News
Member news plus local and national philanthropic reporting

  • October 28, 2020 1:00 PM | Philanthropy Delaware (Administrator)

    (October 27, 2020 by Press Release) – Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield is a Member of Philanthropy Delaware.  Highmark is pleased to share that through a collaboration with one of its vendors, Blue Bear Protection, any organization can order PPE and supplies in bulk quantities and at a discounted rate.

    This announcement follows the organization’s initiative to provide more than 1.3 million cloth face masks across its footprint. Most recently, Highmark Inc. donated over 100,000 masks to community organizations throughout Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Delaware. The initiative, which launched in May, was yet another way Highmark provided support to its members and the community amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, Highmark also provided PPE and supplies to nearly 500 school districts across Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Delaware. The donation included enough face masks for students in each district, face shields for teachers, disinfectant wipes, hand sanitizer, and resource material for best practice amid COVID-19.

    “We encourage our members and community partners to visit the site if they are seeking PPE supplies. The public can also visit faqs.discoverhighmark.com for COVID updates, online symptom checker, and to find local resources and specialized services,” said Nick Moriello, president of Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield Delaware.

    Any organization, regardless of its affiliation to Highmark, is welcome to purchase PPE from the specialized website, http://hmkcommunityppe.com/.

    ###

    About Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield Delaware
    Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield Delaware serves approximately 441,000 members through the company’s health care benefits business. It is an influential company in the market generating an economic impact of $135 million and supporting more than 1,000 direct and indirect jobs across the state. Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield Delaware is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, an association of independent Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies. For more information, visit www.highmarkbcbsde.com.

  • October 26, 2020 4:30 PM | Philanthropy Delaware (Administrator)

    (October 26, 2020 by Press Release) - Philanthropy Delaware is pleased to announce that Ms. Tynetta Brown has been hired to serve as CEO, effective November 9, 2020.

    Ms. Brown will work to expand philanthropic awareness in Delaware, assist members and other organizational partners to increase the impact of grantmaking, and ensure members have access to national best practices and philanthropic resources.  She will be responsible for the day-to-day administration of the organization, including administrative responsibilities, member services, educational programming, and the implementation of the strategic plan.

    “The Board of Directors is thrilled to welcome Tynetta at a crucial time when philanthropy must be at its best and when the organization is better poised than ever to address critical issues and policies that affect Delawareans,” said Board Chair, Vernita Dorsey. “She brings a fresh perspective to the work that we do and has the experience and capacity to lead the organization through the next phase of our 10-year strategic plan. Additionally, I’d like to thank the search team led by Board Treasurer Regina Alonzo, the entire Board of Directors, and our dedicated staff for successfully managing operations during this interim period.”   

    Recently, Ms. Brown served as the Director of Development and Marketing/Communications for the WRK Group (The Warehouse, REACH Riverside Development Corporation and Kingswood Community Center). She was responsible for implementation and collaborative oversight of fundraising efforts and the marketing and communications efforts for all three entities.

    Prior to the WRK Group, she was employed at United Way of Delaware as the Director of Community Impact as well as the Associate Director of Health. She also served as staff liaison on the Public Policy Committee, as an Ally to their PRIDE Council Affinity Group, which focused on LGBTQ+ youth, adult health, and workplace equity, while representing the organization on various committees, task forces, and conference planning teams related to youth, education, policy, and health.

    “I am truly honored to have been selected for this leadership role and commit to leverage the breadth of my qualifications and relationships – along with that of the team and our Board – to continue to advance philanthropy in our state, further position the organization as the “go to” in the sector, and collaboratively strive for better outcomes from the investments our members make,” said Ms. Brown.  

    Ms. Brown has over 23 years of experience in the public health, corporate, and pharmaceutical sectors with demonstrated skills in strategic sponsorship development, relationship management, social marketing, and management of non-profit and government programs. Additionally, she has expertise in public policy and advocacy that emphasized health and economic equity. 

    Her past career also includes serving as Vice-President, Social Marketing with Ogilvy Public Relations in Washington, DC; Director, Corporate Relations for the American College of Cardiology in Washington, DC; Senior Alliance Development Manager in the cardiovascular franchise at AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals; Executive Director of the Tri-State Stroke Network for the North Carolina Dept. of Health and Human Services and the CDC; Program Manager for both the American Heart Association and Operation Health 27610 in North Carolina.

    Tynetta currently serves on the Board of Trustees for Christiana Care and Kids Chance of America and Delaware. Previous national, local board and volunteer service includes the Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition, WomenHeart:The National Coalition for Women with Heart Disease, The Delaware Contemporary, the National Coalition of 100 Black Women-Delaware Chapter(VP of Development), and the US-DHHS Heart Attack Expert Panel.

    Awards and honors include: Board Leadership Award recipient from the Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition, Delaware Today magazine’s Women in Business Award, and recognition by the Association of Black Cardiologists with the Commitment to Diversity and the Elimination of Health Care Disparities Award.

    She is also an Interior Design/Lifestyle contributor for Women of MORE magazine, a recent contributor to the upcoming November release of the anthology project Love Letters to My Girls:100 Black Women Speak to the Hearts of Black Women & Girls. Ms. Brown has contributed to several blogs and health-related publications and co-authored an issue of the Journal of Healthcare for the Poor and Underserved.

    Her personal passions include interior and jewelry design. She has consulted on small projects offering tailored solutions in strategic planning, marketing, project management, partnership engagement, and design for community environments.

    About Philanthropy Delaware Inc.

    At Philanthropy Delaware Inc, we strive to advance philanthropy in the first state, by connecting key stakeholders to drive meaningful impact for all Delawareans.  

    To become a member or learn more about the organization, visit our website at www.philanthropydelaware.org  
  • October 21, 2020 11:30 AM | Philanthropy Delaware (Administrator)

    (October 18, 2020 by By Joan Hoge-North & Mike DiPaolo Delaware Business Times) - While much of the government funding for coronavirus relief has been focused on helping individuals and businesses, several lesser-known provisions aim to stimulate philanthropy through increased tax incentives around charitable giving for both individuals and corporations. 

    As you contemplate maximizing the impact of your year-end giving, consider taking advantage of these provisions of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act
    of 2020:

    Deduct $300 in charitable giving, even if you don’t itemize.

    This year, taxpayers who do not itemize can deduct up to $300 ($600 for married couples filing jointly) in charitable giving “above the line,” reducing your taxable income by that amount for tax year 2020. Most taxpayers do not itemize and, therefore, do not typically benefit from charitable deductions, which can lower your adjusted gross income (AGI), thereby reducing your tax base. The CARES Act changes that for 2020, making it attractive for moderate-income individuals to help nonprofits with critical needs.

    Deduct more of your AGI.

    In 2020, taxpayers can deduct up to 100% of their AGI for charitable cash contributions, compared to the normal 60% maximum. And, if an individual or couple happens to donate more than 100% of their AGI, the standard five-year carryover still applies. If you are considering making a major gift, now is the time to make it happen for a significantly increased tax benefit.

    Deduct more of your corporate taxable income.

    Similar to individual taxpayers, corporations can deduct up to 25% of taxable income for charitable contributions in tax year 2020, compared to the usual 10%.

    Of course, even these modest incentives come with a few strings attached. First, charitable contributions in all three situations are limited to cash contributions (no in-kind gifts, appreciate stock or other real property). Second, gifts to private foundations and donor advised funds, such as those held at the Delaware Community Foundation, are not eligible. However, gifts are eligible to other DCF funds, including scholarship funds, designated funds, nonprofit funds, and giving circles, such as the Fund for Women and the African American Empowerment Fund. 

    Time is running out! All of these provisions end on Dec. 31. If you are associated with a nonprofit, make sure your donors know about these giving incentives. If you are associated

    with your corporate giving program, this is a great year to increase your charitable giving. And if you are able to dig deep and increase your personal giving this year, you will not only make a meaningful difference in your community during this year like no other, but also benefit from some tax savings,

    To make a year-end cash gift to a fund or program at the DCF please visit www.delcf.org/ways-to-give/.

  • October 16, 2020 12:53 PM | Philanthropy Delaware (Administrator)

    New Castle – Easterseals Delaware & Maryland’s Eastern Shore announced that it has received a grant from Highmark Delaware BluePrints for the Community to offer children under the age of three with autism Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) Therapy.

    “This grant from Highmark Delaware will make a huge impact in the lives of some of our smallest participants with autism and their families,” Easterseals President/CEO, Kenan Sklenar, says. “Research shows that the greatest gains in developmental milestones for children with autism are seen through ABA therapy when intervention is started before the age of 2 and this grant helps make that possible. We are grateful for the partnership with Highmark Delaware and especially pleased to receive the BluePrints for the Community grant. Partners like Highmark Delaware help Easterseals continue to offer exceptional services that our community relies on.”

    Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy programs help increase language and communication skills; improve attention, focus, social skills, memory, and academics by focusing on teaching new skills. Family education and support is also a critical component when working with very young children. Studies show, when ABA therapy starts before the age of two, the therapy is even more successful.

    “We are pleased to award Easterseals with a BluePrints for the Community grant and to support their extensive work with children and families living with autism,” said Nick Moriello, President of Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield Delaware in a statement. “Easterseals has an outstanding history of providing care for our community and Highmark Delaware is proud to partner with them on this program.”


  • October 16, 2020 9:00 AM | Philanthropy Delaware (Administrator)

    (October 16, 2020 by Mike Phillips, WDEL) New Castle County Council this week approved allocating up to $136 million in federal funds from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act for several statewide programs.

    County Executive Matt Meyer said the county was one of approximately 177 jurisdictions in the United States to receive CARES Act funds.

    "We are the only jurisdiction in the country, the only local jurisdiction, that's assisting the state government," said Meyer. "In many cases the state government is providing additional assistance to the local jurisdiction.

    "What we're doing is we're making sure testing is fully available and paid for. We're making sure contact tracing is paid for. That money is of no concern when the state provides these services to the residents of New Castle County as well Kent and Sussex counties," said Meyer.

    About half of the allocation, $67.5 million, is going to the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund.

    "We're making sure that unemployment insurance rates will not be increased for small business owners and businesses across our county and state," said Meyer. "We're also making sure childcare is available.

    "In a time of crisis, in a pandemic in America, money should not be a limitation," said Meyer. "We need to be thinking about public health. We need to be thinking about making sure people have jobs so that they can pay their rent, pay their mortgages, and keep their mental and emotional health intact."

    New Castle County government received $322.8 million in CARES Act funds from the federal government while the State of Delaware received more than $900 million.

    Some state officials at the time balked at the amount the county received and wanted a large chunk of that funding as well.

    Meyer said coronavirus funding shouldn't get caught up in a jurisdictional debate.

    "I look at it from the perspective of a resident and a taxpayer - I don't really care what government gets the money - I want quality services," said Meyer. "There should be no daylight between us and the state government in the middle of a pandemic."

    Here is a complete list of the CARES Act funding allocations from New Castle County to the State of Delaware:

    Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund (county contribution: up to $67.5 million) Based on actual unemployment claims through mid-September and estimates through the rest of the year, the total statewide amount of COVID-19 unemployment claims paid for the forty-two-week period, March 15 to December 30, 2020, will be $273 million. Approximately 55% of the statewide claims are from residents in New Castle County.

    Essential Childcare Program (county contribution: up to $38 million)

    The state childcare program provides supplemental benefits to centers during the pandemic. During the various stages of the governor’s State of Emergency many facilities have had to, and continue to, either reduce their capacity or close completely. In order to maintain an infrastructure of childcare facilities post COVID-19 this grant/subsidy program was created. Total cost of the program state-wide is estimated to be $128 million.

    Statewide Testing Program (county contribution: up to $20.6 million)

    Program will continue to provide access to testing regardless of symptoms to all residents of Delaware. Statewide costs are expected to be approximately $80 million.

    Statewide Contract Tracing Program (county contribution: up to $3.1 million)

    Program for contractual and technology expenses to run contact tracing program in Delaware. Statewide cost expected to be $12 million.

    Enhanced Rent & Utility Program (county contribution: - up to $4.7 million)

    It is estimated that 70% of the recipients of this program reside in New Castle County. The program provides emergency housing assistance to renters affected by shutdowns, closures, layoffs, reduced work hours, or unpaid leave due to the COVID-19 health crisis. The Delaware Housing Assistance Program (DEHAP) provides eligible households up to $1,500 in assistance, with payments made directly to the property owner or utility company.

    Hospitality Emergency Loan Program (county contribution: up to $1.8 million)

    Program established to assist hospitality-related businesses in Delaware that have been economically impacted by COVID-19. No-interest loans of up to $10,000 per business per month to help the estimated 2,700 affected Delaware businesses in the hospitality industry cover immediate, unavoidable expenses. Statewide program expected to cost $8.5 million with an estimated 48% of applicants are in New Castle County.

    Click here for more information on New Castle County CARES Act.

  • October 14, 2020 11:04 AM | Philanthropy Delaware (Administrator)

    WILMINGTON, Del. – Governor John Carney on Monday announced an agreement with Delawareans for Educational Opportunity and the Delaware NAACP to make significant new investments in Delaware public schools and dedicate additional funding for Delaware’s most disadvantaged students to help close achievement gaps.

    The settlement agreement announced on Monday suspends litigation currently pending in Delaware’s Court of Chancery and creates a path forward to provide substantial additional support for Delaware schools, high-needs students and educators.

    The agreement announced on Monday will:

    • More than double funding for Opportunity Funding to $60 million annually by Fiscal Year 2025, and make the weighted funding program permanent. Funding will increase automatically with enrollment beyond 2025.
    • Double funding for the Early Childhood Assistance Program (ECAP) to expand access to affordable early education.
    • Provide full funding for K-3 basic special education, consistent with grades 4-12.
    • Provide additional funding for teacher recruitment and retention in high-needs schools.

    Opportunity Funding provides targeted funding – for the first time in Delaware’s history – for low-income students and English learners statewide. Members of the Delaware General Assembly must approve terms the agreement as part of the regular budget and legislative process.

    “It’s important to make clear that both parties viewed this case and these settlement negotiations as an opportunity to make real progress for Delaware’s children,” said Governor Carney. “This is a path forward to support our most disadvantaged students and families – and one that will help close the persistent achievement gap in our schools.

    “But our work is just getting started,” said Governor Carney. “The General Assembly will need to consider these changes as part of its regular budget process in Dover. I look forward to discussions with legislators. Delaware’s General Assembly has supported increased investments in public education over the last four years and I believe legislators of both parties will see the merit in this proposal.”

    “Every student – regardless of zip code or background – deserves a high-quality public education. And yet, Delaware’s current education funding formula fails to account for the simple fact that in order to succeed, children with the greatest needs require the most support,” said Senator Elizabeth Lockman. “That is the reform we are all working towards and the settlement announced today marks a potential step forward in our efforts to create a funding formula that is truly equitable for all students. I’m thankful to have the opportunity to fully discuss the details of the proposal with my colleagues, parents, educators and taxpayers in the weeks ahead.”

    “As a mother of two children who were identified very early as developmentally delayed, I know firsthand how important it is to have teachers in place to provide quality services,” said Representative Kim Williams, a longtime advocate for K-3 special education funding. “Research has proven that early identification and intervention are critical to a child’s overall success. By the time a child reaches third grade, they should be transitioning from learning to read to reading to learn. If we are committed to fundamentally improving the quality of education in our state, then we must make a commitment early on.”

    “In 2015, while serving as Chair of the Wilmington Education Advisory Committee, WEAC received input from thousands of Delawareans up and down the state – parents, lawmakers, educators, community partners, politicians alike,” said Dr. Tony Allen, President of Delaware State University. “That input continued when WEAC morphed into the Commission. At that time, not one person said that the last 60 years of K12 education for students from economically distressed communities was sustainable,  appropriate, or fair. The settlement reached today proves the point and represents a principled commitment to what I believe is a fundamental American right — every child’s access to a quality education.  In the spirit of the indomitable Louis L. Redding, Chancellor Collins Seitz, and many more, may we forever be compelled to a higher purpose and greater sense of responsibility for our fellow citizens – particularly the most vulnerable among us.”

    “This agreement will continue our work to support the Delaware students and educators who need our help the most,” said Dr. Susan Bunting, Secretary of the Delaware Department of Education. “Through our Opportunity Funding program, low-income students and young English learners already are receiving additional support, and that work will expand statewide. We will provide new services for young students with special needs, and early childhood education. Our team at the Department of Education looks forward to working with educators to make a real difference for Delaware children with these additional resources.”

    “For years, our members have been advocating for the resources needed to meet the needs their of English Learners, low-income, and k-3 basic special education students,” said Stephanie Ingram, President of the Delaware State Education Association. “This sustainable funding will do just that and continue to supply educators with the resources they need. We are hopeful that the General Assembly will make this a permanent part of our funding, and address the structural short comings in education funding in Delaware.”

    “On behalf of the Delaware Hispanic Commission and the many English Learners and their families, we want to thank Governor Carney and Secretary Bunting for their leadership in bringing the much-needed permanent funding for children who are at risk in Delaware,” said Javier Torrijos, chair of the Delaware Hispanic Commission. “Children of poverty and English learners need the resources to keep pace with their peers. School districts will be able to look at long-term programs and provide the resources to meet these students’ needs.  We are extremely grateful and after many years of advocacy we see this as a major victory for all Delawareans and more importantly the future of our children and this great state.”

  • October 12, 2020 1:08 PM | Philanthropy Delaware (Administrator)

    (October 11 2020, Cape Gazette) - Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield Delaware recently awarded a grant for $159,950 to the Delaware Coalition Against Domestic Violence from BluePrints for the Community, a donor-advised fund at the Delaware Community Foundation.

    The fund has contributed more than $16 million to the community since its inception in 2007. It was established to serve Delawareans, with emphasis on, but not limited to, the needs of the uninsured and underserved, and to reduce healthcare disparities in minority population and address social determinants of health.

    “The DCADV Community Health Worker program has proven to be an effective and meaningful service for a vulnerable population of our community. We anticipate continued positive outcomes as a result of their great work,” said Nick Moriello, president of Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield Delaware.

    The Domestic Violence CHW project is collaborative, integrating domestic violence services with health services. The coalition works in partnership with Child Inc., ChristianaCare and Westside Family Health Care to build capacity to assess for domestic violence and to provide a warm-referral to a community-based service. Highmark Delaware BluePrints for the Community is an important part of this project. This project also addresses gaps in service delivery, and improves access and engagement of health and safety services, especially within minority and uninsured/underinsured communities.

    The community health worker is a resource for the healthcare clinic and the community service program, creating easily accessible advocacy. The project staff can provide information on available resources, help with safety planning, and assist with emergency needs. Two of the three DV-CHWs are bilingual in Spanish and English, ensuring the service is accessible and helping break down barriers for Hispanic victims and patients.

    Domestic violence can have chronic and long-term health impacts on individuals, children and communities including depression, heart disease, substance abuse, unintended pregnancies, teen pregnancies, asthma and obesity. Studies have also found that women who experience domestic violence are at increased risk for headaches, chronic pain, and acute and chronic injuries.

    Victims of domestic violence who may be too frightened to involve the police or the courts because of retribution by their abuser may seek assistance and counseling through their doctors. The healthcare provider’s role as first responder highlights the pressing need for well-trained medical staff able to identify domestic violence and respond with safety resources and supports.

    The healthcare provider can refer to a domestic violence community health worker who meets face-to-face with the victim to address safety and health concerns. These meetings can occur onsite at the healthcare provider’s location or at a safe place in the community.

    “The Delaware Coalition Against Domestic Violence is so grateful to Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield Delaware for their generous grant award through their BluePrints for the Community program. We are thrilled to receive this award and to engage in this collaborative community project to provide safety and healthcare access to victims of domestic violence,” said Sue Ryan, DCADV executive director.

    For the domestic violence hotline in Kent and Sussex counties, call 302-422-8058 or Abriendo Puertas at 302-745-9874.

  • October 12, 2020 12:06 PM | Philanthropy Delaware (Administrator)

    (Oct 8th 2020,  by Delaware State News) WILMINGTON – Eligible nonprofits can apply to the Delaware Nonprofit Support Program beginning at 8 a.m. on Friday – one month since it was announced on Sept. 9.

    This grant program is exclusively for nonprofits and leverages $25 million in federal CARES Act funding. It is expected that there will be three rounds of funding, with the first round closing on Oct. 16. These grants are compliance-based and are non-competitive. All nonprofits who meet the eligibility are encouraged to apply.

    This grant program was created by a unique collaborative group bringing together state and local government, nonprofit sector leaders, and the philanthropy community. The key stakeholders in the group were Gov. John Carney, County Executive Matt Meyer, DANA, the Delaware Alliance for Nonprofit Advancement, the Delaware Community Foundation, Philanthropy Delaware and United Way of Delaware.

    The Delaware Nonprofit Support Program has two grant opportunities: Part I and Part II. To be eligible for the program, an organization must be a Delaware 501c3 or a 501c3 that provides services in the state of Delaware.

    Part I is designed to reimburse Delaware nonprofits for allowable COVID-19 expenses. Part II assists nonprofits with incremental expenses related to increasing service demand. Nonprofits, if they meet the eligibility requirement for Parts I and II, are encouraged to apply for both.

    There is a web portal (www.decaresfunds.org) that offers an overview of each grant, hosts an extensive FAQ to help nonprofits with eligibility and other related questions, and houses a sample application. This portal enables nonprofits to quickly identify which grant opportunities work best for their organization and offers links to the grant applications online.

    For nonprofits that need technical assistance in preparing an application or have additional questions, DANA set up a special email address where nonprofits can request help. Interested parties can email decaresfunds@delawarenonprofit.org or click the “Contact Us” button on the web portal to be paired with a technical advisor.

  • October 12, 2020 10:23 AM | Philanthropy Delaware (Administrator)

    (October 08 2020, by Anna Hrushka, Banking Dive.com) - JP Morgan Chase is a Philanthropy Delaware Member. 

    JPMorgan’s $30 billion pledge includes external and internal commitments to close the racial wealth gap, and comes amid a national reckoning on racial equality following the deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd and Breonna Taylor this year. 

    Other large banks, including Bank of AmericaU.S. Bank and PNC have announced similar efforts to fight racial injustice. 

    "Systemic racism is a tragic part of America’s history," JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon said in a statement Thursday. "We can do more and do better to break down systems that have propagated racism and widespread economic inequality, especially for Black and Latinx people. It’s long past time that society addresses racial inequities in a more tangible, meaningful way."

    The majority of JPMorgan’s pledge focuses on narrowing the gap in housing and homeownership among Black and Latinx communities. 

    As of the first quarter of the year, 44% of Black families owned a home, compared with 73.7% of White families, according to a Redfin analysis of U.S. Census data. 

    JPMorgan's initiative also includes plans to provide $2 billion to originate 15,000 loans to small businesses in Black and Latinx communities. 

    The bank said it will launch a new coaching program designed for entrepreneurs in historically underserved areas, and accelerate a digital lending product to better support the needs of minority-owned small businesses seeking access to capital. The bank said it would also spend an additional $750 million with Black and Latinx suppliers.

    The bank's pledge also includes expanding banking services to underserved communities. JPMorgan Chase said it will continue to open 100 new branches in low-to-moderate income communities across the country as part of its market expansion initiative. It will also invest up to $50 million in capital and deposits in Black and Latinx-led minority depository institutions (MDIs) and community development financial institutions (CDFIs).

    JPMorgan's internal initiatives aim to hold executives accountable for diversity targets by incorporating priorities and progress into year-end performance evaluations and compensation decisions, the bank said.

    The bank will also provide $2 billion in philanthropy, expanding on the bank’s current five-year, $1.75 billion philanthropic commitment made in 2018.

  • October 07, 2020 1:53 PM | Philanthropy Delaware (Administrator)

    (October 06 2020, by Kyoko Uchida, PND Blog) - Jesse Ball du Pont Fund is a Philanthropy Delaware Member Mari Kuraishi came to prominence as president of GlobalGiving, which she co-founded with her husband, Dennis Whittle, in 2002. During her time there, the crowdfunding platform facilitated over $514 million in giving by more than a million donors to twenty-seven thousand projects around the world. In 2011, Kuraishi, who previously had worked at the World Bank, where she spearheaded the launch of the Development Marketplace, was named one of Foreign Policy's 100 Global Thinkers for "crowdsourcing worldsaving." Since January 2019, she has served as president of the Jessie Ball duPont Fund in Jacksonville, Florida.

    PND recently spoke with Kuraishi — who chaired the board of GuideStar before it combined with Foundation Center in 2019 to form Candid and then served as co-chair of the Candid board during its first year — about the impact of crowdfunding on the global development landscape, her work at the Jessie Ball duPont Fund, and what she has learned about the social sector's response to urgent problems.

    Philanthropy News Digest: After seeing firsthand through your work at the World Bank the difficulty local officials and social entrepreneurs often had in securing funding for their development projects, you and your husband co-founded the world's first crowdfunding platform. Back then, what made you think individuals in developed countries would be willing to participate directly in the funding of such projects?

    Mari Kuraishi: That is a very good question, because back in 2000 when we left the World Bank there actually was very little evidence that people were ready to give online, let alone to projects based thousands of miles away. To be sure, many generous donors existed, giving to brand-name NGOs like CAREOxfam, or the International Red Cross, but even those organizations were not yet online. Still, we were convinced that individual donors would give if they had a platform through which to do it. We were also sure that changes in technology would transform people's sense of proximity, and we knew that proximity was a key driver of generosity. What we weren't so sure about was how quickly it would happen.

    PND: How has the popularity of crowdfunding and crowdfunding sites changed the international development landscape in the last dozen years or so?

    MK: That's a little harder to calculate. Crowdfunding has definitely transformed giving in the U.S. since we founded GlobalGiving; online giving now represents almost a tenth of giving overall, starting from almost zero in 2000. That means more than $4 billion flowed through online giving platforms in 2019. What part of that $4 billion goes to international development projects, I can't tell you. But I do know this: in 2002, when we put up the first version of our website, we processed $25,000 in donations. This year it looks like GlobalGiving will process close to $100 million in donations to thousands of project leaders all over the world.

    PND: While you were at GlobalGiving, the organization developed a framework of core values that included things like "always open" and "listen, act, learn, repeat." The emphasis on listening, on solutions developed by those on the front lines, and on continuous improvement through evidence-based learning has been adopted by many other nonprofits and foundations in recent years. Do you think what appears to be a gradual shift away from top-down funding models to more bottom-up crowdsourced models is here to stay?

    MK: You're speaking right to my confirmation bias. I'm the woman who thought online giving was around the corner at the end of the year 2000. Yes, I think respecting the problem-solving capacities of communities and local leaders is here to stay. Not only are we seeing hashtags like #shiftthepower, we're seeing movements like Black Lives Matter and the Women's March come to the fore, so I cannot help but think that citizen leadership is on the rise. And perhaps I'm splitting hairs here, but it's not necessarily a shift away from top-down to bottom-up, so much as there is a scope for both types of leadership and action — just in different contexts.

    PND: You are a firm believer in using data to grow and strengthen trust between funders and nonprofits. Is the sector making progress in that area, and what are some of the challenges that may be slowing that progress?

    MK: Yes, I think we are making progress in the use of data to grow and strengthen trust between funders and nonprofits. First, data is easier and cheaper to collect and analyze; we have technology to thank for that. Second, we have emerging standards for what data matters — ranging from the philosophical, conceptual, and qualitative frameworks provided by movements like Leap Ambassadors, centered around the Leap of Reason initiative launched by Mario Morino, to the specific and granular, like the GuideStar/Candid Exchange profile. All of this creates a way for organizations to benchmark their own status and progress. I see three challenges in this regard: first, data scientists are still scarce and expensive in the social sector; second, not as many funders understand how to interpret the data, which means that sometimes we don't make the jump into trust-based philanthropy as readily as we might; and, finally, not everyone agrees that the corollary to greater transparency from nonprofits is more unrestricted funding.

    PND: What is your take on how COVID-19 is impacting charitable giving in general and crowdfunding for development projects in particular?

    MK: You should probably ask Alix Guerrier, my successor, as he's the man at the helm of crowdfunding in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis. I can tell you, though, that what I've heard from grantees at the Jessie Ball duPont Fund — who do not engage in international development — is that their traditional models of fundraising, which rely in great part on in-person events, have taken a hit, and that has spurred them to think a lot more about the potential for crowdfunding to fill the gaps.

    PND: The Jessie Ball duPont Fund's grantmaking activities are guided by two strategic themes: equity and placemaking. What are the foundation's top priorities at the moment? And have the COVID-19 crisis and this summer's protests against systemic racism changed how you approach those priorities?

    MK: Our priorities are in striking the right balance between seeking specific opportunities for change while also meeting the needs of our grantees and enhancing their resilience and effectiveness. To that end, we've built out an ambitious technical assistance program for grantees focused on fundraising, listening to constituent feedback, building capacity around data and equity, and achieving organizational transparency. The COVID-19 crisis really pushed us to undertake this as a hedge against the speed and magnitude of change that the crisis wrought. The protests against systemic racism redoubled our commitment to equity, which we had identified as a core direction through a strategy review we conducted last year. It has also increased the urgency I personally feel around making sure that we are not perpetuating systemic injustices through the patterns and processes of our grantmaking.

    PND: As of the beginning of the year, about a third of the fund's endowment was invested in a socially responsible manner or to achieve a positive social or environmental impact. Can you tell us about the kinds of impact investments the fund is looking to make?

    MK: The majority of our socially responsible investments, roughly $108 million, are in portfolios of companies that have been screened for best business practices, such as anti-discrimination, gender and racial equity, workforce development, wealth creation, and anti-pollution, among others.

    About 6 percent, $18 million, is invested in high-impact funds and companies focused on affordable housing, support for small businesses, medical/social service tech, and clean energy. Illumen Capital, for instance, has a double bottom line of anticipated market-rate return and social impact. By directing capital to women- and people of color-owned businesses, Illumen finds traditionally overlooked value and doubles down by also working with financial managers to reduce their implicit biases in investing.

    The Jessie Ball duPont Fund is largely place-based and about $12 million of our high-impact investments are in the communities Mrs. duPont cared about. These investments have mostly been in community development financial institutions (CDFIs) that provide access to affordable capital to developers, as well as individuals who might not qualify for traditional commercial bank loans but need money for a car, mortgage, or to capitalize a small business.

    PND: Asian Americans have not always been front and center in movements for racial and social justice. Why is that, and do you think it is changing?

    MK: Yes, you're right that Asian Americans are underrepresented in movements for racial and social justice. But we did have people like Fred Korematsu, who explicitly challenged the internment order for Japanese Americans all the way up to the Supreme Court — and lost — and Yuri Kochiyama, who was at Malcolm X's side when he was assassinated. Both were radicalized by their experience of internment, and perhaps that points to an answer to your question about Asian Americans and racial or social justice. Perhaps, as a community, we have tended to not tell those stories of injustice — except for extremely visible and acute events like the internment — and thereby have not mobilized our own communities. I do think that Asian-American Gen Z-ers and millennials seem to be as fired up as their peers — my personal favorite is K-pop fans mobilizing for Black Lives Matter — but I'll admit my conclusion is based entirely on an anecdote here.

    PND: Your professional career has included stints at a huge, well-resourced multilateral organization, at a social enterprise startup, and now at an established private foundation. What have those experiences taught you about the ways in which the social sector responds to urgent problems and about what it might do differently to create more impact and really move the needle on those problems? Are you hopeful it will be able to do so?

    MK: That's difficult to distill into a short answer, but here's a take. Large, well-resourced multilateral organizations organize their inputs and subject their business processes to scrutiny, much like large, for-profit multilateral institutions do, with one exception: their results aren't subject to competition. Social enterprise startups usually have to compete to get attention and capital to survive, but many don't have the resources to invest in other resources, such as human capital. The foundation world isn't really impacted by competition, either. I'd say that I was forced into greater accountability and transparency and soul-searching at the startup than at either of the two other places. So, the one thing I might say is that competition, channeled well, matters.

    It would be good, I think, for us in the foundation and multilateral-aid worlds, to hold ourselves accountable to a greater degree of transparency, such as benchmarking ourselves to common standards. Of course, I can foresee the potential for dispute around those standards, so perhaps we just start with greater transparency and see where it leads us. But the urgency of the need to become more effective than we are today, I think, is undeniable. It's the only feasible response to what Jon Kabat-Zinn calls the "Full Catastrophe," because in the short run at least, we can't magically come up with more resources to dedicate to the growing list of challenges we face.

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