEO. “The formation of the WSFS Cares Foundation will further enhance our efforts to improve our communities and to promote inclusion and diversity. We look forward to supporting a variety of initiatives aligned with our foundation’s pillars.”

    In 2020, the WSFS Community Foundation provided $300,000 in grants to 21 local nonprofits engaged in the fight against Covid-19, WSFS Bank, and the WSFS Community Foundation donated $35,500 to provide hundreds of technology devices to area students online learning during the pandemic. In addition, the foundations continued planned initiatives throughout the Greater Philadelphia and Delaware region, totaling more than $1.6 million in grants.

  • June 15, 2021 5:13 PM | Philanthropy Delaware (Administrator)

    (June 15, 2021 by Holly Quinn M&T Bank is a Philanthropy Delaware Member. MagnusCards uses a digital card deck to help people with banking, shopping and public transportation. It's the latest in an ongoing diversity and inclusion push from the bank with a major local presence.

    M&T Bank, a major finance-sector presence in Delaware, is launching MagnusCards by Magnusmode, a free app dedicated to accessibility for the cognitive and intellectual disability communities. It will be the first U.S bank to use the digitized “card decks” that guide users through tasks they find challenging through storytelling.

    Called its “life skills library,” M&T provides practical guidance through the card decks to help customers navigate daily tasks like using a debit card or making an ATM transaction, using applied behavior analysis methods and positive reinforcement to support experiential learning. In addition to banking tasks, the app also provides accessibility support for public transportation, shopping, healthcare, school and other everyday settings. The app can assist people with autism, Down syndrome, acquired brain injury, dementia and ADHD, among other cognitive disabilities.

    “Confusing or complex services can create barriers for people with autism and other cognitive disabilities,” said Magnusmode founder and President Nadia Hamilton in a statement. “Our assistive technology helps companies eliminate those barriers and welcome, support and enable people on the autism or disability spectrums.”

    The partnership came about thanks to the advocacy of M&T’s Disability Advocacy Network (DAN), an employee-led group that advocates for the needs of people with disabilities. The group identified MagnusCards as a potential opportunity for the bank, and guided its implementation and launch, working with M&T’s technology team, along with disabled members of the M&T community and their families.

    “The Disability Advocacy Network wanted real people involved. We didn’t want actors, but people who would directly benefit from our collaboration with Magnusmode,” said DAN member Stephanie Tisdale, a VP and strategic initiatives lead at M&T, whose 17-year old brother, Diarllo, participated in the implementation. “My brother is never one to be the center of attention, but when he heard it would help people, he was all over it. It was inspiring to see Diarllo contribute to something so important. I want my brother to have the opportunity to live independently, to be able to access the services he needs and to feel like he belongs.”

    The new partnership is part of M&T’s ongoing push, which launched in earnest in 2019, to improve diversity and inclusion, both within the company and the communities it serves. The bank also partners with Delaware-based The Precisionists, which helps to prepare people with autism for jobs. Last November, through a partnership with YWCA Delaware, it hosted “How to Be an Antiracist” author Dr. Ibram X. Kendi in a virtual event. At the base of its D&I efforts is listening to the marginalized people within the organization, M&T Chief Diversity Officer Glenn Jackson told at the time.

  • June 14, 2021 6:01 PM | Philanthropy Delaware (Administrator)

    (June 14, 2021 by Holly Quinn Delaware Division of Libraries is a Philanthropy Delaware member. Delaware Libraries offer all kinds of free events, clubs and services, from 3D printing and laser cutting to job search and entrepreneurial services. You can even have a virtual medical appointment at the library.

    It’s also still one of the best places to go for youth programming, and with summer here, it’s a good time to make use of the free coding classes for kids and teens.

    Learning to code can start as early as pre-kindergarten age; Jonathan Adly, founder of the former Coderrific Academyonce described intro-level coding as a “building block” that can be taught to young children along with reading, writing and basic math. And keep in mind that the coding many young adults today learn in first-year college classes will eventually be considered elementary school level.

    With that, consider this summer’s coding class offerings from your local library system, including a few virtual options:

    • Virtual Scratch Coding Club for kids ages 7 to 12 — Saturdays, June 19; July 10; and Aug. 21
    • Virtual Scratch Jr. for kids ages 4 to 8 and their parents — Thursday, June 24
    • Fandemonium series teaching code for video games for ages 12 to 17 — Thursday, July 22
    • Coding for teens at Milford Public Library — Monday, Aug. 23

    You can find details and registration info for coding classes, and lots of other events, on the Delaware Libraries calendar.

  • June 14, 2021 1:08 PM | Philanthropy Delaware (Administrator)

    (June 14, 2021 by Daily Independent) Bank of America is a Philanthropy Delaware member. Indigenous Mesa Community College students are beneficiaries of a $150,000 grant from Bank of America awarded through the Maricopa Community Colleges Foundation as part of the bank’s overall efforts to advance economic opportunity and racial equality.

    The grant makes emergency funding available to MCC students for the spring and fall 2021 semesters, allows for the development of virtual programming to inform and interact with students online, and provides educational stipends for university transfers, according to a release.

    “The economic needs in tribal communities continue to be a challenge that we, as a society, need to address,” Benito Almanza, Arizona president for Bank of America, said in the release. “These challenges have been further exacerbated by the coronavirus, and there is an urgent need to invest in tribal education, as well as native-owned small businesses and health care - to help mitigate some of the enormous economic and health risks these communities currently face and open doors to greater racial equality and economic opportunity.”

    Many indigenous students are still reeling from job loss in their family, death and illness of loved ones and social unrest. To help, $60,000 is dedicated to providing emergency funding to support up to 120 students — $500 each per semester. Funds may be used for necessities such as food, transportation, technology needs and textbooks.

    Marina J. Notah, a Navajo tribal member, received support to complete this semester.

    “Upon receiving the news that I was receiving support, I was ecstatic because it meant that my internet bill would be covered for the rest of the semester. I am one step closer to becoming a marine biologist,” Notah said in the release.

    Zoe Irwin, a member of the Rosebud Sioux tribe, received support to enroll in classes for the fall semester.

    “Thanks to the Bank of America grant I am able to continue to move forward in working towards my Speech-Language Pathology degree,” Irwin said.

    An MCC American Indian Institute virtual program is being developed for indigenous students with $36,000 of the funds. The program will help students stay engaged with their studies, connect to each other and the campus community through online events and activities supporting college success.

    “Bank of America’s commitment and dedication to supporting the needs of indigenous MCC students is making a direct and transformational impact on their ability to complete their educational journeys,” Jim Larney, MCC American Indian Institute director, said in the release. “We know in working with our students even prior to the pandemic, that their basic needs are often not met and that transferring to a university to earn a higher degree is often hindered because of the lack of financial resources.”

    Indigenous students make up 3.4% of the MCC student body. This additional funding means that indigenous students completing an associate’s degree at MCC in 2021 may be eligible to receive $2,000 to continue their studies at a university.

    The initiative is one of the many ways MCC is able to fulfill its strategic priorities and values of diversity, equity and inclusion. Additionally, it addresses the MCCCD strategic commitments to build a thriving community through access and student success, and to be a driving force for economic and workforce development in Arizona, the release states.

    “In this time of great pivots, we all are navigating through challenges with innovation and creativity,” Christos Chronis, MCC chief development officer, said in the release. “Bank of America has been an outstanding partner, investing in the lives of indigenous students so they can grow, learn, and thrive. We are truly appreciative of their support and partnership.”

    To participate, students must be affiliated with an indigenous tribe, enrolled in at least three credit hours at MCC, pursuing a certificate or degree, and have a minimum of a 2.0 GPA (on a 4.0 scale). Students receiving emergency funding are required to attend a minimum of three AII-hosted workshops or become an active member in an MCC student club such as the Inter-Tribal Student Organization, or the American Indian Science and Engineering Society.

    Learn more about the American Indian Institute at MCC at

  • June 02, 2021 9:18 AM | Philanthropy Delaware (Administrator)

    (June 1, 2021 by Dan Parks, President Biden’s first budget proposal calls for a big boost in domestic spending to help low-income people while proposing certain tax increases that could boost incentives for charitable giving, experts say.

    Nonprofits advocates — also noting the absence of an effort to limit the value of itemized deductions, including contributions to charity — generally gave the budget plan high marks.

    Michael Nilsen, vice president of communications and public policy at the Association of Fundraising Professionals, noted in an emailed statement that Biden’s budget proposes increasing the capital-gains tax on the wealthy, plus changes to estate taxes that “could cause heirs to incur significant capital-gains taxes.”

    Nilsen added: “These increases could create a strong incentive for some taxpayers to contribute property or shares of stock to charity, as we know that tax and financial incentives play a key role in giving decisions as the amount of money involved gets larger.”

    In an analysis that will publish later Tuesday, the National Council of Nonprofits notes that the budget calls for a 16 percent increase in domestic spending. David Thompson, vice president for public policy at the council, said that such strong growth in domestic spending likely would mean extra revenue for nonprofits that contract with the government to provide services to poor and low-income people.

    The council also praised the budget and associated documents for proposing to make “permanent several temporary tax provisions, including the expanded Earned Income Tax Credit, the Premium Tax Credit, the Child Tax Credit, and the Child and Dependent Care Credit.”

    However, Thompson expressed disappointment that the budget does not call for an extension of a tax deduction available to people who don’t itemize their tax returns.

  • June 01, 2021 3:20 PM | Philanthropy Delaware (Administrator)

    (June, 1 2021 by Holly Quinn, Business owners of color received significantly more emergency Paycheck Protection Program funding in 2021 than they did in 2020, when just 12% of applicants of color received what they asked for, and as many as 95% of Black-owned businesses across the board were effectively shut out for being non-employer firms.

    The second round of PPP, which launched in January 2021, contained changes that were aimed at making the aid accessible to minority-owned businesses. For instance, the first loans went through community banks more likely to have relationships with business owners of color, and they opened up eligibility to smaller businesses, businesses without employees, and contractors. Some banks, like M&T, accepted applications from business owners who had never done business with them previously, which took down a major barrier for businesses that had no bank loan for their business.

    Small business platform Womply, which says it facilitated 27% of all minority loans in 2021, including 981 PPP loans for minority-owned businesses in Delaware, has released a report on the impact of PPP on minority-owned businesses that shows a marked increase in 2021.

    “Minority,” in the report’s data, is comprised of Black, Hispanic and Latino, North America Indigenous/Alaska Native and Hawaii Native/Pacific Islander.

    Graph of PPP loan data

    Graph of PPP loan data. Screenshot)

    While the data has much improved for minority-owned businesses between the first and second rounds, with minority access doubling in four months from January to April 2021, the initial numbers were so low that doubling it still leaves many businesses without needed funding. Within its process, Womply identified 2,364 minority-owned businesses in Delaware that are still in need of PPP.

    That tracks with Womply’s national findings that, for every one PPP loan that goes to a minority-owned business, there are two such businesses that need it but are denied.

    The report concluded that another $50 million of PPP loans would be required to fund all eligible businesses, including 1.2 million minority owned businesses.

  • June 01, 2021 3:04 PM | Philanthropy Delaware (Administrator)

    (May 25, 2021 by Press Release) The Food Bank of Delaware announced today that the Swank Family Foundation has donated $356,000 to support the expansion of the Food Bank of Delaware’s Milford branch.

    Last night, Milford City Council voted in favor for a conditional use and preliminary site plan approval, enabling the anti-hunger organization to purchase 11.5 acres of property in the Independence Commons Business Park off Delaware Veterans Boulevard. Pictured to the right, Food Bank of Delaware Board Chair, Andy Larmore, and Food Bank of Delaware President and CEO, Cathy Kanefsky, show off the notarized sales agreement with the City of Milford making the purchase official.

    Initial plans call for the construction of a 3,000-square-foot building to house the Food Bank of Delaware’s Healthy Pantry Center and up to a 60,000-square-foot warehouse/workforce training space in upcoming phases.

    The new property is less than a mile away from the Food Bank’s current 16,000-square-foot facility on Mattlind Way.

    “While we have seen the need for food assistance rise as a result of the COVID-19 crisis, demands for food in Kent and Sussex Counties were growing even prior to the pandemic,” said Food Bank of Delaware President and CEO Cathy Kanefsky. “Additional warehouse and cold storage capacity is needed so we can effectively serve our neighbors in Kent and Sussex Counties who are struggling with food insecurity. We are thrilled to announce this generous lead gift made by the Swank Family Foundation as we share our plans for this exciting project.”

    Ed Goldenberg, President of the Swank Family Foundation, stated, “We are pleased to provide the Food Bank of Delaware with support to increase services Kent and Sussex County residents. This is not a typical Swank Family Foundation grant but 2020-21 wasn’t a typical year. The Board feels confident that Delawareans who live with neurological diseases and their families are among those who will benefit from the Food Bank’s expansion.”

    Construction will begin on the new Healthy Pantry Center later in 2021 with an early 2022 opening. Design and construction of the new warehouse/workforce training space will continue through 2022 with an anticipated opening in 2023.

  • June 01, 2021 12:12 PM | Philanthropy Delaware (Administrator)

    (June 1, 2020 by Press Release) Bank of America is a Philanthropy Delaware Member. The Texas Tech University (TTU) School of Veterinary Medicine (SVM) is receiving $350,000 in gift funds from Bank of America to build and support a new world-class school of veterinary medicine to address the region’s growing shortage of veterinary resources.

    The new 185,000 square-foot, two-story facility will enroll its first students later this year. Once fully implemented over the years ahead, the School anticipates more than 450 veterinary and graduate students. While the veterinary curriculum is firmly focused on general veterinary practice in rural and regional communities, the graduate program will produce scientists who provide solutions to the world’s most pressing problems.

    “Our facilities are truly world class. They will be a fantastic academic home for our students, staff and faculty,” said Guy Loneragan, dean of the School of Veterinary Medicine. “We are so thankful that our community, the region as a whole and Bank of America have made these facilities and our programs a reality. This gift will contribute to a premier space for students and support critical programs and recruitment efforts across the region.”

    The project is estimated to generate more than $75 million annually for the region and create nearly 375 new jobs. Located in the region that is responsible for nearly a quarter of the country’s beef, the School’s programs and research components will support sustainability efforts in the livestock industry. The School’s unique geographic placement will enable it to serve as the closest veterinary school for students in five states that support large-animal agriculture and all face veterinary shortages.

    “Amarillo is a very special community, and everyone here knows how important quality animal care is to our economy,” said Amarillo Mayor Ginger Nelson. “This school gives Amarillo a competitive advantage and opens the doorway to a wide array of opportunities for students, farmers, researchers and so many more.”

    The SVM’s mission can be distilled to supporting the veterinary service and educational needs of rural and regional communities, and to provide access to an affordable world-class education. To achieve this mission, the School is implementing a three-pronged strategy based on targeted admissions, curricular focus, and experiential learning. In terms of the admission process, the School is preferentially recruiting and admitting students with deep life experiences rooted in rural and regional communities across Texas and New Mexico. This includes many underserved communities with a substantial Latino population. This is an important part of the fabric of Texas that has been traditionally underrepresented in veterinary medicine.

    To meet its mission more effectively, the school is implementing programs to enhance cultural competency. These will inform approaches, for example, to more effectively recruit students in communities on Texas’ southern border, refine the admissions process to identify students with tremendous potential but who might not have had the opportunity to attend pre-veterinary programs at larger comprehensive universities, or to design educational models to help veterinary students develop Spanish competency to effectively communicate with clients or animal care givers for whom English is a second language. The School’s cultural competency initiatives are funded in part by the Bank of America gift and the SVM Cultural Competency Council will be led by Drs. Arlene Garcia and László Hunyadi.

    “The Texas Tech University’s School of Veterinary Medicine will serve as a social and economic anchor for Amarillo, the region and our state. The groundbreaking research and teaching on animal and human interface will benefit all societies and animal well-being,” said W. Ashley Allen, President Bank of America Amarillo. “Our philanthropic investment will pay dividends for years to come, supporting economic mobility and bolstering rural jobs for the region.”

    This anchor gift is Bank of America’s largest gift in the region to date and comes as part of its focus on advancing economic mobility by supporting nonprofit organizations serving education and workforce, community development and basic needs.

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