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Member news plus local and national philanthropic reporting

  • August 19, 2020 12:42 PM | Philanthropy Delaware (Administrator)

    (August 17, by Gaby Indellini) -Wilmington, DE - The Delaware Community Foundation (DCF) is pleased to welcome Mashiya Williams as a health portfolio program associate.  As part of the DCF’s Community Impact Team, Williams will support the DCF’s grantmaking, engage with the community, and serve donors, helping ensure that resources invested in health outcomes have the maximum positive impact on quality of life throughout Delaware.

    The DCF’s health portfolio includes two important grant initiatives, Highmark’s BluePrints for the Community and Healthy Communities of Delaware, as well as various smaller health-focused initiatives.

    Williams most recently worked at Comenity Bank from 2010 to 2019, where she was executive assistant to the bank president and managed Comenity’s Grant and Outreach Program. She earned her bachelor’s degree in human development from Binghamton University and an MBA from Strayer University. She also recently received her project management certification from the Project Management Institute.  

    Williams served on the board of directors of Neighborhood House, Inc. for six years, and currently volunteers with her local Neighborhood Watch and at her church.  

    “I am so excited to have found an opportunity at the DCF to combine my commitment to Delaware with my passion for service,” Williams said.

    “We’re excited to be strengthening our focus on social determinants of health for all in Delaware,” said DCF President and CEO Stuart Comstock-Gay. “Mashiya will play a key role in an exciting time of transformation and growth for the DCF.”

  • August 19, 2020 10:00 AM | Philanthropy Delaware (Administrator)

    (August 19, 2020 by Press Release) DE Relief Grants will assist Delaware businesses affected by COVID-19 - WILMINGTON, Del. – Governor John Carney, New Castle County Executive Matt Meyer and the Delaware Division of Small Business on Wednesday announced grant program of at least $100 million to assist Delaware small businesses and nonprofit organizations affected by the COVID-19 crisis.

    The DE Relief Grants program announced on Wednesday is a joint initiative of the State of Delaware and New Castle County, and is funded by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

    The program is expected to reach more than 3,000 small businesses and nonprofit organizations with grants ranging from $30,000 to $100,000. The Division of Small Business is administering the program and will begin accepting applications in early September at delbiz.com/relief.

    “Delaware small businesses are the backbone of our economy and they have made considerable sacrifices during the COVID-19 crisis. We owe them our gratitude and support,” said Governor Carney. “These relief grants will help Delaware small businesses begin the process of recovering and will help make investments necessary to create safer spaces for their customers and staff.”

    “Small businesses and nonprofits are facing expensive costs as they retrofit their workplaces,” said New Castle County Executive Matt Meyer. “We’re pleased to be able to join with the State of Delaware in supporting this important program.”

    DE Relief Grants can be used for:

    • Purchasing equipment to make a workplace suitable for COVID-19 safety (such as PPE, plexiglass, air purifiers, etc.)
    • Refinancing of debt incurred due to COVID-19 (including State of Delaware HELP loans)
    • Advertising efforts undertaken as a result of COVID-19
    • Fixed expenses the applicant accrued during COVID-19

    “I’ve seen small businesses across Delaware do some amazing things to adapt and stay afloat under the extraordinary circumstances of the last six months, but so many are hanging by a thread as the pandemic drags on,” said Representative Bill Bush, who chairs the House Economic Development, Banking and Insurance Committee. “This grant funding represents a lifeline that will help our small business community overcome the next phase of this crisis.”

    “This is about much more than making up for lost revenue,” said Senator Trey Paradee, chair of the Senate Banking, Business and Insurance Committee. “It’s about helping keep the doors open at the small businesses in Kent County and across the state that provide Delawareans with the paychecks and health care their families are relying on now more than ever. It’s about making our businesses safe.”

    “Delaware small businesses and nonprofits have been remarkably resilient in dealing with this pandemic,” said Secretary of State Jeff Bullock. “They are the backbone of Delaware’s economy, and we feel it is imperative that the state continues to support them.”

    “Multiple programs are necessary to address the challenges Delaware’s small businesses face,” said Damian DeStefano, Director of the Division of Small Business. “We believe this assistance, coupled with other efforts, including the Hospitality Emergency Loan Program (HELP) and the COVID-19 Customer Protection Standards, help make the difference for some of our small businesses.”

    The Division of Small Business will begin accepting applications in early September and will follow with funding rounds in early October and November.

    “DE Relief Grants are a welcome commitment by the state to help support our small business community and the valuable jobs they offer to so many Delawareans,” said Carrie Leishman, President & CEO of the Delaware Restaurant Association. “The effects of the pandemic have and continue to hit the food services industry particularly hard. While no single effort is a panacea, this program will certainly help restaurants as they work to stabilize revenues while protecting the health and safety of customers and employees.”

    “Enhanced financial support for small businesses was a key recommendation of the business subcommittee of Governor Carney’s Pandemic Resurgence Advisory Committee, and has been advocated for by the state chamber,” said Katie Wilkinson, chair of the PRAC Business Subcommittee and Chair of the Board of Directors for the Delaware State Chamber of Commerce. “These grants can make the difference for the survival of some of our small businesses over the next few months.”

    The Division of Small Business’ team of Regional Business Managers is available to help companies prepare their applications. Small businesses can connect with the manager for their part of the state at delbiz.com/contact. For more information on DE Relief Grants, visit delbiz.com/relief.

    The size of the relief grant will be based up the business or nonprofit’s 2019 revenue:

    • $0-$500,000: Up to $30,000
    • $500,000-$1 million: Up to $50,000
    • $1 million-$2.5 million: Up to $72,500
    • $2.5+ million: Up to $100,000

    Anyone with a question about COVID-19, whether related to medical or social service needs, should call Delaware 2-1-1. Individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing can text their ZIP code to 898-211. Hours of operation are 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday; 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

    Questions can also be submitted by email at DPHCall@delaware.gov.

    DPH will continue to update the public as more information becomes available. For the latest on Delaware’s response, go to de.gov/coronavirus.


    Click here for more information. 

  • August 11, 2020 12:09 PM | Philanthropy Delaware (Administrator)

    (August 10, by Press Release) Wilmington, DE – In June, DANA, the Delaware Alliance for Nonprofit Advancement, issued a follow-up online survey to statewide nonprofit organizations assessing their current needs during Phase 2 of the Delaware State of Emergency and how their needs had evolved their first survey on March 16, 2020.

    “Since the first survey, we’ve learned that Delaware nonprofits have gone to extraordinary lengths to meet the increased needs caused by COVID – some have seen services more than double. While they have found ways to accommodate COVID and continue to serve, the cost to do so is taking its toll. Nonprofits do essential work for all people, regardless of who they are or what they look like. Nonprofits aren’t meant to be profitable – they are mission-driven – so they don’t have deep pockets, especially the smaller ones. And, they need financial help now. Or the landscape will look very different by 2021,” says DANA CEO Sheila Bravo.

    Findings from this survey indicate the most crucial thing that Delaware nonprofits need right now is funding. 86% of the more than 100 respondents have had to significantly change or adapt their programs in a post-COVID environment. Seventy-five percent are still offering services even though their facilities remain shut down. 67% need financial support to pay for the cost of personal protection equipment (PPE) required by state order. 52% of nonprofits who received Personal Paycheck Protection (PPP) loans from the Small Business Administration (SBA) will need more to retain employees. Despite these loans, nearly a third of responding nonprofits have less than 10 weeks of available cash on hand. Facing potential job losses while experiencing a heavy increase in service demand, nonprofits could be in a dire situation without the financial resources to coming in.

    Delaware’s philanthropic community has stepped up and answered the call, creating two sources of funding through a collaborative effort known as the Delaware COVID-19 Emergency Response Initiative. This group, made up of DANA, Delaware Community Foundation, Philanthropy Delaware and United Way of Delaware, has collectively distributed more than 4 million dollars in the last five months statewide to nonprofits through the Delaware COVID-19 Strategic Response Fund and Delaware Does More: COVID-19 Rapid Response Fund. While the collaborative continues to look for additional ways to help nonprofits both financially and with resources, philanthropy cannot do it alone. More donations to these funds are desperately needed.

    State contracts have also played a part in the financial pressure on nonprofits. While 41% of respondents hold a state contract and reported being paid on-time, 31% of those have indicated that the contracts were not adjusted to accommodate for the additional demands for service, leaving the nonprofit to make up the difference in a landscape where donations have slowed and funding is competitive.

    As we move through the second half of 2020 and a new phase of sustain COVID-19 restrictions and need, nonprofit sector leaders invite businesses, organizations, and individuals to renew their charitable giving. Donations can be made to this collective response:

    • Delaware Does More: COVID-19 Rapid Response Fund at United Way at UWDE.org/COVID19
    • Delaware COVID-19 Strategic Response Fund at the DCF at delcf.org/coronavirus                 

    This survey was conducted as part of a COVID-19 Emergency Response Initiative in partnership with the Delaware Community Foundation (DCF), Philanthropy Delaware (PD) and United Way of Delaware (UWDE) to coordinate charitable resources to maximize impact statewide during this crisis. This initiative also centralizes charitable donation efforts into two vital funds – the Delaware Does More: COVID-19 Rapid Response Fund and the Delaware COVID-19 Strategic Response Fund.  

  • August 10, 2020 1:00 PM | Philanthropy Delaware (Administrator)

    (August 10, 2020 by Press Release)  WILMINGTON, Del. – Governor John Carney and Delaware State Housing Authority (DSHA) Director Anas Ben Addi on Monday announced the reopening of the Delaware Housing Assistance Program (DE HAP), which provides financial assistance for renters affected by COVID-19, and announced that emergency mortgage assistance is now available for homeowners who have missed payments due to the pandemic.

    The State of Delaware and New Castle County will contribute a combined $40 million in Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding to provide payments for qualified applications to both the rental and mortgage assistance programs.

    “We know many Delawareans continue to face a very challenging time as they struggle with the economic effects of the COVID-19 crisis,” said Governor John Carney. “By reopening the rental assistance program and providing similar financial assistance to homeowners, we hope to help more Delaware families stay in their homes both during and after the pandemic.”

    “We know that many of our neighbors remain unemployed or underemployed and are struggling to keep a roof over their heads,” said DSHA Director Anas Ben Addi. “Today’s announcement builds on our efforts to prevent evictions and foreclosures resulting from the pandemic and will allow DSHA and our partners the opportunity to better assist both renters and homeowners throughout the state with their housing needs.”

    “No one should be thrown out on the street due to the inability to pay their rent or mortgage during a public health emergency,” said New Castle County Executive Matt Meyer. “Since day one of the COVID-19 pandemic, our county government has focused on protecting New Castle County’s most vulnerable residents. We have partnered with the state on these efforts throughout the pandemic, and I am thankful for the leadership Governor Carney and Director Ben Addi have shown by reopening the rental assistance program and the start of emergency mortgage assistance. I am proud that $20 million of our CARES Act funding will go to support these programs that will continue to enable so many families to have a place to call home.”

    DE HAP provides financial assistance to renters affected by shutdowns, closures, layoffs, reduced work hours, or unpaid leave due to the COVID-19 health crisis. Under the revised program guidelines, eligible households can now receive up to $5,000 in assistance, with payments made directly to the property owner. The program was first launched in March and temporarily paused in late April due to overwhelming response and to allow DSHA to review federal funding opportunities provided by the CARES Act.

    To be eligible for DE HAP, applicants must reside in Delaware and have a maximum household income post-pandemic at or below 60 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI) for the county in which they reside. Income eligibility per county for DE HAP can be found on DSHA’s website.

    With the relaunch of DE HAP, applications must now be submitted by landlords or property owners on behalf of tenants through a newly created application portal on DSHA’s website. DSHA’s website provides a step-by-step tutorial video and Frequently Asked Questions for landlords submitting applications to DE HAP.

    On July 1, Governor Carney released a modified order lifting the moratorium on foreclosure and eviction filings in place since March but ordered that all evictions would continue to be stayed to permit the Justice of the Peace Courts to determine whether the parties would benefit from a court-supervised mediation or a newly created alternative dispute resolution program.

    The reopening of the DE HAP program, coupled with the Court’s mediation and alternative dispute resolution programs, will allow DSHA to assist renters at risk of eviction and help keep many of them in their homes in the months to come.

    “Many Delaware families are one missed rent payment away from facing an eviction filed against them that could result in homelessness,” said Housing Alliance Delaware Executive Director Rachel Stucker. “Housing Alliance Delaware is very happy to see DSHA and New Castle County responding to this important housing need. If we can keep Delaware families in their homes, we can help them avoid the trauma of homelessness and the significant risks associated with not having a safe home during a public health emergency.”

    DSHA is also providing emergency housing assistance to homeowners affected by the COVID-19 pandemic through the organization’s existing Delaware Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program (DEMAP). The program will assist homeowners who are at risk of losing their homes to foreclosure because of a pandemic-related job loss, reduced work hours or unpaid leave. Eligible homeowners can apply for up to $5,000 per household, paid directly to the mortgage servicer.

    To be eligible for the emergency mortgage assistance, the applicant must own their home in Delaware and it must be their primary residence. Homeowners must also have a maximum household income post-pandemic at or below 80 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI) for the county in which they reside. In Kent and Sussex counties, the maximum household income limit is $65,520 and in New Castle County, the maximum household income limit is $77,280.

    DSHA is working closely with several HUD-approved housing counseling agencies throughout the state, including First State Community Action Agency, who will be processing applications for the emergency mortgage assistance program.

    “First State Community Action Agency is honored to partner with DSHA to help assist homeowners throughout our state who are struggling with their mortgage payments due to the pandemic,” said Executive Director Bernice Edwards. “The COVID-19 crisis has had a significant impact on almost every industry in our state, and we know many Delawareans are facing difficult financial decisions right now. We are hopeful this assistance will help those households stay current on their mortgage during the health crisis.”

    More information on the COVID-19 rental and mortgage assistance programs is available at www.destatehousing.com/covid19.


  • August 10, 2020 1:00 PM | Philanthropy Delaware (Administrator)

    (August 10, 2020 from Press Release) Sussex County invites non-profit entities and units of local government to apply for CARES Act Supplemental CDBG Funding

    The application period is August 10th through August 24th. The application is due on Monday, August 24th by 4:30 PM. Completed applications may be emailed to Brandy Nauman at bnauman@sussexcountyde.gov .

    Delaware State Housing Authority Assistance

    Community Development Block Grant

    The Community Development Block Grant continues to be the main source of funding for the department. The Delaware State Housing Authority receives these funds on behalf of Sussex County, as we are a County that does not receive direct entitlement funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). According to HUD, the program’s objectives are to develop viable communities by providing decent housing and a suitable living environment and by expanding economic opportunities, principally for persons of low to moderate income. Funding may be used to update water/sewer facilities, demolition, rehabilitation, and assistance to nonprofit entities.

    CARES Act Supplemental CDBG Funding

    Sussex County Government has received additional Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, in addition to the FY19 and FY20 program funding.

    Through the CARES Act, the Delaware State Housing Authority (DSHA) is making $952,767 available to Sussex County in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. A more detailed breakdown is available below.The County proposes to use these funds for CDBG Public Service activities, primarily to prevent and respond to homelessness. Units of local government and non-profit entities are eligible to apply.

    Additional Information

    Additional information, including the public hearing presentation and application, can be found here: https://sussexcountyde.gov/delaware-state-housing-authority-assistance.

  • August 07, 2020 3:28 PM | Philanthropy Delaware (Administrator)

    (Press Release) - Wilmington, Del. - Nicole Pender was recently voted in as the newest Member of Philanthropy Delaware’s Board of Directors. Nicole Pender is a Philadelphia native who serves as a Sr. Associate on the Community Impact and Investment team at Capital One and oversees Associate Volunteerism, CRA, Community Development Banking funding and Community Impact and Investment grants. After spending nearly 8 years working with grassroots nonprofits in both Philadelphia and Delaware, Federal and Local Government, professional sports and Corporate Social Responsibility, Nicole is well versed in the many facets of philanthropy.

    Nicole holds a BA in Mass Communications with a Minor in Marketing from Mansfield University of PA where she was also a Division II student athlete

    Philanthropy Delaware’s Board of Directors also includes: Vernita Dorsey, WSFS; Chris Crothers, Jessie Ball duPont Fund; Regina Kerr-Alonzo, Borgenicht Foundation; Ashley Cook, Wells Fargo; Sharon Struthers, Struthers Family; Michelle Taylor, United Way of Delaware; and Amy Walls, Discover Bank.

  • August 04, 2020 8:43 AM | Philanthropy Delaware (Administrator)

    (August 3, 2020 by Technical.ly DelawareGov. John Carney announced the Rapid Workforce Training and Redeployment Training Initiative on Monday, thanks to $10 million of the state's CARES Act funding.  With unemployment remaining high due to the COVID-19 crisis — and with the federal government’s extra $600-per-week benefit that was keeping many people afloat now gone — Delaware is focusing on workforce development with $10 million of the state’s CARES Act funding.

    Gov. John Carney signed Executive Order #43 on Monday, creating the Rapid Workforce Training and Redeployment Training Initiative to assist Delaware workers and their families who have lost jobs and income due to the COVID-19 crisis.

    It comes by recommendation of the Pandemic Resurgence Advisory Committee chaired by Lieutenant Gov. Bethany Hall-Long and Secretary of State Jeff Bullock.

    Under the order, the Delaware Department of Labor will work with the Delaware Workforce Development Board to create training and certification programs for unemployed and underemployed Delawareans in skills that are currently in demand by Delaware employers, including nurses, medical assistants, home health aides and pharmacy employees.

    “All Delawareans have made sacrifices during this COVID-19 crisis. Some have made more than others,” said Carney in a statement. “Delaware workers and their families across our state have lost jobs and income, but still have to pay their bills. We have a responsibility to support our neighbors who have been affected by this crisis. This new workforce development program will help provide workers with the skills they need to get back in the workforce quickly, earn a living, and support their families.”

    Click here to see original post by Technical.ly Delaware. 

  • August 03, 2020 5:30 PM | Philanthropy Delaware (Administrator)

    (August 3, 2020 by Press Release) DuPont is a Philanthropy Delaware Member.  DuPont Partners with Sodexo on Meal Donation ProgramPrepared meals address local food insecurity during pandemic - 

    In late May, DuPont (NYSE: DD) began partnering with food service vendor Sodexo to donate thousands of “to-go” meals to vulnerable communities in Wilmington impacted by COVID-19.

    DuPont contracts with Sodexo to operate two employee cafeterias at its sites in Wilmington. However, in mid-March, the cafeterias were temporarily closed due to COVID-19, and Sodexo employees were furloughed. Recognizing the financial burden this would have on the vendor, a small team of DuPont employees designed a creative, multi-faceted solution to keep food service workers employed while helping at-risk communities.

    “During these challenging times, it’s so important to create opportunities to help our impacted neighbors in the community we call home,” said Jay Valvo, DuPont vice president of DuPont Facility Services and Real Estate. “I’m very proud of the DuPont and Sodexo teams that partnered on this short-term project that helps ease multiple burdens at once.”

    For the first six weeks, DuPont and Sodexo provided “to-go” meals for two local nonprofit organizations — Friendship House and Reach Riverside. Then, as community needs shifted, recipients changed to St. Patrick’s Center and Reach Riverside. The project started in late May when Sodexo employees returned to the DuPont Chestnut Run Plaza site to prepare, pack and deliver breakfast bags each day to Friendship House (and then, to St. Patrick’s Center). The team also began providing daily lunch bags, on alternate weeks, to Reach Riverside’s elderly community. The project, funded by DuPont and expected to continue into early October, will help reduce operating costs for the nonprofit organizations which were impacted financially by the pandemic, while at the same time the need for their services is growing.

    “It’s been a big relief to get back to work and do what we’re meant to do, which is feed people,” said Sodex Chef Michael Mao. “It’s even more fulfilling to be able to provide for some of our most vulnerable populations within our local community during these difficult times. A lot of credit to DuPont for starting this admirable initiative.”

    “The disproportionate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on low-income and underserved communities has created enormous burden for families, both locally and around the world,” said Patrick McCrummen, DuPont global community impact leader. “Creating unique partnerships with our suppliers and local non-profits is one way DuPont is helping Wilmington residents cope with the day-to-day struggles during this extraordinary time.”

    About DuPont

    DuPont (NYSE: DD) is a global innovation leader with technology-based materials, ingredients and solutions that help transform industries and everyday life. Our employees apply diverse science and expertise to help customers advance their best ideas and deliver essential innovations in key markets including electronics, transportation, construction, water, health and wellness, food and worker safety. More information can be found at www.dupont.com.

    # # #

    DuPont™, the DuPont Oval Logo, and all trademarks and service marks denoted with ™, ℠ or ® are owned by affiliates of DuPont de Nemours, Inc. unless otherwise noted.

  • July 30, 2020 11:07 AM | Philanthropy Delaware (Administrator)

    Energize Delaware is a Philanthropy Delaware Member (July 30, 2020 Coastal Point) -Energize Delaware announced this week that the Empowerment Grant Program (EGP) funded by the Exelon Merger for Delmarva Power Customers in Delaware is awarding $500,000 to Habitat for Humanity (HFH) of New Castle County. In its application, HFH of New Castle County proposed working with their Central Delaware and Sussex County partner Habitat agencies and their ReStore locations across the state on an innovative program to provide improved efficiency, reliability and energy savings to Delaware income-qualified residents.

    The effort will focus on replacing aging refrigerators with new energy-efficient refrigerators, directly benefitting Delmarva Power customers whose households earn 60 percent or less of Delaware’s median income.

    The $500,000 is the first award from a $4 million grant made possible by the Exelon\Delmarva Power Merger Settlement approved by the Delaware Public Service Commission.

    Seeking to ease the energy burden of hardworking, low-income Delawareans and improve their quality of life, representatives said, the three HFH affiliates plan to utilize their network to make outreach to Delmarva Power customers for the purpose of offering a refrigerator replacement program. The statewide collaboration will replace a total of 450 inefficient refrigerators with Energy Star-certified refrigerators. It is anticipated that this will result in a savings of approximately 432,875 kWh over the 18-month grant period, thus providing an average of $127 in yearly savings for qualified low-income Delmarva customers.

    “We are grateful for the funding from the Empowerment Grant made possible by the merger of Exelon and Delmarva Power to provide an energy efficient solution to families at this most crucial time in our state,” said Kevin L. Smith, CEO of HFH of New Castle County. “Habitat for Humanity is concerned that all people have an affordable and decent place to live. Affordability includes an affordable mortgage or rent, as well a manageable energy bill.”

    “I am very enthusiastic and encouraged that Delaware will have its first comprehensive energy efficient appliance and replacement program,” said Jim Purcell, Empowerment Grant manager. “The program will put Delaware residents in control of their energy costs through efforts to install energy-efficient refrigerators, helping to bring about long-term energy savings to their homes.”

    “I’m excited about the potential of this program and its ability to bring savings directly into the homes of customers who will benefit most,” said Gary Stockbridge, Delmarva Power regional president. “As one of the home’s hardest-working appliances, refrigerators can drive up energy costs and are an important component of energy efficiency in every home. We are committed to helping maintain affordable energy service for all customers and are pleased to see this funding go toward an innovative program that will help more customers take control of their energy usage.”

    Additional program details about the EGP, including program qualifications, requirements and how to submit proposals can be found at www.empowergrantde.org. A Facebook page (@EmpowerGrantDE) and a Twitter account (@EmpowerGrantDE) are also available for public interaction and information.

  • July 28, 2020 9:39 AM | Philanthropy Delaware (Administrator)

    (June 23, 2020 Delaware Business Times) GREENWOOD – Discover Bank has received an Outstanding rating on its Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) review, a process that assesses banks’ record of helping to meet the credit needs of low- and moderate-income neighborhoods.

    It is the fifth time in six exam cycles since 2004 that the bank, which is primarily a marketer and originator of credit cards and the operator of the Discover Network credit card interchange, has received an Outstanding rating from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC).

    “Bank management has been creative in designing and implementing the bank’s CRA program, which includes providing loans and investments through partnerships with various for-profit and nonprofit organizations and financial institutions,” the FDIC said in the report. “The bank has also provided responsive grants and significant technical expertise to address community development needs.”

    Discover has only one branch and provides financial services through a nationwide direct bank strategy, using internet, mail, and phone. Loan products include personal credit cards, personal loans, student loans, home equity loans, deposit products, and small business credit cards.

    The CRA review was conducted during the fourth quarter of 2019 and covered the 2017, 2018, and 2019 calendar years. Discover met or exceeded its goals in the following areas.

    1. New Community Development Loans and Investments, providing $408 million in new qualified community development loans and investments ($117.8 million of that in 2019), exceeding its annual goals.

    2. Ratio of Community Development Loans and Qualified Investments to Average Assets, achieving at  least a 0.60% ratio in all three years and meeting its annual goals. 

    3. Community Development Grants, providing 190 community development grants and in-kind contributions totaling $13.6 million ($4.2 million in 2019), exceeding its annual goals.

    4. Community Development Services, with the bank exceeding its annual goals each year based on a point system created to track community development services.

    5. Consumer Loans in Moderate-Income Census Tracts, extending $7.4 million in consumer credit to its assessment area (2.2 million of that in 2019).

    6. CRA-Related Complaints. The bank did not receive any during the evaluation period.

    CRA “is a key focus within Discover, and we would not be happy with a Satisfactory,” Discover Bank President Jim Roszkowski said. “That’s how we approach CRA. It’s not just a feel-good rating. A poor rating limits what banks can do.”

    Roszkowski described Amy Walls and Matt Parks, the bank’s respective CRA assistant director and director, as the “backbone” of Discover’s program, saying they’re responsible for understanding community needs and creating or participating in programs that will have an impact on such areas as foreclosure prevention, affordable housing, small business and economic development, financial literacy, and affordable consumer loans.

    “We feel that we run the best program within the FDIC network, not just because we’re trying to address community need or because we’re trying to check a box to get a rating,” Roszkowski said. “We leverage the public, private, and academic sectors and focus on being innovative in finding and developing the best programs that meet community needs.”

    The Outstanding comes on the heels of Roszkowski being honored in February by the New York-based National Development Council (NDC), which directs capital to support the development and preservation of affordable housing, the creation of jobs through training and small business lending and the advancement of livable communities through investment in social infrastructure.

    Since Discover doesn’t issue commercial loans on its own, it provides capital to organizations such as NDC. Through that relationship, Discover Bank has:

    • Partnered with the state of Delaware and the Longwood Foundation in providing capital to NDC’s community development lender for below-market loans to small businesses in low-income areas. 
    • Financed the Delaware Innovation Space, which works with science and technology start-ups to transform them into industry-leading enterprises. 
    • Invested in NDC’s Community Impact Loan Fund to provide affordable debt to develop the Delaware Fintech Center on the University of Delaware’s STAR Campus. Discover just committed to a $38 million EQ2 CRA investment toward construction of the center.
     “Discover has been a willing and very innovative partner that allows us to do things that are a little more non-vanilla than other relationships,” said NDC President and CEO Dan Marsh. “We’ve worked with Matt, Amy, and Jim to put together what I believe is one of the most innovative small business lending efforts in the nation.”

    Marsh said that NDC has “many different banking relationships but in our relationship with Discover, we have actually been able to be creative with our small-business lending products.”

    “Matt determined a need in the market to provide [low-cost] capital because, in light of what has happened at DuPont and with the car industry, it’s more important than ever to support small-business creation and expansion,” Marsh said. “Discover agreed to buy our SBA loans fixed at seven-year Treasury and we agreed to cap our fees, which enabled us to provide loans at several hundred basis points below prevailing market rates. And they, along with other partners, provided grants that covered some of our administrative expenses to keep the rates as low as possible.”

    The FDIC also praised Discover for:

    • Committing $15 million to Cinnaire’s Affordable Housing Preservation Fund, which provides incentives to acquire, preserve, and rehabilitate rural affordable multi-family rental properties. This commitment helped transition 400 units of rental housing in coastal areas, a project that took most of the exam period and included getting approvals, identifying loan components; securing grants, and devoting service hours to the project. 
    • Financing the development and preservation of affordable rental housing through its own Affordable Housing Investment Fund, where Walls and Parks work with for-profit and nonprofit developers to identify projects in need of tax-credit equity and offset costs for project development, resident programs, and educational opportunities. Through this program, Discover has committed $77.3 million in equity, including $60.3 million in 2019.
    •  Developing an immigration loan program, in partnership with the Capital Good Fund, which provides loans for citizenship and family unification. 
    • Working with the Delaware State Housing Authority to help low- and moderate-income families. achieve the dream of home ownership.

    By Peter Osborne

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