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  • October 16, 2019 1:39 PM | Philanthropy Delaware (Administrator)

    (October 14, 2019 by Delaware Business Now) A report commissioned by the Delaware Community Foundation shows indicates that Latino immigrants in Sussex County are making a sizable contribution to the economy. Latinos do face high poverty rates, with undocumented immigrants facing exploitation that can include unreported pay, long hours and poor working conditions.

    Based on U.S. Census figures, the Latino population in Sussex totals more than 20,000 or about 9.3 percent of the county’s 229,000 residents.

    The report was authored by two University of Delaware faculty members and covers a number of areas including education, services and housing.

    Incomes climb

    As a whole, Latinos in Sussex County are faring better than they were in 2013. The authors noted that the total aggregate income showed a 165 percent increase in the Latino community from 2013-2017, a higher rate of income growth than the county as a whole.

    Labor force participation among Latinos in Sussex County averages 67.5 percent compared with 56.3 percent in the county as a whole.

    A large percentage of all Latinos living in Sussex County report an income below the poverty line. However, in at least 14 census tracts, Latinos report an income above the poverty line and a significant number report income up to 200 percent above the poverty level.

    An estimate of annual tax contributions indicates that Latinos in Sussex County are contributing nearly $50 million in tax revenue, with nearly $4 million contributed to Social Security and $1.2 million to local and state tax revenue.

    The Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration (2019) estimates that the annual economic contributions of Dream and Promise Act households (immigrants with temporary status) in Delaware amounts to $36.5 million in federal taxes, $12.2 million in state and local taxes, and nearly $160 million in spending power.

    As the population in Sussex County ages, the solvency of government-supported retirement and medical programs will be directly dependent on the future productivity and payroll tax contributions of a youthful workforce that is increasingly comprised of Latinos, the report noted.

    A group of study participants who work and interact with the Latino community noted the significant economic contributions that Latinos are making in Sussex County, primarily referring to first- and second-generation families.

    While poultry plants are widely seen as employment centers for newer Latinos, restaurants along the coast are employment hubs.

    Others noted that many first-generation Latino entrepreneurs who have been able to successfully operate businesses that cater not only to the Latino community, but also the wider communities of Sussex County.

    These include brick and mortar businesses in Latino hubs such as Georgetown, and landscaping and construction businesses operating throughout the county.

    It was noted that a difference exists between the opportunities available to a bilingual Latino with secure immigration status (citizenship or authorization) and insecure immigration status (unauthorized).

    For newcomers who are undocumented getting paid “under the table” may be one of their only options, as industries’ hiring practices change in response to the current immigration policy environment.

    As several participants pointed out, cash is preferable and “… restaurants, they pay in cash.” Former avenues for steady employment, the poultry industry in particular, are more difficult for newcomers to access.

    It leaves unauthorized workers open to potential abuse in the unregulated workplace, whether through negligence or intentional harm. As one participant noted:

    “They’ll start at these entry-level positions and do the hard labor, to the best of their abilities. And sometimes that results in them being abused and working many, many hours or working many hours and not having a break …”

    At least one study participant suggested that some industries are not particularly interested in employees building new skills that would allow them to be promoted or move to a better job.

    Study participants suggested that even Latino bilingual professionals also experience barriers in Sussex County.

    Click here to read article from Delaware Business Times. 

    Click here for the full report.

  • October 16, 2019 9:44 AM | Philanthropy Delaware (Administrator)

    (October 16, 2019 by Nick Ciolino, Delaware Public Media) Rebecca Vitelli is in her fourth year teaching prekindergarten for the Colonial Early Education Program. She grew up in New York, but went to the University of Delaware for both of her degrees. Her bachelors is in early childhood education; her masters in autism and severe disabilities.

    Vitelli says she’s never leaving Colonial School District. 

    “To be in a district that values early childhood education and loves the work we do and sees it and believes in it—wow—there’s just nothing like it,” said Vitelli. “So I love where I teach and I love what I do.”

    Her classrooms are a mixture of students with disabilities and typically developing students.

    Vitelli says teaching is not a one size fits all model and developing a relationship with students is the core of learning.

    (Picture right: Delaware’s 2020 Teacher of the year is an early childhood educator in the Colonial School District.)

    “Safety and security is important—that wires the brain to be able to learn. But when we feel connected, that’s when we’re willing to learn,” she said. “So making those connections and making those relationships is so valuable and getting to know your students and imbedding their interests in your instruction. That’s where you will see the growth that’s where you will see the change, that’s where you will see your students being inspired.”

    Vitelli goes on to be Delaware’s candidate for the national teacher of the year award. She will also receive a $5,000 grant for the education benefit of her students. She also receives a $2,000 personal grant.

    She won the award in a field of 20 district and charter teachers of the year - each of whom will receive awards.

    Click here to read article from Delaware Public Media. 

  • October 16, 2019 9:41 AM | Philanthropy Delaware (Administrator)

    (October 15, 2019 by News.Delaware.Gov) For the fifth year in a row, the Delaware Department of State has received a State Trade and Export Promotion (STEP) award from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA.) This year’s award totals $268,096 and will be used to support the state’s efforts to assist small Delaware companies in entering and developing markets overseas.

    The program’s objectives are to increase the number of U.S. small businesses that export, increasing sales and ultimately generating jobs in Delaware. The STEP Grant program makes matching-fund awards to states to assist small businesses in the international marketplace. Delaware will match the SBA grant with $89,365, bringing the total available for export efforts to $357,461.

    To date, 96 Delaware small businesses have participated in the program. As a result, these small businesses report $48 million in new export sales, and project over $180 million in additional export sales in the next two years. In addition, 27 Delaware jobs have been created.

    “The STEP Grant funds from the SBA have proven instrumental to Delaware entrepreneurs in yielding new international business. This program is a direct source of new growth for our state’s economy,” said Delaware Secretary of State Jeff Bullock.

    As with previous STEP grants, a significant portion of the grant will be used to directly reimburse small- and medium-sized companies for eligible, pre-approved export expenses such as international travel, trade show activities, translation of international marketing materials, and overseas interpreters. Without STEP grant funds, the costs of these services would otherwise prohibit many Delaware small businesses from entering certain international markets.

    Export Delaware, the state’s official export resource for small businesses, will use the grant to finance export-related marketing activities. Delaware small businesses that are interested in applying may learn more about the program at export.delaware.gov.

    “We are thrilled to continue to support Delaware’s small businesses as they begin to export and grow through increased international sales. We expect to build upon the success of this tremendous SBA program in 2020 and the years to come,” said Beth Pomper, head of Export Delaware.

    This year, Export Delaware is offering business trips to Israel, France, the United Kingdom, Sweden, Denmark, Chile, Peru, and the Philippines. These trade missions are designed specifically for Delaware small businesses and provide the opportunity for their teams to meet one-on-one with potential customers and distributors overseas.

    Delaware’s international trade representatives work with Export Delaware to organize meetings with targeted customers tailored to each participant’s needs. Delaware’s trade representatives abroad have wide networks in their countries, enabling them to secure meetings with high-level decision makers. Export Delaware staff accompany Delaware businesses in their meetings to help facilitate discussion and work toward deals.

    Delaware small businesses that have joined Export Delaware trips in the past have successfully identified new distributors and partners. Export Delaware has helped small businesses achieve significant growth. Recent highlights include:

    ● $4.2 million purchase order as a result of a grant-funded business trip to the UK

    ● $3.5 million in sales as result of a trip to Germany

    ● $3.5 million in sales as a result of trips to Canada and Mexico

    To learn more about the STEP Grant and how to apply, visit export.delaware.gov or contact Beth Pomper at beth.pomper@delaware.gov

    Click here to read article from News.Delaware.Gov. 

  • October 15, 2019 7:52 AM | Philanthropy Delaware (Administrator)

    (October 14, 2019 by Holly Quinn, Technical.ly Delaware) Delaware small businesses that are entering and developing markets overseas may soon get a boost via the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). For the fifth year in a row, the Delaware Department of State (DDS) has received an SBA State Trade and Export Promotion (STEP) award, this year totaling $268,096, to be used to support the state in its efforts to help small Delaware companies that do business internationally.

    The DDS is working to increase the number of U.S. small businesses that export, along with the sales and Delaware job creation that comes with it.

    The STEP Grant program is a matching-fund award; Delaware will match the SBA grant with $89,365, bringing the total available for small businesses that export to $357,461.

    The funding is granted to eligible businesses to cover up to $50% of pre-approved expenses.

    “The STEP Grant funds from the SBA have proven instrumental to Delaware entrepreneurs in yielding new international business,” said Delaware Secretary of State Jeff Bullock in a press release. “This program is a direct source of new growth for our state’s economy.”

    Ninety-six Delaware small businesses have participated in the program, resulting in a reported $48 million in new export sales with over $180 million in additional export sales projected in the next two years, and 27 new Delaware jobs have been reported to have been created as a result of the program, per the release.

    Most grant money will be used to directly reimburse small- and medium-sized companies for eligible, pre-approved export expenses such as international travel, trade show activities, translation of international marketing materials, and overseas interpreters, services that often prohibit small businesses from entering the international market.

    According to Export Delaware, an initiative of the DDS that organizes trade mission trips for Delaware small businesses, travel can help businesses secure new partners, distributors and foster growth. Some recent notable deals include:

    ·         $4.2 million purchase order as a result of a grant-funded business trip to the UK

    ·         $3.5 million in sales as result of a trip to Germany

    ·         $3.5 million in sales as a result of trips to Canada and Mexico

    Companies with a physical operation and employees in Delaware that export (or are looking to export) U.S.-made goods are eligible. Click here to apply.

    Click here to read article from Technical.ly Delaware. 

  • October 14, 2019 8:42 AM | Philanthropy Delaware (Administrator)

    (October 11, 2019 By Christopher Jason, EHR Intelligence) Delaware’s Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) is searching for applicants from Delaware healthcare providers for a one-time mini-grant to receive full range of health information exchange (HIE) tools offered by the Delaware Health Information Network (DHIN).

    The DHIN, Delaware’s HIE, consists of more than 2.9 million patient records. The DHIN securely sends clinical results and reports for patients, along with admission and discharge data from all Delaware acute-care health systems and more than 46 long term health facilities.

    “This mini-grant opportunity will help primary care practices to serve their patients more effectively by enriching the electronic data they have available for each patient,” said Kara Odom Walker, MD, department of health and social services secretary.

    Mini-grants are currently being accepted from small primary care and other medical practices, behavioral health providers, accountable care organizations (ACOs), or Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) that are not benefiting from the DHIN tools.

    “The mini-grants also will help primary care practices to prepare for value-based care and improving health, which are critical to reducing the overall cost of healthcare across the spectrum,” explained Walker.

    Awarded practices would be able to expand their use of data with DHIN and will benefit from new payment models, highlighted by Total Cost of Care (TCC) and risk-sharing arrangements. The practices must support investments in EHRs, proper technology infrastructure, and DHIN-bundled services. However, they must contribute data to the DHIN and receive data to be eligible.

    When the one-time funding occurs, the practices can adopt the full range of HIE tools.

    These tools include access to the Community Health Record, which shows patient health data; a results-delivery interface that connects to the EHR; a Care Summary Exchange, which sends data to the DHIN; Event Notification Services that tracks admissions or discharges across 200 hospitals; the Patient Portal, where the patient can access their personal health data; and medical history, which looks at 12-month prescription fill history.

    “DHIN is thrilled to work with the Department of Health and Social Services to bring data services to the healthcare providers of Delaware in support of treatment decisions at the point of care as well as care coordination, patient engagement, and data analytics,” said Jan Lee, MD, CEO of the Delaware Health Information Network.

    The Delaware Health Care Commission will evaluate all applicants and they are prepared to award up to 25 applicants, with the maximum award up to $8,000 per awardee.

    HIE allows for interoperability of healthcare data, which helps enable care coordination and achieve positive outcomes. In a value-based care setting, health information sharing allows different systems to communicate and share data.

    Most executives believe interoperability is crucial for value-based care practices, and 73.4 percent of hospitals report having the technology for HIE and interoperability. According to Definitive Healthcare data, Epic System Corporation’s Care Everywhere is the most common product, accounting for 50.4 percent of the interoperability tools used.

    Cerner Corporation and MEDITECH were other commonly used vendors for interoperability tools, accounting for 17.3 percent and 6.5 percent of the tools.

    Hospitals reported over 80 unique vendors for HIE and interoperability tools.

    HIE and interoperability platforms allow providers to share patient medical information through a secure exchange network. This often can occur regardless of the underlying EHR system so a provider can see every encounter the patient has had.

    A more complete picture of the patient population can help providers better coordinate care. Identifying gaps in care and working to close these gaps can help hospitals improve the quality of care they deliver, which is a staple in value-based care.

    Click here to read full article from EHR Intelligence. 

  • October 11, 2019 3:42 PM | Philanthropy Delaware (Administrator)

    (September 25, 2019 by Delaware News Desk, Dover Post) Christiana Care’s Helen F. Graham Cancer Center & Research Institute earned a $10.56 million six-year grant from the National Cancer Institute to continue its participation in the NCI’s Community Oncology Research Program.

    The Christiana Care NCORP includes affiliate programs at Beebe Healthcare and Nanticoke Health Services in Southern Delaware.

    NCORP is an elite network of cancer centers across the U.S. that brings cancer research to people in their own communities. The Graham Cancer Center is one of only 32 community sites, 14 minority/underserved community sites and seven basic research sites to receive these latest grants.

    The NCORP award bolsters the Graham Cancer Center’s cancer clinical trials program in the areas of prevention, screening, supportive care and symptom management, surveillance, quality of life and care delivery. The program will also participate in cancer treatment and imaging clinical trials conducted by the NCI National Clinical Trials Network.

    The NCI has continuously funded cancer research at Christiana Care since 1987. Since then, more than 10,000 Christiana Care patients have taken part in a treatment or cancer control clinical trial. In 2007, the Graham Cancer Center was chosen as one of the first NCI Community Clinical Oncology programs in the nation. That program expanded into NCORP in 2014.

    The new funding builds on a 2014 NCORP grant that helped drive down cancer rates. In 2002, Delaware had the highest cancer mortality in the nation. Today, the First State is number 18 on that list.

    As a result, Graham Cancer Center has consistently been rated among the top in the nation for enrollment in cancer clinical trials. More than 27% of its patients enter a research clinical trial, compared with a national average of only 3-5%.

    In a summary statement accompanying the award, the NCI praised the Graham Cancer Center for its “robust infrastructure” and “implementation of effective screening programs for minorities, which have resulted in decreased cancer mortality in those groups.”

    Owing to a unique statewide partnership, in 2012 the Graham Cancer Center helped eliminate the racial disparity in colorectal cancer incidence and mortality between African-Americans and Caucasians in Delaware.

    The NCI also singled out the program’s “novel partnership with The Wistar Institute to facilitate expertise and contributions to basic and translational research.”

    The Graham Cancer Center and The Wistar Institute, which began a formal collaboration in 2011, will pursue the next phase of their historic partnership by applying to become the first-ever NCI designated community cancer program/basic science cancer center.

    For more, visit christianacare.org/cancer.

    Click here to read article from Dover Post

  • October 11, 2019 3:36 PM | Philanthropy Delaware (Administrator)

    (September 30, 2019 by Alex Vuocolo by Delaware Business Times) The U.S. Small Business Administration on Sept. 30 announced new funding for the Blue Hen Proof of Concept, a startup incubator program under the University of Delaware’s Horn Entrepreneurship.

    The Blue Hen Proof of Concept program provides gap funding, mentoring and training during the initial technology commercialization activities of researchers and inventors across campus.

    The program is one of 60 winners of the Growth Accelerator Fund Competition (GAFC) to win a $50,000 grant. The federal initiative supports accelerators and incubators across 39 states with a total of $3 million awards to support startups and entrepreneurs researching and developing STEM-related innovations.

    “Over the past five years, (GAFC) has provided awards to many innovative and promising accelerators and incubators,” said Acting SBA Administrator Chris Pilkerton. “This includes entrepreneurs located in Opportunity Zones – where job creation and investments are revitalizing communities.”

    In 2018, startups in the Blue Hen Proof of Concept program generated more than $1.3M in sales and received more than $10.2M in grants or investment.

    “Each $50,000 award will infuse a winning accelerator or incubator with additional operating capital to provide focused assistance to entrepreneurs,” said SBA Mid-Atlantic Acting Regional Administrator Steve Bulger. “This assistance includes support for company formation as well as awareness and education on the Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer programs.”

    This year’s award recipients will focus at least 60 percent of competition-related work to entrepreneurs who represent women, socially and economically disadvantaged individuals, entrepreneurs living or operating in states with fewer SBIR/STTR awards, or are located in an Opportunity Zone.

    Click here to read article from Delaware Business Times

  • October 11, 2019 3:27 PM | Philanthropy Delaware (Administrator)

    (October 1, 2019 by Cape Gazette) It is a testament to Lawrence Tassone's life that his final act was one of generosity and philanthropy. Earlier this year, Brittany Ostasewski, a young nursing student at Delaware Technical Community College in Georgetown, was awarded the Delaware Community Foundation’s Elisabeth S. Tassone Oncology Scholarship.

    Lawrence, who named the scholarship after his wife after she passed away in 2017, loved to meet the scholarship award winners. He was looking forward to getting to know Ostasewski and hearing about her career plans. The two were scheduled to meet on the Delaware Tech campus for lunch and a photograph Aug. 16.

    (Picture right: Scholarship recipient Brittany Ostasewski displays pictures of Lawrence and Elizabeth Tassone) 

    Tragically, shortly after Ostasewski met Tassone in Delaware Tech's nursing office, he suffered a major heart attack and was rushed to Nanticoke Memorial Hospital. Stabilized, he was transferred to Peninsula Regional Medical Center but suffered another heart attack and kidney failure there. He died Aug. 20.

    Ostasewski never got a chance to tell Tassone – “Tazz” to his friends – what his scholarship meant to her.

    “I would have liked to thank Mr. Tassone for the honor in receiving this most generous gift in remembrance of his wife," she said. "In the short time meeting him, I realized how much he truly loved her. This great gift will help me further my path in nursing. I will forever remember both their legacies and the good deeds of the Tassone family.”

    After her graduation in May, Ostasewski plans to go on to complete her bachelor of science in nursing degree at Delaware Tech.

    The Delaware Community Foundation awards hundreds of thousands of dollars in scholarships each year, thanks to generous donors like Lawrence Tassone who are passionate about education.

    For more information, go to www.delcf.org/scholarships. To make donations in memory of Lawrence Tassone and his wife Elisabeth, go to www.delcf.org/tassone.

    Click here to read article from Cape Gazette

  • October 11, 2019 2:39 PM | Philanthropy Delaware (Administrator)

    (October 10, 2019 by Allison Levine, Delaware Community Foundation

    A private trust fund established by the Woodlawn Trustees nearly 40 years ago to benefit Brandywine Creek State Park in Wilmington is now being managed by the Delaware Community Foundation (DCF). Transfer of the $2.2 million to the new Brandywine Creek Woodlawn Fund was announced at the DCF’s annual meeting in June, and is now complete.

    (Picture Right) Woodlawn Trustees President Rodney Lambert signs agreement at DCF annual meeting.

    In 1981, the Woodlawn Trustees transferred 350 acres to the State of Delaware, nearly doubling the size of the park. Woodlawn donated one half of this land to the state. With that gift, the state received matching federal funds, which were used to buy the second half from Woodlawn. The after-tax proceeds of the sale totaled $530,000 which the Trustees used to set up a permanent endowment for park maintenance. Income from the fund has been used each year by the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) Division of Parks and Recreation to support park operations, maintenance and security. This has typically accounted for about one third of the park’s annual operating budget.

    Brandywine Creek State Park is one of 17 state parks in Delaware where millions of residents and visitors come to enjoy the outdoors. DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin said, “For four decades now, Brandywine Creek has been enhanced by the critical resources that this fund provides. Visitors see the impact in the form of improved maintenance, increased public safety created by additional Natural Resources Police coverage, and even maintenance of the park’s historic stone walls. We are very pleased to add the DCF to our strategic partnership with the Woodlawn Trustees.”

    Woodlawn Trustees’ involvement in the Brandywine Valley began over 100 years ago when Wilmington Quaker industrialist William P. Bancroft established the not-for-profit corporation. His vision for the Trustees emphasized preservation of open space, affordable worker housing, and planned community development. Both William Bancroft and Woodlawn Trustees have been heavily involved in the growth of the Wilmington park system and the preservation of open space in the Brandywine Valley since the late 1800s. Over the years, Woodlawn has made major contributions to the national, state, county and municipal parks in Wilmington and the eastern portion of the Brandywine Valley.

    “We’re working hard to continue the Bancroft legacy of preserving the environment and supporting local community institutions,” said Woodlawn Trustees President Rodney Lambert. “We have a high level of trust in the DCF’s knowledge and leadership to manage this important investment in the future of Brandywine Creek State Park.”

    By partnering with Woodlawn Trustees and Delaware State Parks, the DCF seeks to increase opportunity for all Delawareans that benefit from our beautiful parks and natural lands. “The new fund models how generous people can impact and empower an entire community through charitable giving,” DCF President and CEO Stuart Comstock-Gay said.

    With the addition of the Brandywine Creek Woodlawn Fund, the DCF is now home to more than $10 million of funds benefiting Delaware State Parks. To support your favorite state park visit delcf.org/delaware-state-parks.

    Click here to read article from Delaware Community Foundation

  • October 11, 2019 2:25 PM | Philanthropy Delaware (Administrator)

    (October 9, 2019 by Nick Ciolino, Delaware Public Media) The state and the Delaware Electric Co-op are offering some assistance to farmers willing to switch their irrigation equipment from diesel to electric power.

    The Delaware Agriculture Department will pay up to $5,000 to help First State farmers install electric irrigation pivots and the Delaware Electric Co-op will pay an additional up to $5,000 toward the cost of running electric to the new pivots.

    Delaware’s General Assembly set aside about $500,000 for the program back in June. Ag officials say there are about 500 diesel irrigation systems still remaining throughout the state.

    Delaware Ag Secretary Michael Scuse says the state hopes the grants will help to reduce emissions but he adds it’s also a good financial move for farmers in the long term, as they stand to save in energy costs.

    “With very little rainfall coming to the state from July to present day, these irrigation systems have been running constantly for a long period of time now and there’s been a huge cost associated with that,” said Scuse.

    To qualify, farmers must be served by Delaware Electric and the new systems must have a minimum 20 kilowatt load.

    Delaware Farm Bureau President Richard Wilkins says without the grants the cost of converting to electric infrastructure wouldn’t be worth the investment for many farmers.

    “This grant program surely helps to defray part of the expense of the infrastructure and will hopefully encourage those farmers to convert and help the environment at the same time.”

    Farmers receiving grants can also opt-in to a load control program, which allows the Co-op to cycle-off power to irrigation units during peak energy usage times.

    Click here to read article from Delaware Public Media

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