Member news plus local and national philanthropic reporting

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  • January 13, 2021 3:08 PM | Philanthropy Delaware (Administrator)

    (January 11, 2020 by Martin Levin NPQ) - When those with wealth announce new initiatives, they make headlines. They often want to step in to find solutions that governments, nonprofit organizations, and the private sector have failed to deliver. Their objectives are noble—and if successful, they can improve the lives of millions.

    But the ability to make large investments brings with it a degree of power and influence that makes big donors a class unto themselves. In 2012, Paul Brest, the former president of the Hewlett Foundation, observed that this trend put donors and their foundations into the place of “architects, general contractors, or engineers,” with work that “often verges on the operational.”

    As a practical matter, only a foundation staffed with experts in a field can undertake this work. During the past decade, foundations played increasingly active and visible problem-solving roles by building fields, brokering collaborative arrangements, and supporting systems change and advocacy.

    At a time when public budgets are already strained, large infusions of money that aim to cure disease, improve education, reduce hunger, combat the climate crisis, stem poverty, or heal community conflict would seem beyond reproach. If a philanthropist wants to invest $100 million or $1 billion in any of these areas, rather than buy a private island, how can we argue?

    In 2006, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation targeted a new effort to reduce hunger in Africa by improving how local farmers worked their fields. They imagined they could help transform the traditional approaches that were leaving millions starving. The foundation has become the major funder of a $1-billion effort embodied in the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA).

    According to Jan Urhahn, who heads the Food Sovereignty Program at the Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung’s Southern Africa Office in Johannesburg, AGRA came to life with a clear and dramatic vision. He writes in Jacobin that it “set out to double the agricultural yields and incomes of 30 million smallholder households, thereby halving both hunger and poverty in 20 African countries by 2020.”

    AGRA’s approach reflects the thinking of its donors. Gates, relying on the Western business models from which its own resources were harvested, believes hunger reduction comes from agricultural improvement, and that this requires governments “to invest public resources into modernization of the rural sector…for a critical mass of smallholders to transition from subsistence to commercially-oriented farm enterprises, supported by the increasing presence of the private sector.”

    The resulting growth in productivity generates marketable surpluses and increased farm income that has been shown to spur significant additional growth in the rural non-farm economy through expanded business opportunities for transporting, trading, processing, and retailing farm surpluses; increased demand for local goods and services from better-off farm households; and by the real-income boost to all consumers delivered through lower food prices…

    While this potentially virtuous cycle remains subject to volatility, especially in contexts of shifting policies and variable weather patterns, it remains the central process by which productivity growth has been shown to drive rural poverty reduction through increased off-farm value-addition, employment, and income generation, as well as through lower food costs.

    In practical terms, AGRA’s efforts worked to recreate the industrial agricultural approach of the West. They urged the governments of AGRA partners to create farm input subsidy programs (FISPs). As Urhahn details, “Farmers are expected to purchase the seeds—mostly hybrid—and synthetic fertilizers promoted by AGRA. The state subsidies for small farms provide an incentive to introduce the bundle of farming technologies AGRA counts as part of its Green Revolution. FISPs have been introduced on a significant scale in ten of AGRA’s thirteen ‘focus countries,’ including Ethiopia, Kenya, Mali, Rwanda, Zambia, and Tanzania.” Food production was steered away from traditional food crops and toward those the program favors, and to using seeds and farming techniques approved by AGRA—more or less the opposite of what a philosophy of regenerative agriculture would recommend.

    After 14 years, outside observers tell a story of AGRA’s failure. A consortium of organizations looked at the available public data and concluded in a report entitled False Promises that these strategies haven’t worked and hurt many small farmers:

    • “In countries in which AGRA operates, there has been a 30 percent increase in the number of people suffering hunger, a condition affecting 130 million people in the 13 AGRA focus countries.”
    • “Minimal reduction in rural poverty or hunger…poverty and hunger remained staggeringly high…”
    • “Further erosion of food security and nutrition for poor small-scale food producers where Green Revolution incentives for priority crops drove land use towards maize and away from more nutritious and climate-resilient traditional crops like millet and sorghum. While seeds for traditional crops were formerly easy and cheap to get hold of via farmers exchange, the farmers now have to pay for seeds of “priority crops.”
    • Strong evidence of negative environmental impacts, including acidification of soils under monoculture cultivation with fossil fuel based synthetic fertilizers.”

    In sum, they found “little evidence of significant increases in the incomes or food security of small-scale food producers.”

    The role of the Gates Foundation in this effort is clear—its power to shape direction and strategy is evident. That its initiative has not worked is part of the risk that comes with innovation. More troubling, though, is that in any public sense, “AGRA fails to be accountable.”

    It has not published an overall evaluation of the impact of its programs. It presents no reliable estimates of the number of small-scale food producer households reached, improvements in their yields, household net incomes or food security, or its progress in achieving its own ambitious goals. Similarly, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which provided more than half of AGRA’s funding, remains silent. This lack of accountability and oversight is astounding for a program that drove the region’s agricultural development policies with its narrative of technology-driven input-intensive methods for so long.

    Sue Desmond-Hellmann, Gates Foundation CEO, says, “The world won’t get better by itself. We must set big goals and hold ourselves accountable every step of the way.” But is self-accountability enough when the lives of so many people are at risk? At a moment when a small group of fabulously wealthy men and women can mix their own beliefs with their money to steer efforts that lives depend on, we must grapple more directly and forcefully with this critical question.

    Donors may agree with the Gates Foundation when it asserts it does its “work in collaboration with grantees and other partners, who join with us in taking risks, pushing for new solutions, and harnessing the transformative power of science and technology.”

    We strive to engage with our grantees and partners in a spirit of trust, candid communication, and transparency. Our collective efforts also depend on the support and resources of governments, the private sector, communities, and individuals.

    But, as Urhahn notes, that belief is not universally held: “Many social movements, experts, and NGOs…insist that hunger isn’t a problem of production—rather, it’s rooted in the unequal distribution of power resources and control over agricultural inputs such as land and seeds.” Yet the wealth of a large donor may block the ability to hear and learn from these voices.

    In an era when so many well-meaning but self-directed wealthy people are turning to philanthropy and public interest investing, building in accountability is vital. But who ensures donors will be held accountable? When charity comes to control public policy, the public’s interest cannot be entrusted to private parties.

  • January 13, 2021 2:32 PM | Philanthropy Delaware (Administrator)

    (January 11, 2020 Holly Quinn - Applications are open again for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), giving small businesses another opportunity to receive financial relief, whether they received and spent their first round fund or were unable to get funding last time.

    Yes, sole proprietorships, independent contractors, partnerships and LLCs without employees are eligible for PPP funds. If you need assistance applying, contact the Delaware Small Business Association or find local assistance using the SBA assistance map.

    This time around, in order to give less of an advantage to big businesses, community banks get first draw. Fortunately, Delaware has plenty of them to choose from.

    Here are some of the smaller financial institutions you might consider, which have indicated on their websites that they’re participating in this round of PPP:

    • Artisans’ Bank
    • Del One Credit Union 
    • First Citizens Community Bank
    • Franklin Mint Credit Union
    • Fulton Bank, National Association
    • WSFS (A Philanthropy Delaware Member)

    To explore other local banking options, including whether they’re small business lenders, check out this BankLocal tool.

  • January 11, 2021 3:27 PM | Philanthropy Delaware (Administrator)

    (January 5, 2020 by Mike Rocheleau Delaware Business Times) - Through the generosity of the Lisa Dean Moseley Foundation of Wilmington, the American Cancer Society received a $792,000 grant to fund Dr. Weibo Luo’s groundbreaking breast cancer research at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. The research seeks to better understand breast cancer stem cells at the molecular level using a combination of biochemical and genetic approaches in regulating the HIF oxygen pathway. The project has the potential to provide new strategies for preventing cell growth and metastasis in all types of cancer by better understanding the role of the ZMYMD8 protein and its effect on stem cell survival. This study could uncover a novel approach for preventing the devastation and certain death of breast cancer metastasis.

    COVID-19 has posed a serious challenge to the American Cancer Society’s ability to fund research.  Due to the pandemic, the Society, the largest nonprofit funder of cancer research outside the federal government, is facing a reduction to cancer research funding by 50 percent this year

    “It is an honor for me and my laboratory to receive the research grant award from the American Cancer Society,” said Dr. Weibo Luo, Assistant Professor in the Departments of Pathology and Pharmacology at UT Southwestern Medical Center in a statement. “I am grateful to the Lisa Dean Moseley Foundation for selecting this project to fund.  The Foundation’s support will help us expand our breast cancer research program at the University of Texas Southwestern. This award will greatly aid our ongoing breast cancer research and facilitate discoveries in breast cancer etiology and treatment. With the generous support from the American Cancer Society and the Lisa Dean Moseley Foundation, we hope that our research can discover a therapeutic target to better treat breast cancer in patients.”

    “Dr. Luo’s research will focus on the origins and treatment of breast cancer and its metastasis by studying stem cells in targeted environments. This basic and important research is closely aligned with the mission of the Lisa Dean Moseley Foundation,” said William J. Martin, Secretary-Treasurer of the Moseley Foundation in a statement. “Mrs. Moseley established the Foundation with the principal goal of funding crucial scientific research that will make a difference in people’s lives. Partnering with the American Cancer Society to support its 2020 Cancer Research Funding Challenge reflects the Lisa Dean Moseley Foundation’s ongoing commitment to funding innovative stem cell research, particularly during a time when laboratories nationwide have been forced to adapt to the challenges posed by the pandemic.”

    “Even as we face a global pandemic, it is critically important not to let our momentum slow as we pursue promising answers that have enormous potential to save lives from cancer,” said Bill Phelps PhD, Sr. Vice President, Extramural Discovery Science. “We are grateful for our partnership with the Lisa Dean Moseley Foundation and for their continued dedication to help change the lives of cancer patients now and for generations to come.”

    This gift is in support of the Society’s 2020 Cancer Research Funding Challenge, which was launched this summer to steward and protect our cancer research program. This initiative and the leadership gift from the Lisa Dean Moseley Foundation will help fill the gap in our revenue and allow us to continue to invest in research that is so critical to future advances in understanding and reducing the devastating impact of cancer.

  • January 06, 2021 11:39 PM | Philanthropy Delaware (Administrator)

    (December 16, 2020 by Tanya Barrientos and Norris West - Anti-racism is trendy. Organizations of every size and stripe have communicated their commitment to equity, inclusion, and justice through emails and public declarations on social media and on their websites. And that’s a good thing, isn’t it?

    Yes and no.

    Yes, it’s essential for nonprofits and foundations to communicate about racism — clearly and courageously. But without a strong understanding of how to authentically communicate about diversity, equity, and inclusion, there is a danger that the terms will become nothing more than hazy principles and hollow values.

    For far too long, foundations and nonprofits have avoided the difficult work of creating communication practices aimed directly at dismantling discriminatory obstacles that harm the people and communities they serve. And scrambling to hop onto the anti-racism bandwagon now by sprinkling a few empty buzzwords into institutional messaging is not the answer.

    Knowing how to honestly talk about race and racism has vexed leaders and communications professionals of the almost always white-led social sector. Foundations and nonprofits with admirable missions to do good, to be allies, and to help communities thrive have for decades communicated in ways that convey the opposite.

    Communicators in our field have the power and the responsibility to counteract inherent bias in our society. But we’re not really sure how to do it. Or we never have worked hard enough to combat the flawed thinking that hinders our efforts to forge the future we wish to create.

    The words and images we use matter. Throughout American history, language and images have shaped public opinion in overt, subtle, and divisive ways, projecting negative portrayals of Black people and other racial groups.

    Need for a Shared Vocabulary

    The reactions to protests for racial justice across America this year have underscored the deep discomfort our society has in addressing race and racism. Some of that discomfort comes from the polarization we experience across identity, belief, and geography. More comes from the absence of a shared and useful vocabulary to discuss what is arguably the most persistent and important issue facing our nation.

    What if organizations aiming to do good used communications in ways that advanced narratives and images of the society we want to see?

    What if we committed ourselves to communicating with words that are less incendiary and more illuminating, telling stories that honestly examine our history and propel us to make our nation’s future better?

    What if our communications practices could be effective in conveying facts while also recognizing the shared humanity and aspirations of all people?

    Two years ago, the Communications Network accepted that challenge and began to develop a tool kit to guide everyone interested in improving how they communicate about diversity, equity, and inclusion. We embarked on this project to help leaders, communicators, writers, editors, designers, developers, planners, producers, and speakers treat every racial group with respect in their meetings, and their messaging without falling into the traps of bromides and jargon.

    We believed it was essential to build these tools on a firm foundation of academic research and to make them easy to use.

    First we needed to know what resources already existed. Gramercy Research Group scanned the landscape for DEI literature and resources and examined the current state of racial-equity communications among foundations and nonprofits. We surveyed our 2,000-member organization online, conducted interviews of leaders in the social sector, and reviewed the practices our members’ organizations were using.

    What we learned was informative but not particularly surprising: There was a dearth of specific guidance available and lots of confusion.

    According to our survey, 56 percent of the communications professionals serving at foundations or nonprofits said diversity, equity, and inclusion were not significant components of their organization’s communications strategy. Nearly six in 10 said they did not have a strong understanding of DEI concepts.

    Our research also found that organizations’ definitions of DEI were all over the map. And there’s a serious lack of data and metrics on the effectiveness of communicating about racial equity.

    Why ‘Colorblind’ Approaches Fail

    Even more troubling, many organizations have adopted “colorblind” framing that avoids pointing out, or even mentioning, obvious differences in culture and experiences in an effort to avoid tension instead of acknowledging and celebrating the qualities of every culture.

    To help, we produced a new, evidence-based report that examines the current state of communicating equity. And we built a web-based tool kit that includes guidance and case studies to serve as inspiration and a resource.

    The tool kit offers plain-spoken tips such as:

    • Take a closer look at your branding. Do you portray your organization as a savior, a partner, or a bridge?
    • In your messaging and imagery, are you showcasing the strengths and aspirations of the people you serve, or are you highlighting their deficits?
    • Do your promotional materials reflect reality, or are they a cherry-picked version of your organization’s racial identity? Orchestrating a facade of diversity is a glaring example of tokenism.
    • Communicating data that only emphasizes disparities and poor outcomes to donors may increase contributions, but it advances biased stereotypes and does not portray people honestly.

    Of course, we know this project is not the final word on how to bring the practice of diversity, equity, and inclusion into communications work across the social sector. But it is a modest and, we hope, a solid starting point.

    It’s time for all of us to stop feeling uncomfortable with — or perhaps more accurately, to face the discomfort of — communicating about the systemic injustices baked into our society. So let’s educate ourselves and start flexing new muscles. Because at this point in our nation’s history ignoring the need for real change is irresponsible. And neglecting to act is simply malpractice.

  • January 06, 2021 12:34 PM | Philanthropy Delaware (Administrator)

    (January 5, 2020 by Jacob Owens Delaware Business Times) - Delaware State University is a Philanthropy Delaware Member. While most businesses will likely look back at 2020 as a year to forget, Delaware State University (DSU) will remember it as a record-setting year of successes and growth.

    The state’s historically Black university appointed a new president, Tony Allen, on Jan. 1 and the longtime educator, businessman and activist was quickly tested less than three months later with the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus.

    His administration was successful in keeping its Tier 2 research labs operating through the pandemic while also switching academic instruction online in less than a week. With help from outside funding sources, DSU also partnered with Testing for America, an emerging nonprofit, to set up a robust testing program for students and faculty that administered 37,000 COVID tests over the fall 2020 semester, finding a less than 0.5% positivity rate.

    The year saw DSU bring in a record-breaking fundraising haul of about $41 million in philanthropic donations, including a record single donation of $20 million from billionaire philanthropist MacKenzie Scott. Other donors included corporate partners, like Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase, as well as nonprofits like The Longwood Foundation and newcomers like social media platform TikTok. On top of that sum, the university also obtained about $26 million in research awards.

    As if those moving parts weren’t enough, DSU made the decision last summer to acquire neighboring, cash-strapped Wesley College and incorporate its offerings and students into its curriculum. It also hosted a series of panel discussions for the public during the height of racial unrest in America in the same timeframe.

    “I knew Delaware State had a good story, but just not enough storytellers,” Allen recently told Delaware Business Times, explaining that the growing spotlight was a deliberate strategy throughout the university’s ranks.

    It’s obvious that Allen has brought DSU to the masses, and he’s now taken the lead role in planning President-elect Joe Biden’s Inauguration on Jan. 20 – he’s a friend and former speechwriter for Biden. Allen also appeared on national TV shows this year to discuss programs affecting the university or HBCUs at large, including announcing the Testing for America plan on NBC’s “Today” show.

    “The time has come for Delaware State University. We’ve been building to this moment,” said Devona Williams, the chair of the university’s board of trustees, noting that Allen is building upon a strong foundation laid by predecessors like Harry Williams and Wilma Mishoe. “Dr. Allen is the icing on the cake. What he brings to this role is the business knowledge, as well as the academic experience and being an innovator.”

    Building upon the discussions around race this past summer, Allen wrote to about two dozen heads of major corporations about how HBCUs could be part of the solution.

    To you, our potential partners in the boardrooms around the nation, I argue that large and small HBCUs should not be thought of only at moments of crisis, but as institutions whose inherent value proposition is second to none,” he wrote to Apple CEO Tim Cook in August. “Let’s turn this moment into a movement.”

    The work isn’t nearly done for Allen even after a record year. DSU is currently working on its strategic plan, but Allen said that he hopes to double the university’s roughly 5,000-student enrollment in the next seven years.

    “We think our graduate student portfolio, which grew about 30% this year, is a significant growth driver for us,” he said, noting gains can also be made with international, online, and early college high school students. “We think we’re a 10,000-student school.”

  • January 06, 2021 10:31 AM | Philanthropy Delaware (Administrator)

    (January 5, 2020 by Holly Quinn - JPMorgan Chase is a Philanthropy Delaware Member. The hospitality industry may not be the most stable during the COVID-19 pandemic. But The Warehouse, in partnership with the Buccini/Pollin Group (BPG) and JPMorgan Chase, is looking to the future with its new Teens in Motion: Hospitality workforce development program.

    Tyler Akin, chef-partner of Le Cavalier in the Hotel du Pont, will be the coordinator of the hospitality internship track of the program, which he developed alongside his BPG partners at the Hotel du Pont in response to the negative impact he saw COVID-19 having on career advancement opportunities in hospitality.

    “While restaurants are facing historic challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic, we feel strongly that American dining culture will bounce back — along with the vibrant job market it creates,” Akin said in a statement. “With Teens in Motion, we aim to share the tools for Delaware’s next generation of culinary leaders to find success and meaning in their work.”

    Wilmington-born Akin, will mentor two-thirds of the interns in the program and will work with BPG to develop the curriculum and procure and vet candidates, who will be placed within partnering restaurants.

    The program will serve up to 25 teens every quarter in 90-day increments (up to 100 teens a year) and will include soft skills training in addition to restaurant and hospitality training. After completion of the first session of Teens in Motion, there will be eight-week paid internships available across BPG’s restaurant establishments and their tenant partners, currently including Le Cavalier, Bardea and Stitch House.

    Teens will then be ready for employment at either The Warehouse or with an external partner or employer.

    “We have been so inspired by The Warehouse and the work they are doing for our city’s teens,” said Sarah Lamb, VP of design and marketing and coordinator of BPG Cares, the real estate developer’s community outreach initiative. “We wanted to align with them on programming and thought that a hospitality training initiative, and Chef Tyler Akin’s passion to bring opportunity to the youth in his industry, would be a great way to get involved.”

    The Warehouse, part of REACH Riverside, is a nonprofit in Northeast Wilmington serving city youth. Teens aged 13 to 19 interested in the Teens in Motion program can register The Warehouse’s RecDesk platform.

  • December 30, 2020 12:30 PM | Philanthropy Delaware (Administrator)
    (December 22, 2020 by Abby Schulz - Many donors want to make grants to organizations on the front lines of fighting for racial justice and equity in the wake of protests sparked in the spring after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. 

    As a result, money has poured into organizations fighting for racial equity. Overall, US$12.1 billion has been granted to racial equity nonprofits so far this year, according to the latest figures from Candid.

    Of that total, US$1.4 billion was granted by individuals, 80% of which, or US$1.12 billion, solely by MacKenzie Scott, the author and ex-wife of founder Jeff Bezos. Scott’s grants, in fact, account for more than 9% of all racial equity funding this year, according to Candid. 

    Individual donations don’t include independent foundations, which represent private and family giving vehicles, which gave a total of US$2 billion, Candid says. Also, community foundations, which include donor-advised funds for individuals, granted US$58.9 million to racial equity this year.  

    The issue for many individual donors is they don’t know where to begin. That’s in part because groups often doing the most effective work are small, grassroots organizations that may fly under the radar of most donors, or don’t fit the criteria donors have used in the past for selecting nonprofits for funding. 

    As a result, most nonprofits in a position to address racial inequities are underfunded.

    “When you look at patterns of wealth and income inequality that impact individuals and families by racial and ethnic groups, that same gap exists in nonprofit organizations,” says Dianne Chipps Bailey, Bank of America Private Bank’s national philanthropic strategy executive. 

    That is, nonprofits led by racially diverse individuals who are serving those communities “tend to be undercapitalized, and then are more vulnerable to closure at a time when many are understanding how important these organizations are because they are proximate to the issues philanthropy is desiring to advance,” Bailey says.

    For donors, it creates an “interesting opportunity for self awareness and reflection,” and to be “really strategic about their giving in ways that create positive impact, but also can be a lifeline to the sector,” she says. 

    Bailey’s group at Bank of America Private Bank put out a guide this year for donors new to giving to racial equity that begins with seeking out and prioritizing organizations and individuals most affected by racial inequities, according to the guide. 

    It’s also important to become educated on the issues and needs of these communities, but to do so in a way that doesn’t burden already under-resourced organizations. “Don’t rely on them to educate you about race-related issues,” the guide said, and consider compensating groups for their time and information.

    One effective strategy favored by Bailey is to provide funding to local giving circles, which pool resources from several sources to provide high-impact gifts in their communities. 

    “The reason [giving circles] are aligned with racial-justice giving goals is because many of these organizations are identity-based and hyper-local,” Bailey says. “They are the boots-on-the-ground philanthropists that know their communities and what they need.”

    Historically, nonprofits led by Black, Latinx, Asian American, Pacific Islander, and Native American individuals not only get less money than groups led by white individuals, the grants they do receive often include more restrictions, according to the guide. 

    For example, Black communities and organizations have 45% less revenue than groups led by whites, while Latinx communities and organizations receive only 1.3% of philanthropic dollars despite representing 18% of the population, the guide said. 

    Given this disparity, Bank of America recommends donors consider shifting their granting criteria to bring in smaller organizations, and to “remove any unnecessary logistical, technical, or technological barriers to requesting funding.” Instead of requiring an organization to fill out an application, for example, seek out the information needed through publicly available sources, including tax filings.

    “Many funders would be surprised by the level of information that’s in an audit and in a Form 990,” Bailey said, referring to an Internal Revenue Service filing required of tax-exempt organizations. 

    Also, Bailey suggests donors provide unrestricted funding—giving nonprofits the freedom to direct dollars to where they are needed most—and to recognize that the problems these groups are addressing won’t be wiped out overnight. The average grant, Bailey notes, is US$50,000 over 18 months.

    “These problems are hundreds of years in the making,” she says. “The idea we could unwind [them] within a typical grant cycle of one-to-three years is naive.”

  • December 30, 2020 10:04 AM | Philanthropy Delaware (Administrator)

    (December 28, 2020, by Delaware Business Times) Beebe Medical Foundation presented a gift of $20,504 to Beebe Healthcare’s Oncology Services for their Cancer Patient Special Needs Fund. Gifts were made by over 270 community members during the annual Miracle Mile event held on June 27 and continued to be made to the Foundation throughout the year.

    The fund assists individual patients who have limited financial resources and need help in covering emergent expenses such as prescriptions or copays for medications, medical supplies (e.g., wigs, mastectomy prosthesis), nutrition, essential living expenses, and transportation. Without the availability of this fund, patients would not have access to their basic needs while undergoing cancer treatments.

    “The Miracle Mile event is all about hope,” said David A. Tam, President and CEO of Beebe Healthcare in a statement. “Hope for our community of cancer patients and survivors, hope for the end of the COVID-19 pandemic, and hope for the future as Beebe strives to provide the most advanced and compassionate care at the Tunnell Cancer Center and the new South Coastal Cancer Center near Millville.”

    For 17 years, Beebe Healthcare’s Tunnell Cancer Center has hosted a celebration to honor cancer survivors and their caregivers with a 1 mile walk on the boardwalk. The Miracle Mile, a morning full of commemoration, music, food, and festivities, has become a staple in the community, but with the global pandemic, things looked different this year. Participants drove the Miracle Mile through Hudson Fields. The 1-mile drive was lined with messages of hope and enthusiastic supporters who cheered everyone on. The 2020 Miracle Mile was a true testament to the community’s strength, solidarity, and resilience.

  • December 28, 2020 11:41 AM | Philanthropy Delaware (Administrator)

    (December 23, 2020 by Delaware Business Times) - The Sallie Mae Fund, the charitable arm of Sallie Mae, has made a $50,000 contribution to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Delaware to support programs to help students impacted by COVID-19.

    Specifically, the $50,000 grant will help provide academic support and one-on-one guidance for low-income students adapting and adjusting to virtual learning due to COVID-19. In addition, the grant will support the expansion of mentoring programs, including those designed for LGBTQ+ students.

    “Our goal to help children realize their full potential is made possible through the commitments made by our friends, mentors, and role models, and by the support of companies like Sallie Mae,” said Tom Thunstrom, executive director of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Delaware in a statement. “With this grant, we can help ensure students in Delaware are met with opportunity, regardless of who they are or what means they have.”

    For more than 50 years, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Delaware has partnered with adult mentors and role models to provide at-risk children, primarily from single-parent homes, with strong and enduring, professionally supported one-on-one relationships that help them gain self-confidence, realize their potential, and envision happy and successful futures.

    “The pandemic underscores, perhaps now more than ever, that education is critical in the pathway to success, but it has presented significant challenges in maintaining a learning environment where students can thrive,” said Nic Jafarieh, senior vice president of Sallie Mae in a statement. “We feel a strong sense of responsibility to help remove some of those obstacles and create more access to education, and I’m confident that our partnership with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Delaware will do just that.”

    Since 2015, The Sallie Mae Fund has awarded more than $290,000 in grants to support Big Brothers Big Sisters of Delaware’s work to connect at-promise youth with adult role models. Sallie Mae team members regularly participate in the nonprofit’s Bowl for Kids’ Sake signature fundraiser and the Clothes for Kids’ Sake program.

    For more information about Sallie Mae’s support in the community, visit

  • December 21, 2020 4:25 PM | Philanthropy Delaware (Administrator)

    (December 21, 2020 by - All relief grant recipients to receive 20 percent bonus; hospitality businesses will receive 50 percent bonus; $10 million for arts organizations

    Governor John Carney and the Delaware Division of Small Business on Monday announced a new round of relief funding – $26 million to support small businesses most affected by COVID-19 restrictions.

    The DE Relief Grant program – funded by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act – has supported roughly 3,000 Delaware businesses throughout the COVID-19 crisis with more than $180 million in grants.

    Also on Monday, Governor Carney and the Delaware Department of State announced $10 million in relief funding for Delaware arts organizations. The State of Delaware will provide $5 million, with another $5 million in matching contributions.

    “Small businesses continue to make sacrifices that will help get us through this crisis, and beat COVID-19. We owe them our support,” said Governor Carney. “Hope is on the way with the vaccine. But we continue to face a difficult winter. Let’s do what works. Wear a mask. Don’t gather with friends or family outside your household. Stay vigilant and we’ll get through this.”

    The additional funding announced on Monday will provide a bonus of 20 percent for all DE Relief Grant recipients. Hospitality businesses, including restaurants and bars, will receive an additional 30 percent bonus, bringing their total bonus award to 50 percent of the value of their original grant. This is the third time that a bonus award has been given to grant recipients, though this is the first award that has gone to all recipients; previous bonuses focused on particularly hard hit industries.

    Relief funding for not-for-profit arts organizations will cover 35 percent of those organizations’ 2019 operating expenses, up to $300,000.  

    “The arts are a critical sector of the Delaware economy, and one we can’t replace. Arts organizations have been very hard hit by the pandemic. This funding will help them survive through the winter,” said Governor Carney. “I want to thank Delaware’s philanthropic community, particularly Tatiana and Gerret Copeland and the Longwood Foundation, for leading the way in matching these CARES Act funds.”

    The federal government is currently discussing a new stimulus package that may lead to changes in the states assistance programs for businesses, allowing assistance to be provided into the new year. Businesses that want to stay updated on this can visit, where any updates to the DE Relief Grant program will be announced.

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