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Member news plus local and national philanthropic reporting

  • May 14, 2021 1:23 PM | Philanthropy Delaware (Administrator)

    (Friday May 14, 2021 by Joe Houston YahooFinanceNew ways of making money have often generated new approaches to giving it away. With cryptocurrencies now worth more than all the U.S. dollars in circulation, holders face a crucial  question: what kind of donors do they want to be? 

    The rise of cryptocurrencies has forced the finance industry and the world at large to re-examine assumptions on transparency, efficiency and power distribution. And so, crypto donors have an exciting opportunity to not only grapple with the decision of “how much” but also “how.” How, in other words, can they add both to the pool of available resources and ensure it’s better spent?

    For better or worse, new sources of wealth often change how philanthropy works. John D. Rockefeller, America’s first billionaire, built its first modern foundation. Rockefeller had more money than he could give away himself and set up an entity to give according to a broad mandate long after his death. His peers – Carnegie, Mellon, Ford – soon followed and a new philanthropic tool was born.  

    Decades later, the personal computing revolution spurred Bill & Melinda Gates to position their foundation as a uniquely influential private player in the public health space. And in the years that followed, wealth from internet companies like Facebook drove the growth of effective altruism (or evidence-based philanthropy), as well as the expanded use of new legal structures like donor-advised funds or L.L.C.s.

    Crypto donors have already begun to make their mark. In 2018, a person (or persons) calling themselves Pine gave 5,104 bitcoin to 60 charities entirely anonymously. FTX is the world’s only trading platform, crypto or otherwise, that was founded explicitly, “with the goal of donating to the world’s most effective charities.” It donates 1% of its net fees (in 2020, its founder was baffled to find himself then-candidate Joe Biden’s second largest donor).

    New structures for giving have also developed. GitCoin uses quadratic funding to crowdsource and match funding for public goods in the Ethereum space. And nonprofit Noora Health issued an NFT promising the purchaser a digital claim to the impact achieved through the NFT’s purchase price. 

    This is just the beginning. In a conversation with economist Tyler Cowen, Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong said if Bitcoin’s price reaches $200,000, half of the world’s billionaires would be crypto billionaires.

    So how can crypto donors do the most good? First, they can join pioneers like Open Philanthropy Project in helping make altruism more effective. Too much giving still turns on anecdotes versus data. And more of those controlling the purse strings must ask the difficult questions about evidence and impact. 

    As the Managing Director of a nonprofit called GiveDirectly, I believe charities have much to learn from the transparency, efficiency, and decentralized power at the heart of crypto’s potential. The status quo aid model requires donor money to move through a complex web of multinational and local organizations before reaching its end-destination. Both dollars and information are often eroded along the way, and the end-user is too often deemed a passive recipient of goods or services, instead of an active agent of resource allocation.  

    One alternative is to simply give people money. At GiveDirectly, we have delivered over $380 million to hundreds of thousands of people, including residents in urban slums, refugees, and survivors of natural disasters across 10 countries. Direct cash transfers are not a silver bullet, but they’re evidence-backedefficient, and have been increasingly adopted as an industry benchmark

    Cutting out the middlemen in aid has resonated within the crypto community. People like Jack DorseyElon MuskVitalik Buterin have joined Pine and thousands of others in sending more than $25 million in cryptocurrencies to people in need through GiveDirectly. Cryptocurrencies or blockchain technology broadly could also help improve the implementation of giving itself better. Smart contracts could implement new approaches to results-based financing, public ledgers could open up new standards in transparent aid, or digital currencies could offer ways to distribute aid despite capital controls or inadequate fiat currencies. Of course, realizing these possibilities will require building with the world’s poorest people in mind (and investing more in those who are already doing so).

    While crypto donors have important decisions to make about how and where to give, the work begins further upstream within the industry itself. As Teddy Roosevelt remarked about the industrialists’ new foundations, “No amount of charities in spending such fortunes can compensate in any way for the misconduct in acquiring them.” For cryptocurrency, that may mean tackling carbon footprints, rooting out the scams that prey on its most vulnerable community members, collaborating productively with regulators and tax authorities, or ensuring tomorrow’s financial system includes more diverse perspectives than today’s. 

    Still, if the giving often looks like the earning, there’s a lot to be hopeful about in the rise of crypto-philanthropy. Let’s make sure it delivers on that potential.

  • May 13, 2021 5:00 PM | Philanthropy Delaware (Administrator)

    (May 13, 2021 by Holly Quinn Technical.ly) Delaware's newest free-Wi-Fi center supports both at-risk income youth and veterans in partnership with The Green Beret Project. 

    Last March, 10 years after launching its Internet Essentials program for low income households, Comcast announced it would invest $1 billion over the next 10 years in an effort to help close the digital divide.

    The Lift Zone project is part of that investment, providing free Wi-Fi, devices and, in some cases, learning pods to community centers that serve low-income families, including eight in New Castle County.

    As part of the NASCAR Xfinity Series Dash 4 Cash race last weekend at Dover International Speedway, Comcast announced the opening of a new Lift Zone in Dover, created in partnership with The Green Beret Project.

    The Green Beret Project is a volunteer-run project started by servicemembers in Dover that offers at-risk youth after-school and weekend programming. It has locations in Dover, Georgetown and Wilmington, as well as St. Louis and Kansas City in Missouri.

    “We’re proud to support military veterans who are making a difference in their communities,” said Rebecca Gray, executive director of military and veteran affairs at Comcast, in a statement. “Through this Lift Zone at the Green Beret Project, young people will be able to access education, job training, and other critical resources through the Internet.”

    Comcast has been launching projects aimed at closing the digital divide in tandem with the Dash 4 Cash race since 2018.

    “For years, Comcast has shown its commitment to supporting low-income families and veterans by ensuring they have access to an affordable and reliable internet connection,” said Adam Kramer, state director of The Green Beret Project. “We’re proud to partner with Comcast on the opening of this Lift Zone and look forward to the positive benefits it will bring to the Dover community.”

  • May 13, 2021 12:05 PM | Philanthropy Delaware (Administrator)

    (May 13 by Bank of America Newsroom) Bank of America is a Philanthropy Delaware Member.  Nearly 90% of Affluent Americans Gave to Charities in 2020, and Nearly Half Gave for Pandemic Relief, Finds Study from Bank of America and Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. 

    In a year dramatically disrupted by the pandemic, affluent Americans’ generosity didn’t waver, according to preliminary findings from the 2021 Bank of America Study of Philanthropy: Charitable Giving by Affluent Households. The vast majority of affluent Americans, nearly 90%, gave to charity in 2020. And nearly half (47%) donated to charitable organizations or financially supported individuals or businesses in direct response to the pandemic.

    Preliminary findings from this nationwide survey of more than 1,600 affluent households1, conducted in collaboration with the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at IUPUI, revealed three distinct shifts in giving behavior related to the pandemic:

    • An increase in supporting local community needs
    • An increase in unrestricted gifts to a variety of nonprofit organizations 
    • An increase in virtual interactions between nonprofits and donors

    Additional ways in which affluent households responded to this historic period included:

    • In response to the pandemic, 93% of households maintained or increased their giving to frontline organizations providing basic needs, healthcare and medicine; 85% of households maintained or increased their giving for spiritual and religious purposes; and 94% of households maintained or increased their giving for other purposes (e.g., education, the arts, and the environment).
    • Despite the constraints of social distancing and other challenges brought on by the pandemic, one in three affluent Americans (30%) volunteered during 2020. Among those who volunteered, 71% either maintained (48%) or increased (23%) their volunteering activities.

    Charities Chart Types of Charities

    “Philanthropic households rose to the extraordinary challenges presented by the pandemic,” said Ann Limberg, head of Philanthropic, Bank of America Private Bank. “This sustained commitment by donors shows the importance of a strategic approach to philanthropy that is still flexible enough to respond to a sudden surge in need. It is also a testament to the resilience of those charitable organizations that were able to pivot and effectively use technology to engage with donors during such difficult times.”

    Donors focused on meeting local needs

    In response to the pandemic, affluent households focused their efforts primarily on the communities in which they live, increasing their support of local charities, individuals and businesses. Ninety percent (90%) of affluent households that increased their giving for basic needs and medical care in 2020 directed their donations to organizations in their own communities, 35% supported U.S. organizations outside of their community, and 15% gave internationally.

    Charity chart survey results Directed Charities

    Unrestricted donations gave recipients flexibility

    While donors often place restrictions on how or where their gifts may be spent, many donors gave general current use (i.e., unrestricted) gifts in 2020, allowing recipients flexibility to meet priority needs. Among households who gave to arts and cultural organizations, health and medical organizations, or educational institutions, large numbers gave unrestricted gifts (83%; 75%; 74% respectively).  

    “In times of crisis, Americans have historically responded quickly and generously to assist others and address urgent needs,” said Una Osili, Ph.D., Efroymson Chair in Philanthropy,  Professor of Economics and Philanthropic Studies and Associate Dean for Research and International Programs at the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. “During the pandemic, unrestricted giving by affluent Americans supported continuing operations at many nonprofits, enabling them to continue serving their communities, and was a significant aspect of giving behavior during the pandemic. Additionally, many households expanded giving by donating to local businesses and individuals during the pandemic.”

    Donors stayed connected with nonprofits despite lockdowns and social distancing

    The vast majority of affluent Americans (88%) said that the lockdowns and social distancing, common in 2020, had little to no impact on their households’ philanthropy. However, the pandemic did change how donors engaged with the organizations they support, with nonprofits adapting to restrictions on personal interaction by shifting programming, events and other interaction into virtual formats. Nearly a third of affluent Americans (31%) reported that the organizations they supported reached out to them virtually. Among those households, 53% experienced more frequent contact via email, 43% experienced more frequent virtual events and galas, 32% experienced more frequent outreach via social media, and 27% experienced more frequent outreach via physical mail.

    To further explore these and other related insights from the study, click here

    1Households with a net worth of $1 million or more (excluding the value of their primary home) and/or an annual household income of $200,000 or more.

    Methodology

    The 2021 Bank of America Study of Philanthropy: Charitable Giving by Affluent Households asked about giving in 2020. Development of the survey was a collaborative effort between Bank of America and the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. The Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy analyzed the responses for data validity and generated the statistical output. Analysis of survey results was a joint effort between the partners.

    The survey was conducted using data obtained by Ipsos, including responses from its KnowledgePanel®, a nationally-representative, probability-based panel offering highly accurate and representative samples for online research. Ipsos engaged with the online panel, administered the survey to them, and scrubbed the responses for data validity.

  • May 11, 2021 3:45 PM | Philanthropy Delaware (Administrator)

    (May 11, 2021 by Press Release)  Community leaders and key stakeholders gathered both virtually and in person – on May 11 at 1:00 p.m. for the Delaware Libraries Telehealth Launch Party to celebrate the official launch of telehealth kiosks at the Laurel Public Library, Milford Public Library, and Seaford District Library. The Delaware libraries are the first libraries in the nation to receive the innovative technology of the kiosk services for rural communities to increase access to technology.

    ACCESS TO TECHNOLOGY

    The telehealth kiosks at Delaware Libraries are a part of a larger initiative to increase access and connectivity for all Delawareans, especially in rural communities. The other aspects of the initiative include increased access to technology with the ability to borrow a Chromebook and open access to WiFi hotspots through the Delaware libraries devices for up to one week – for free!  Over 16% of households in Sussex County have no internet access; higher than the national and state average of households without internet access. The barriers for individuals and households to access technology include the availability, infrastructure, as well as the affordability of both devices and internet services. In the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic many services moved to virtual delivery, even in-person services were now in a virtual platform, providing additional barriers for individuals to access needed services.

    SOCIAL SERVICE KIOSKS: SAFE, ACCESSIBLE, AND PRIVATE SPACES

    If an individual needs a quiet and private space to conduct a virtual job interview, talk to a therapist, or other needs, they now have access to a place that meets their needs! The kiosk service provides a private, soundproof space for library patrons to access social services, including telehealth, legal information, and employment assistance.

    The wheel-chair accessible spaces fit two to three individuals and have high-speed internet iPads with camera accessibility. There is dedicated software pre-loaded on the devices, such as Zoom, Skype, or other video-conferencing software. Health and sanitation precautions are taken in the kiosks, which are all equipped with the UV sterilization and hand sanitizer stations.

    In addition, Seaford District Library provides a Social Worker and Navigators to assist individuals in getting connected to additional services they may need.

    COLLABORATIVE FUNDING

    The project encompassing the telehealth services, kiosks, and device rentals, was a part of the Vision Grant Program, within the COVID-19 Strategic Response Fund. The grant program invested in innovative solutions that addressed emerging and evolving needs that arose or were exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Philanthropy Delaware supported this project –which allowed members’ to provide feedback and offer financial support through. Philanthropy Delaware CEO, Tynetta Brown, states, “ We are pleased to see that the Vision Grant Program within the Strategic Response Fund offers an opportunity to meet Delawareans where they are, by bringing this initiative before some of our Members who see the need to provide wraparound supports to communities that are under resourced.”

    Along with the Delaware Division of Libraries, the following Philanthropy Delaware members have contributed support for the kiosks, as part of the Vision Grant Program:

    -          Barclays US Consumer Bank 
    -          Discover Financial Services
    -          Delaware Community Foundation
    -          Highmark Delaware
    -          Longwood Foundation
    -          Welfare Foundation

    To learn more about the Delaware Public Libraries Telehealth Kiosk Services:
    GetConnected.DelawareLibraries.org  #GetConnectedDE

  • May 05, 2021 4:30 PM | Philanthropy Delaware (Administrator)

    (May 1, 2021 by The Oklahoman) Wells Fargo is a Philanthropy Delaware Member. Wells Fargo Foundation has provided $225 million to nonprofits that help individuals, families, entrepreneurs and communities, with a focus on assisting racially and ethnically diverse people disproportionately affected by the pandemic.

    While the tireless work of medical professionals, teachers and grocery store workers has rightfully been celebrated throughout the pandemic, you may be less familiar with the work of housing counselors.

    During a challenging year that exacerbated the U.S. housing crisis, those close to the situation say that housing counselors are the pandemic’s unsung heroes.

    “Having a safe and affordable place to call home helps lay the foundation for wellness, dignity, and economic opportunity, and throughout the pandemic, housing counselors have continued to help their clients avoid eviction and remain in their homes,” says Eileen Fitzgerald, head of housing affordability philanthropy with Wells Fargo.

    Most counseling agencies are approved by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, making their advice objective. According to Fitzgerald, here are three ways housing counselors can help during a pandemic:

    • Offer homeownership advice.

    Navigating the process of home buying and home ownership is extremely challenging. Housing counselors provide independent advice on buying a home, refinancing, defaults, foreclosures and credit issues.

    They also provide advice about whether a particular set of mortgage loan terms is a good fit based on individual circumstances, often at little or no cost. During the coronavirus emergency, they’ve also helped homeowners understand their current options for relief and protection.

    • Provide help for renters.

    Housing security can be tenuous for renters in the best of times. During a global pandemic that caused widespread income loss, unemployment and illness, many found themselves unable to make rent on time.

    Housing counselors helped individuals leverage protections for renters, as well as provided trusted guidance, including enrolling renters in need of assistance in plans to address sustainable rent repayment, debt management, and improve their long-term financial health.

    • Close the housing gap.

    The work of housing counselors addresses systemic inequalities related to housing in an effort to close the housing security gap, particularly critical during the pandemic, which has disproportionately affected Black, Latino and Indigenous communities.

    New support

    Recognizing the need to keep Americans housed during the pandemic and beyond, the Wells Fargo Foundation has provided $225 million to nonprofits that help individuals, families, entrepreneurs and communities, with a focus on assisting racially and ethnically diverse people disproportionately affected by the pandemic. As part of this effort, the foundation has awarded grants totaling more than $80 million for housing-specific initiatives, including:

    • Grants to nonprofits that offer eviction and foreclosure prevention assistance, rental assistance and financial counseling.

    • Donations to organizations providing free or low-cost legal assistance and representation for renters, particularly vulnerable people disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.

    • Grants for Community Development Financial Institutions serving rural, persistently poor communities.

    • Housing stability grants for national nonprofit housing intermediaries and local community-based housing nonprofits.

    “Through our support of housing counselors, we hope to inspire meaningful change to a long history of systemic inequality, injustice, loss of wealth and housing instability experienced by people of color, particularly during times of economic distress,” Fitzgerald says.

    To learn more, go to hud.gov/findacounselor.

  • May 05, 2021 1:30 PM | Philanthropy Delaware (Administrator)

    (April 20, 2021 by Debra Wallace, Delaware Business Times) Autism Delaware’s Productive Opportunities for Work and Recreation (POW&R) transforms the lives of adults with autism.

    When 26-year-old Ethan Kempner of Wilmington heads to work at Grotto Pizza in Middletown, he has two objectives: work hard and enjoy a slice or two.

    Kempner was diagnosed with autism at age 2, and at 21 completed the specially tailored statewide Delaware Autism Program in the Christina School District.

    Through Autism Delaware’s Productive Opportunities for Work and Recreation (POW&R), a community-based vocational nonprofit that launched in 2007, he has been successfully employed for several years.

    Along with his paycheck for kitchen work, dishwashing and helping to keep the pizza shop spotless, Kempner is gaining much- needed social skills and camaraderie with the help of his full-time aide and other employees, and is proving that teens and adults with autism or other special needs can thrive at work.

    When asked, Kempner—who is verbal but limited in his ability to communicate—says he is proud of his work, affirming that he likes the job and socializing with his co-workers. But the best part? “The pizza!” he says.

    Why is all of this so important to local families and the greater community?

    In a nutshell, it has to do with the dismal national employment statistics for adults with autism. A 2013 Drexel University study found that in the first eight years after high school, just 53 percent of young adults on the autism spectrum had ever worked for pay outside the home, and only 20 percent had been or were currently employed full time.

    Another study from the United Nations in 2015 revealed an estimated 80 percent international unemployment rate for adults with autism after graduating from high school, as well as many years later. Many experts agree these statistics have not improved in recent years, due to the lack of job skills programs around the U.S. and presumptions of incompetence.

    As a result, concerned parents and caregivers frequently share in support groups that they envision an uncertain future in which their loved ones “fall off the cliff” when it comes to employment, community involvement or available services, According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), autism affects an estimated 1 in 54 children in the U.S. today.

    Autism, or autism spectrum disorder, refers to a broad range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, speech and nonverbal communication; 31 percent of children with autism have an intellectual disability (IQ of 70 or below), 25 percent are in the borderline range (IQ 71 to 85) and 44 percent have IQ scores in the average to above-average range (IQ 85 or above).

    What worries some parents and community advocates is that social isolation and lack of job opportunities will lead to difficulties with self-confidence and a life without goals or a sense of purpose, according to noted autism expert Temple Grandin, Ph.D., professor of animal science at Colorado State University. This concern over the future is what she often hears during her sold-out presentations about autism.

    “A lot of these young people are graduating from high school without any productive work skills like those previously taught in car mechanics, cooking or sewing classes,” Grandin says. (An eponymous 2010 biopic starring Claire Danes tells Grandin’s story, focusing on how her acute sensitivity to animals helped her revolutionize industrial-farming practices; the film won five Emmys and a Golden Globe, among other awards.)“We need to stretch our children, just enough, outside of their comfort zone. If I did not have my work, I would not have my purpose in life.” Grandin, a high-achieving adult with autism who has written dozens of books about the topic, says it starts with giving children chores and volunteer jobs in churches or community centers, and continues with forming relationships in the neighborhoods.

    “[Activities could include] dog walking, cooking for the church social or helping to set up a booth at a farmers market,” she explains. “It’s about learning how to work and adhere to a schedule at age 10 or 11, and enforcing a family work ethic and not allowing your child and his or her skills to be underestimated.”

    The public’s perception of autism is often negative, but innovative vocational programs like Autism Delaware, willing employers and welcoming businesses are working together to change that by showcasing the abilities and talents of people with autism.

    Kempner’s mother, Marcy—one of the founders of Autism Delaware with Ethan’s father, Artie—says the first goal was to create a vocational program. “We needed more than the school—we needed an opportunity to raise money and awareness, and to provide support for families,” she says. “I dedicated my life to building this organization.” Ethan previously volunteered transcribing books into Braille and doing spreadsheets for a nonprofit. Currently, he works at Grotto’s twice a week and does computer and office work at the DuPont Country Club once a week.

    Marcy would like employers and the community to understand that hiring adults with special needs does not bring added headaches or burdens. In fact, it does just the opposite.

    “This is not about taking a hit by employing people with disabilities,” she says. “These are the most reliable employees that you’ve ever had; they will show up, work hard and even do tasks that may seem mundane to other people. This is a positive message that needs to get out. There isn’t one person who has met my son whose life he hasn’t enriched and made better, including my own.”

    Ethan’s employers echo the sentiment. Glenn Byrum, the director of human resources for Grotto’s 23 shops, remembers when they began employing adults through Autism Delaware’s programs, as well as through Easterseals—the country’s largest nonprofit healthcare organization committed to the needs of the 1 in 4 Americans living with a disability—nine years ago.

    “Most importantly, we believe that everyone deserves a chance to work for our company, regardless of age, background, differences of opinion or societal status,” he says. “We want an environment where everyone feels at home and can flourish, including people with disabilities. Those adults who have come to us are thrilled to contribute to society and feel that sense of importance and pride. They end up doing an exemplary job for us.”

    While many experts agree that employment training and finding work are among the biggest hurdles for this population nationally, Autism Delaware’s POW&R director Katina Demetriou says the First State is ahead of the curve, noting that some 75 percent of her program’s participants have secured jobs during the past 14 years.

    “Our biggest challenge is that some businesses are not aware of the employment skills and talents that individuals with autism can bring to the workforce,” she says. “We have to look at what needs to be done so that the young adult is able to become an employee and productive citizen in their community.”

    Demetriou says 14 is about the age when parents and caregivers should start looking for internships and job skills opportunities for their children with special needs. This is when the transition begins at school to looking at life after age 21, and determining how to incorporate these goals in an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) or 504 Plan, formal roadmaps developed for elementary and secondary schoolchildren who have a recognized disability to receive the support they need to ensure their academic success.

    Overall, the state and its public education system work in collaboration with families to help this process, she says. “We are all looking at the future—who is going to do what to support this and to make sure the individual is a success.”

    Demetriou adds that there is no “one size fits all” when it comes to employment. Therefore, person-centered planning is a critical part of what she does.

    “We match the individual’s skills to the employment opportunity,” she says. “We know what they need to be successful, and we are constantly providing information and training to our community business partners. They may need a co-worker or a job coach at their side, or they may not.”

    One key factor is that the adults she places “are not only meeting the expectations but they are exceeding them.” Abbie Mirabella, Ethan’s job coach and direct support professional from POW&R, has worked with him at both jobs and at home for the past two years, where she’s seen tremendous growth.

    “I love seeing Ethan communicate with his co-workers and watching his level of independence increase,” she says, noting that these skills transfer to his home life.

    “He is happier when we are working, because he values having something productive to do.”

    In Delaware, there are employment opportunities for adults with autism in area hospitals; mom-and-pop shops; larger corporations, including Home Depot and T.J. Maxx; and brick-and- mortar businesses like Waggies by Maggie and Friends, a nonprofit, veterinarian- approved dog treat company in North Wilmington dedicated to employing people with intellectual disabilities.

    Founders Mary Ann Nolan and Leigh Corrigan started the business for their daughters, Maggie and Elizabeth, in 2007 when the girls turned 21; Elizabeth has Down syndrome and Maggie is nonverbal but able to connect with others. As part of the commitment to the vision, five of their bakers have autism. The fact that so many young men and women with disabilities are unemployed continues to be the inspiration for growing the business.

    “Our whole mission is to empower people with intellectual disabilities in our community, offer support, pay a minimum wage and keep it on a personal level,” Nolan says. “The difference between Waggies and other employers is that many of our people are still working here 12 years later. When Elizabeth, the youngest of my five children, was born, I became a staunch advocate for people with intellectual disabilities. I saw that Elizabeth and others like her need to be recognized for their talent, not their disability.”

    For those who wonder what Ethan’s life—and those of his peers—would look like without paid employment, Marcy Kempner says, “Unfortunately, he would probably just be sitting at home without a lot of options. Even during the coronavirus pandemic, he has been doing great, thanks to the team that’s continuing to support his work. My son is happy with his life. What more would a loving parent want?”

  • May 04, 2021 4:23 PM | Philanthropy Delaware (Administrator)

    (April 14, 2021 by Kim Hoey Delaware Live) The Delaware Division of Libraries is a Philanthropy Delaware member as well as project partners Barclays US Consumer Bank, Delaware Community Foundation,  Discover Bank, Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield Delaware, Longwood Foundation, and Welfare Foundation.

    The wheelchair-accessible booths are equipped with computers to allow people to access telehealth services, online job interviews or even legal appointments.

    Check out a book, read a magazine, get your blood pressure checked, have a doctor’s appointment, meet with your lawyer – all these might be a reason to go to the library.

    Social Service Kiosks are now available at Laurel, Seaford and Milford libraries. These kiosk are sound-proof, self-contained, wheelchair accessible spaces that fit two to three people. They are equipped with dedicated software-loaded computers to allow people to access telehealth services, online job interviews or even legal appointments.

    “It’s what our community needs,” said Rachel Wackett, deputy executive director. “It’s our little part to fix the disparity we see every day.”

    The kiosks arrived in March and are in a period of “soft opening,” right now while the libraries work out the best way to use them. Wackett said they expect it will be a combination of scheduled times mixed with the flexibility for people to walk in to use the facility.

    Before and during the pandemic the library has been a place for people to come for help, said Wackett. Librarians have helped with everything from signing people up for benefits to helping them with filing taxes. The kiosks will help by providing safe and private places for treatment and online interaction, she said.

    Nickolas Martin, telehealth coordinator for Delaware Libraries, said there were several motivating factors that prompted the Delaware Libraries to consider remote access to social services such as telehealth, as well as legal and employment opportunities.

    They included a lack of behavioral health specialists in the state, notably Sussex County; increased depression and drug overdose rates statewide; and a general lack of access to internet and technology.

    “For instance, in Sussex County, it is estimated that 12% of Sussex County residents do not own a computing device and 21% of Sussex County households do not have broadband internet,” Martin said. “The public libraries have some of the fastest internet in the state, and internet connection is a vital component to a successful telehealth visit, so the synergy was clear.”

    While the kiosks are in a pilot phase now, “we have plans to expand this service statewide later this year,” Martin said. “Like libraries in rural communities, libraries in urban communities face similar barriers to social service access.”

    ​The Seaford District Library offers access to social workers, employment specialists, English language instruction, notary services and certification testing. Besides the kiosk, the library also received a $150,000 grant to hire an onsite community health nurse.

    Wackett’s hope is that all services would work together seamlessly. People could come to the library for a check-up by the nurse, or counseling with an intern. If the library patron then needed additional services they could secure them through a telehealth doctor and have the appointment privately in the kiosk. They could even sign up for insurance if they needed it.

    The kiosk is outfitted with hand sanitizer. It is also set up to be sanitized with ultraviolet light after every use, said Wackett.

    She also expects the kiosk to be used for people filing for criminal case expungements and immigrants to file for citizenship. In the past people would have to go to Philadelphia for immigration services, she said.

    The kiosk is being piloted through public and private grants.

    Wackett said even her staff has shown interest in using the kiosk to attend appointments without having to leave work.

    To schedule time in a kiosk go to Delawarelibraries.libcal.com/appointments/socialservicekiosk.

  • May 04, 2021 10:00 AM | Philanthropy Delaware (Administrator)

    (May 3, 2021 by Holly Quinn Technical.ly) Longwood Foundation, a Philanthropy Delaware member, provided matching dollars to support the continuation of the learning pods at 12 community organizations, led by the United Way of Delaware (also a Philanthropy Delaware member), and Wilmington Community Advisory Council. 

    A program offering access to Wi-Fi and a safe, hands-on learning experience to kids from under-resourced neighborhoods is continuing.

    In October 2020, United Way of Delaware and Wilmington Community Advisory Council received $90,000 in CARES Act funds to launch learning pods at 12 community organizations, an amount that has been matched by the Longwood Foundation. The pods came during a time when closed schools and mandated virtual learning were leaving Black and brown communities behind.

    In March, Comcast also committed $1 billion over 10 years in support of nationwide digital equity, which included providing free Wi-Fi to eight New Castle County community centers, including several that had launched the learning pods, as part of its Lift Zone program.

    Now, as the school year is coming to an end, the orgs are partnering at the same time students are at risk of falling into the summer opportunity gap (which is an issue every summer) just as they are starting to catch up during a first-of-its-kind year.

    The Delaware Racial Justice Collaborative (DRJC), a statewide group of community-based organizations committed to eliminating systemic racism in Delaware and overseen by the United Way of Delaware, has announced that some of those pods, including the five in high-needs Comcast Lift Zones, will continue to serve students after the school year ends.

    The collaborative “has been supporting learning pods across Delaware from the beginning of the pandemic,” said Michelle Taylor, United Way of Delaware president and CEO, in a statement. “With the help of corporate partners, the state’s school districts, and our agency partners, the DRJC is helping keep 27 learning pods active through the end of the 2021 school year. And we plan to keep as many open as possible this summer to help children catch up on academic assignments they may have missed during this unusual school year. Without internet access, none of this would be possible.”

    The five learning pods now designated as Comcast Lift Zones, all in Wilmington, are:

    • Clarence Fraim Boys & Girls Club
    • Latin American Community Center
    • Kingswood Community Center
    • Bellevue Community Center
    • West End Neighborhood House

    “The pandemic has put many low-income families at risk of being left behind, and we’re proud to work with community partners to support them with internet adoption and digital equity programs like this one,” said Jim Samaha, SVP of Comcast’s Freedom Region. “We hope these Lift Zones help New Castle County families stay connected to vital resources.”

  • April 14, 2021 5:02 PM | Philanthropy Delaware (Administrator)

    (April 14, 2021 by Sydney Kerelo, Delaware Today) JPMorgan Chase is a Philanthropy Delaware Member. 

    JPMorgan Chase launched a meal donation program to provide relief for minority-owned restaurants that are struggling financially in Wilmington and the surrounding area due to the COVID-19 pandemic 

    Some of the restaurants, including Walt’s Chicken Express, Carmen’s Kitchen, The Chicken Spot, Desserts by Dana, Grapes Real Jamaican Cuisine, Celebrations on Market Street, Zoup and Russell’s Quality Foodsreceived relief by providing an expanded customer base through word-of-mouth marketing by local organizations that JPMorgan Chase supports. 

    Girls Inc., Latin American Community Center (LACC) and the Boys and Girls Club are some of the nonprofit organizations the program has been able to help through food donationsAlong with local police stations like the Wilmington Police Department and the Delaware State Police Troop 1fire departments—Wilmington Fire Department & Paramedics, Talleyville Fire Department—and even hospitals—Wilmington Hospital House, Wilmington Hospital ER, and Nemours—have been helped through the JPMorgan Chase meal donation program.  

    Since the program launch in November 2020, approximately 25-100 people are fed on a weekly basis. To date, nearly 800 people have been fed through this program.  

  • April 12, 2021 1:58 PM | Philanthropy Delaware (Administrator)

    (April 12, 2021 by Technical.ly) Discover is a Philanthropy Delaware Member. The FinTech Innovation Hub, a $38 million Delaware Technology Park project that is currently under construction on the University of Delaware’s Science Technology and Advanced Research (STAR) Campus, is on track for a late 2021 opening.

    In February, the building of the six-story, 100,000-square-foot structure reached its midpoint, to low-key COVID-era fanfare. But the hub, a public-private partnership between Delaware Technology Park, UD and Discover Bank, which will be a tenant in the new building, is highly anticipated, to be sure.

    Once open, the FinTech Innovation Hub will offer spaces for startups, with access to business development resources and technical assistance, as well as labs and centers associated with UD’s College of Engineering and Alfred Lerner College of Business and Economics. The space will also include a Delaware Small Business Development Center (SBDC), and aims to be be a resource for financial technology companies and organizations, both connected with UD and from the wider community.

    If all of that sounds like something you’d like to know more about, Tech Forum — which recently added entrepreneur and advocate Garry Johnson III to its board of directors — will hold a free virtual discussion on the topic on Wednesday, April 28, from 4 to 5:30 p.m. on Zoom. The talk will define fintech (that’s short for financial technology) and discuss the fintech ecosystem growth and the impact it has on Delaware, as well as details about the new building.

    The speakers will be:

    •  J. Michael Bowman, associate director of UD’s Office of Economic Innovation and Partnerships; state director of the Delaware SBDC; and founder and president of the Delaware Technology Park
    • Amy Walls, principal of community reinvestment at Discover Bank, who manages community development activities to support the bank’s Community Reinvestment Act compliance, including charitable giving and service activities in Delaware

    The 90-minute event will include networking. Register here.

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