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(March 4, 2021 by Press Release) - Beginning Monday, March 8, at 8 a.m., Delaware nonprofits are invited to apply for general operating grants of up to $10,000 from the Community Needs Grants Program at the Delaware Community Foundation (DCF).
The Community Needs Grants Program is part of the Delaware COVID-19 Strategic Response Fund, a partnership of the DCF and Philanthropy Delaware. In this round, the program – which awarded more than $3 million in pandemic-related grants in 2020 – will award a total of approximately $250,000 in grants to small and mid-sized organizations serving Delaware communities.
Visit delcf.org/covid-grants to apply. The deadline is 5 p.m., Thurs., April 1, with recipients announced by early May.
To be eligible:
The following types of nonprofit organizations are not eligible for this program:
Priority consideration will be given to smaller organizations and those with a board of directors that represents the diversity and demographics of the clients and communities they serve.
About the Delaware COVID-19 Strategic Response Fund
A partnership of the DCF and PD, the Delaware COVID-19 Strategic Response Fund was established to address the state’s emerging and evolving needs resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The fund, which launched on March 18, 2020 has awarded $3.4 million to more than 150 Delaware nonprofits so far through its Community Needs Grants Program and Vision Grants Program.
The fund includes generous gifts from the Longwood Foundation ($2 million), Barclays ($700,000), New Castle County ($500,000), Welfare Foundation ($300,000), CSC ($100,000), Crestlea Foundation ($100,000), Fund for Women ($100,000), Highmark ($100,000), Jess Ball Du Pont Fund ($100,000), Laffey-McHugh ($100,000), Discover ($100,000), DCF ($75,000), DuPont ($75,000), Gates Foundation ($65,000), Jeff and Rhonda Banning Foundation ($50,000), Comenity Bank ($50,000), M&T ($50,000), WSFS Bank ($50,000), Fulton Bank ($35,000), JP Morgan Chase ($30,000), Bank of America ($25,000), TD Bank ($25,000), Capital One ($25,000) and others. The fund also includes $135,000 from more than 275 individual donors.
The DCF also has waived all administrative fees for this fund, so that 100 percent of the funds are going to organizations helping people in need.
The Delaware COVID-19 Strategic Response Fund is part of the Delaware COVID-19 Emergency Response Initiative, a nonprofit collaborative response to the coronavirus pandemic. The DCF, Delaware Alliance for Nonprofit Advancement (DANA), PD and United Way of Delaware are partnering to coordinate charitable resources to maximize impact statewide during this crisis.
To contribute, visit delcf.org/covid19-fund.
(March 2021, by LiveLoveDelaware) - (The Delaware Division of Libraries is a Philanthropy Delaware Member) The statewide Delaware Library Catalog includes all 33 public libraries and a total of 70 libraries if you include the academic libraries in the system. A diverse shared catalog of over two and a half million items including; e-books, audiobooks, etc., instantly gave Delawareans options that even the largest states do not have access to. Even in 2020, Delaware is one of a handful of states with a connected statewide catalog.
Just as important was the access to live data this framework created. It allowed their teams to focus on places they could make an impact, and hyperfocus on patron’s needs. This data would lay the groundwork for Norman’s vision and the Delaware Libraries’ successes into the present.
“We have been reading ‘Palaces for the People’ by Eric Klinenberg. This book talks about how libraries are a key part of the social infrastructure. We are providing a diverse set of resources and opportunities for communities and individuals to achieve their full potential. And live data is a critical tool for this.”
The access to data immediately led to an increase in partnerships with other state agencies, and it became clear that libraries were a unique solution to a lot of statewide challenges. They worked with the Department of Labor to place employment specialists physically in the libraries. They created substantial relationships with Delaware Health and Social Services to connect social workers to patrons who needed them. And they received funding from Delaware Division of the Arts for two arts performers to travel to every library throughout the summer.
The expansion of partnerships was created out of a need to help connect underrepresented people to job opportunities during the last recession. “The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation connected us to a grant to allow us to put job centers in the libraries as well as wireless. From there we realized the depth of needs and how libraries were positioned to create solutions. From there STEM arrived and connected us to schools and had us put 3D printers in the libraries and technologies that couldn’t be experienced otherwise.”
With Governor Carney’s election and First Lady Tracey Quillen Carney’s focus on literacy, Norman sought solutions that combined relationships with existing opportunities. “We are using ‘Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library,’ which provides books through the mail every month for children from birth up to age five, to partner with Delaware Pediatricians’ ‘Reach Out and Read’ Program. This helped extend their budget.”
Historically, libraries have been involved with helping learners, and not as much with supporting basic needs. Developing the tools and processes necessary to affect change was a unique challenge for Delaware Libraries. “We worked on the creation of a Basic Needs Chart to help make sure we are providing Delawareans with the right referrals to our partners, to make sure we are sending them in the right direction, and make sure they get what they need.”
In her spare time, Norman still loves a good book. “I do read for fun. I have my business books and my evening books.” She also enjoys going to local yard sales and is an avid collector of World’s Fair memorabilia. But after almost 20 years as director, it is clear that her mind is always on processes and systems.
“Delaware is a great place to be able to make a difference. It’s a great place to experiment. Our success is really a testament to all of the libraries working together.”
(March 1, 2021 by Stuart Comstock-Gay Delcf.org) - (DCF is a Philanthropy Delaware Member) It's tough to see many silver linings out of this pandemic, but here’s one: Delawareans stepped up for each other in 2020.
I’m lucky to be in the business of working with generous people, but the scale of generosity over the past 12 months has knocked my socks off. According to our end-of-year reporting, the DCF awarded $31.2 million in community grants and scholarships – courtesy of individuals, families and corporations who donated generously because they care about Delaware.
That represents an incredible 35 percent increase over 2019 giving and a 112 percent increase over 2018 giving.
Wow. Just wow.
The increased giving in Delaware reflects national trends in 2020, as donors responded to the pandemic, shared the fruits of a strong stock market, and took advantage of charitable giving tax incentives established through the CARES Act. We’re pleased, of course, that we were able to help people get money out into the communities.
And we’re doubly pleased by our strong partnerships, which made this possible. Working with nonprofits across the state, with the State government, the University of Delaware, corporations like Highmark, foundations such as Rodel, we’re able to leverage passion, resources, and strategy to make a difference. Notably, in partnership with Philanthropy Delaware, we put out over $3.5 million through the COVID-19 Strategic Response Fund.
In addition to generous grantmaking in 2020, DCF fundholders also gave more than $82.1 million to charitable funds at the DCF for future grantmaking to address evolving community needs. This was an increase of $51 million (165 percent) over 2019 and $52 million (172 percent) over 2018. Thanks to this generosity – combined with careful stewardship and favorable market performance – the charitable assets under management at the DCF now stand at a record-breaking $368 million.
What all of this says to me is that, as Delawareans, we want to help. And that’s a silver lining that will keep me going through 2021.
(March 2, 2021 by DelawareBusinessNow) In 2020, the Delaware Community Foundation awarded $31.2 million in community grants and scholarships, primarily from charitable funds established by individuals, families and corporate donors.
The 2020 giving – which had an impact on tens of thousands of Delawareans – represents a 35 percent increase over 2019 giving and a 112 percent increase over 2018 giving.
The increased giving in Delaware reflects national trends in 2020, as donors responded to the pandemic, shared the fruits of a strong stock market and took advantage of charitable giving tax incentives established through the CARES Act, DCF President & CEO Stuart Comstock-Gay said.
“Delawareans saw the need, and they stepped up,” Comstock-Gay said. “The DCF team worked hard to get the money into the community effectively and efficiently, and we are humbled that so many donors trust us to use our community knowledge and relationships to maximize the impact of their giving statewide.”
The DCF is the steward of more than 1,000 charitable funds established by individuals, families, corporations and nonprofit organizations. The foundation’s role is to manage those funds, provide donors with information and opportunities to maximize the impact of grantmaking, and award grants in alignment with donors’ wishes. The DCF also makes its own grants from the Delaware Forever Fund. 2020 grants also included approximately $3.5 million from the Covid-19 Strategic Response Fund, a partnership of the DCF and Philanthropy Delaware.
In addition to generous grantmaking in 2020, DCF fundholders also gave more than $82.1 million to charitable funds at the DCF for future grantmaking to address evolving community needs.
This was an increase of $51 million (165 percent) over 2019 and $52 million (172 percent) over 2018. Thanks to this generosity – combined with careful stewardship and favorable market performance – the charitable assets under management at the DCF now stand at a record-breaking $368 million.
For information about establishing a charitable fund or otherwise supporting the work of the DCF, visit delcf.org/ways-to-give or contact Joan Hoge-North, email@example.com or 302.504.5224.
Golo announces $10,000 donations
GOLO, a Newark-based wellness solutions company, announced $10,000 donations to two Delaware charities, Special Olympics Delaware and the Food Bank of Delaware. The effort continues the company’s commitment to supporting community-based health and wellness initiatives throughout the U.S.
“We’re delighted to support the important work of these two mission-driven organizations,” says Jennifer Brooks, president, GOLO, LLC. “Their commitment to the well-being of people in the local community is commendable, and we are proud to contribute to those efforts.”
GOLO helps individuals and communities ake control of their health and wellness.
Easter Seals receives grant from DuPont
Easterseals Delaware & Maryland’s Eastern Shore announced that it has received a grant from DuPont to purchase tools for intervention kits for children under the age of three with autism participating in their Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) Therapy.
The grant will ensure that each child has their own kit with the consideration of not spreading the Covid-19 virus.
(March 1, 2021 by BusinessWire) - (Bank of America is a Philanthropy Delaware Member) Bank of America announced today that it has directed more than $22 million in philanthropic funding to support education, jobs, entrepreneurship, health and housing and for people and communities of color as the company continues to deliver on its $1 billion, four-year commitment to advance racial equality and economic opportunity. These grants build on the $250 million in philanthropic funding the company allocates annually to nonprofit partners that address critical needs in the communities they serve.
“Workforce development, job creation and access to health and housing services are some of the most pressing needs facing Black, Hispanic-Latino and Native American individuals,” said Ebony Thomas, Bank of America’s Racial Equality and Economic Opportunity Executive. “By providing this support alongside our national and local partners, we are further addressing many of the challenges facing under-resourced and underserved communities across the U.S.”
Bank of America is focused on developing stronger hiring pipelines and empowering students to advance their academic and career opportunities. Grants are directed toward:
Additional organizations receiving grants include: Thurgood Marshall College Fund, UNCF (United Negro College Fund), Posse Foundation, American Indian Institute at Mesa Community College, Navajo Technical College, United National Indian Tribal Youth Inc. and the American Indian College Fund.
Grants support the resiliency of small businesses, assisting Black, Hispanic-Latino and Indigenous entrepreneurs through the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Latino Business Action Network, the California Lutheran University Center for Economic Research & Forecasting with the UCLA Center for the Study of Latino Health and Culture, Echoing Green and Our Native American Business Entrepreneurship Network (ONABEN).
Funds continue to support health care and emergency services, including hunger relief and shelter, to help communities recover from the disproportionate impact of the coronavirus. Philanthropic funding is directed to:
(February 25, 2021 by Press Release) - (JP Morgan Chase is a Philanthropy Delaware Member) Today, JPMorgan Chase announced a new $350 million, five-year global commitment to grow Black, Latinx, women-owned and other underserved small businesses, help address the racial wealth divide and create a more inclusive recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The pandemic has exacerbated historic challenges for Black, Latinx, women and other underserved small businesses to access necessary capital to sustain and grow. According to the JPMorgan Chase Institute, Black, Latinx and women-owned small businesses are underrepresented among firms with substantial external financing, limiting opportunities to scale their business. Further, financial challenges faced by Black and Latinx small businesses are more substantial relative to white-owned businesses, meaning they are especially vulnerable in today’s environment.
This new commitment, which combines low-cost loans, equity investments and philanthropy, will help reduce barriers to capital for underserved small businesses to support their immediate needs and long-term growth. More than 40% of the commitment will be low-cost loans and equity investments, removing a critical barrier for Black, Latinx, women and other underserved entrepreneurs.
The investment is part of JPMorgan Chase’s $30 billion commitment to provide economic opportunity to underserved communities, especially the Black and Latinx communities, by harnessing its business, policy, data and philanthropic expertise.
“Black, Latinx and women entrepreneurs face historic challenges to accessing the capital and other resources needed to keep their doors open during the pandemic and ultimately have the opportunity to grow long-term,” said Jamie Dimon, Chairman and CEO, JPMorgan Chase & Co. “Now more than ever, business has a responsibility to help solve societal problems. We’re pulling together our business resources, philanthropy and policy expertise to address the racial wealth gap, give underserved small businesses the support they need to grow, and build a more inclusive economy.”
JPMorgan Chase’s new five-year, $350 million global commitment will help reduce barriers to capital access and grow thousands of additional underserved businesses by:
Together, these initiatives will help improve access to capital for Black, Latinx, women and other underserved entrepreneurs and address the racial wealth divide.
JPMorgan Chase first launched its Small Business Forward initiative in 2015. Over the last five years, the firm has provided more than $200 million in philanthropy, including $20 million in COVID-19 relief, to support underserved small businesses in cities around the world. These funds provided access to capital and technical support to more than 1 million diverse small businesses, which have raised nearly $10 billion in capital and increased revenue by an average of 22%
Expanding the Entrepreneurs of Color Fund
In collaboration with Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) and a network of CDFIs, JPMorgan Chase is investing $42.5 million in low-cost loans and philanthropy to expand the Entrepreneurs of Color Fund, which currently operates in five U.S. cities. This commitment will scale the Entrepreneurs of Color Fund program to reach new U.S. cities in 2021 with the goal to create a nationwide program providing low-cost loans and technical assistance to minority-owned small businesses through CDFI partners over time.
The program aims to assist over 3,000 small businesses by attracting capital from additional investors and applying lessons learned investments in other cities.
“Even in strong economic times, minority-owned businesses are more likely to struggle to access appropriate financing than their white counterparts,” said Steve Hall, Senior Director of Small Business Lending, Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC). “That not only affects owners and their families; it means the communities where they operate have more limited access to goods, services, jobs and economic growth. JPMorgan Chase is helping bridge that gap, while also helping these entrepreneurs prepare to successfully emerge from the losses of the pandemic.”
Since its inception in Detroit in 2015, the Entrepreneurs of Color Fund has provided over 1,200 loans and deployed more than $32 million in capital to Black, Latinx and other underserved entrepreneurs, including Jimmie Williams from Chicago, who received a small business loan to scale his landscaping company. The program has grown to include a network of 12 CDFIs in five metro areas including Detroit, the Bay Area, South Bronx, Chicago and the Greater Washington DC area.
The Entrepreneurs of Color Fund is an example of cities as laboratories of innovation, where one pilot program, tested in a handful of cities over time, can be scaled to support small businesses in communities across the country.
Advancing Data-Driven Policy Solutions to Reform Federal Programs
The JPMorgan Chase PolicyCenter released new data-driven policy recommendations to address immediate and long-term needs of underserved small businesses, particularly minority and women-owned small businesses. Among its recommendations, the firm is advocating for:
The firm will put its weight behind advancing these policy reforms, informed in part by the JPMorgan Chase Institute’s distinctive research, to support the long-term survival of underserved small businesses.
JPMorgan Chase’s $30 Billion Commitment to Advance Racial Equity
In October 2020, JPMorgan Chase announced a $30 billion commitment over five years to provide economic opportunity to underserved communities, especially the Black and Latinx communities, and drive an inclusive economic recovery. The firm is continuing to put this commitment into practice and help address the racial wealth divide by combining our business, policy, data and philanthropic expertise. The firm’s recent efforts include:
(Feb. 22, 2021, by Press Release) - (M&T Bank is a Philanthropy Delaware Member) M&T Bank Corporation (NYSE: MTB) ("M&T") and People's United Financial, Inc. (NASDAQ: PBCT) ("People's United") announced today that they have entered into a definitive agreement under which M&T will acquire People's United in an all-stock transaction.
The combined company will create a diversified, community-focused banking franchise with approximately $200 billion in assets and a network of more than 1,100 branches and over 2,000 ATMs that spans 12 states from Maine to Virginia and the District of Columbia. The combined franchise will operate across some of the most populated and attractive banking markets in the U.S. As part of the transaction, People's United's current headquarters in Bridgeport, Connecticut will become the New England regional headquarters for M&T, further strengthening the combined company's commitment to Connecticut and the region.
Under the terms of the agreement, People's United shareholders will receive 0.118 of a share of M&T common stock for each People's United share they own. Following completion of the transaction, former People's United shareholders will collectively own approximately 28% of the combined company. The implied total transaction value based on closing prices on February 19, 2021 is approximately $7.6 billion.
"In People's United, we have found a partner with an equally long history of serving and supporting customers, businesses and communities," said René Jones, chairman and chief executive officer of M&T, who will lead the combined company in the same capacity. "Combining our common legacies and our complementary footprints will strengthen our ability to serve our communities and customers, and provide solutions that make a difference in people's lives. I am incredibly excited about this opportunity and look forward to welcoming new customers and team members to our M&T family."
"M&T is a like-minded partner that shares our culture of supporting communities by focusing on building meaningful relationships and providing personalized products, services and local market expertise to customers, while building on our legacy of excellence in service," said Jack Barnes, chairman and chief executive officer of People's United. "The merger extends our reach by providing customers access to a larger banking network and an expanded array of services. I am confident our shared community banking philosophies will provide significant long-term value for our shareholders, employees and loyal customers."
Key attractions of the proposed transaction
Upon closing, Jack Barnes, Kirk Walters and three other current members of the board of directors of People's United will join M&T's board of directors.
The merger has been unanimously approved by the boards of directors of each company. The merger is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2021, subject to the satisfaction of customary closing conditions, including receipt of regulatory approvals and approval by the shareholders of each company.
Lazard acted as financial advisor to M&T in connection with the transaction and Sullivan & Cromwell LLP served as legal advisor. Keefe, Bruyette & Woods, a Stifel Company, served as lead financial advisor to People's United. J.P. Morgan Securities LLC also served as financial advisor, and Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP served as legal advisor to People's United.
(February 16, 2021 by Atnre Alleyne, Delaware Business Times) To celebrate the start of Black History Month, I recently posted one of my most treasured pictures on social media: A picture of me and my parents at our home in South Jersey with civil rights leader Kwame Ture (aka Stokely Carmichael).
Ture once said, “What the liberal really wants is to bring about change which will not in any way endanger his position.”
This quote makes me think about the flurry of activity we saw last year from well-intentioned leaders to affirm that Black lives matter and demonstrate that they are trying to bring about change.
But far too many of the actions we saw were sporadic and symbolic. The moves made were safe, cheap, and did little to shift power and positioning.
As Black History Month is here, this is a perfect time to commit to taking actions (big and small) that build Black power, celebrate Black excellence, and value Black voices.
Here are six things leaders who are serious about Black empowerment can do during Black History Month (and beyond):
1. #DoTheWork – Show you care by putting in the work to understand the rich legacy of Black excellence, innovation, resistance, and perseverance. Study up on the beauty and brilliance of Black people as well as the systems that have plundered and undercut Black potential. There is an abundance of reading lists, podcast lists, movie/documentary lists that anyone can start with to #DoTheWork.
2. #GetProximate – Don’t just read and talk about Black empowerment. Take the time to build deep connections to the Black community that are not transactional. We started The Proximity Project to help leaders do just that. You can register for an upcoming cohort at TheProximityPro.com.
3. #CheckYourCulture – Last year, Black folks watched as so many white organizational leaders made statements about their support for Black lives while those same leaders have fostered organizational cultures that alienate and harm people of color. Take some time during Black History Month to read up on white supremacy culture and start addressing it in your organization. Don’t be the emperor with no clothes. Find ways to get to the truth about any ways your culture is anti-Black.
4. #LetUsBeGreat – Black history isn’t a thing of the past. There are Black people all around you who are making history now or are poised to do something historic with the right support. While folks are effusive now about Amanda Gorman or Stacey Abrams, there are Josh McCraes, Anthony Mortons, and Hasana Parkers near you that you could help springboard into their greatness. I promise there are Black writers, creators, entrepreneurs, technologists, etc., in your organization who are being ignored, doubted, and marginalized. When we talk about Black history let’s not forget that there are always folks who end up on the wrong side of it.
5. #SpendBlack – You don’t have to be MacKenzie Scott to invest deeply in Black-founded and led institutions. Just take a look at the businesses you patronize and the nonprofits that get the bulk of your philanthropic dollars. How many of them are Black-founded or Black-led? When your organization is looking for consultants, contractors, or vendors, how often do they work with Black businesses? As I said last year: “Give your money early and often … Make multi-year commitments and recurring donations … Give to us like you give to the white-led organizations that typically take the top spots on your list of charitable contributions.” TeenSHARP is a great place to invest and you can find other Black-led nonprofits at Give Blck. And don’t forget how you spend your social capital! If you’re affluent and/or influential, don’t just join boards of organizations with status. Give your time to a small Black business or nonprofit organization.
6. #StopHoarding – When I get opportunities or special invitations, I make a point to see if some of our TeenSHARP students or parents can join me. When I’m interviewed by the media for a story, I regularly connect the journalist with one of my students. If you’re looking for ways to support the Black community, stop hoarding opportunities. When you’re invited to that next elite opportunity or event, try giving up your spot to a deserving Black leader or creating an opportunity to have them join you. Don’t just accept that fancy invitation or appointment and lament the fact that a diverse group wasn’t selected. Do something sacrificial!
Let’s make this Black History Month one of substantial reflection and action.
(February 15, 2021 by Holly Quinn, by Technical.ly) Do More 24 Delaware, the 24-hour online fundraiser for nonprofits, is a fun, community-focused way to donate to local organizations.
Sort of a combination of a digital competition and an old-fashioned telethon, Do More 24 has, in the past, promoted in-person fundraising events that aligned with the daylong event, from 5Ks to barn bashes to social media conferences. Last year’s event, falling just days before Delaware went into COVID-19 lockdown, saw the nonprofit community collectively raise nearly $400,000 for 276 organizations.
This year, Do More 24 will be held March 4 to 5. With social distancing still necessary, the main event is a virtual concert on the 5th featuring country music star Jimmie Allen, who grew up in Sussex County.
“I say it with pride — I am a Delaware native,” Allen said in a statement. “I love the small town I’m from, Milton, and I love the entire state of Delaware. And any time I can give back to my home state I’m all for it.”
Tickets for the “Best Shot” star’s online concert are $50, with proceeds going to participating nonprofits as part of prizes awarded during the event. You can also get a ticket by donating a minimum of $50 to the nonprofit(s) of your choice during the event, which will happen soon after the 24 hours wrap up.
Delaware’s Do More 24 currently has a $75,000 stretch pool, thanks to donors like the Longwood Foundation and the Delaware Community Foundation: These funds will be used to match donations made during the event on a proportional basis. So, for example, a nonprofit raising 5% of the overall funds raised will receive 5% of the stretch pool.
Throughout the day (and night), participating donors are encouraged to engage with their favorite nonprofits in a good-natured competitive way, helping to get them on the leaderboard and win challenges by donating and encouraging others to donate via social media. In 2020, Family Promise of Northern New Castle County topped the leaderboard, raising nearly $34,000 and winning 10 challenges.
“The efforts of our community-based organizations in response to COVID-19 have been nothing short of heroic,” said Michelle A. Taylor, president and CEO of United Way of Delaware, which is organizing Do More 24 2021 alongside Spur Impact. “In the wake of the pandemic, nonprofits banded together, identified critical needs and pivoted quickly to meet those needs. From providing food, shelter and financial assistance to providing personal protective equipment, computers and internet and even standing up learning pods, community-based organizations continue to provide vital support.”
Charlie Vincent, executive director of Spur Impact, the organization behind the Millennial Summit and the year-round giving platform DEGives.org, is confident the 2021 event will be another success.
“Our planning team will rise to the challenge,” he said, “and Do More 24 Delaware will empower the next generation of donors to raise even more meaningful dollars for those nonprofits serving Delawareans, all of which have been affected by the pandemic.”
To participate as a donor, or if you have a nonprofit and are interested in participating or have a nonprofit fundraising event on March 4 and 5 you’d like to tie in to DoMore24, go to DoMore24Delaware.org.
(February 11, 2021 by Holly Quinn, Technical.ly) WSFS is a Philanthropy Delaware Member. In 2019, with the acquisition of Beneficial, WSFS doubled in size, from a $7 billion bank to a $14 billion bank. Clearly, it’s been growing, but it’s also changing internally, with a delivery transformation program that aims to bring most, if not all, of the company’s tech under the WSFS roof.
“We’ve been paying third parties to support some of these efforts, and we’ve realized that we need to make the commitment both from a technology standpoint as well as from an HR standpoint,” Corynn Ciber, SVP and chief digital officer for WSFS, told Technical.ly. “We don’t have a quality engineering team right now, and we realized that we need one. So we’ve got a testing team and a testing lead in our plan to invest what we need to invest in order to grow.”
All in all, WSFS, which has been hiring throughout the pandemic, plans to add 18 new jobs this year in tech-specific fields, including business process analyst, junior data reporting analyst and Salesforce developer. All jobs are remote, at least for now.
Ciber hopes to hire locally for the jobs, which include entry level positions, senior roles and harder-to-find niche developers.
“We’d like to stay in the [bank’s] footprint,” she said, which at this point includes Delaware, Pennsylvania and New Jersey and is expanding. With more people having access to coding programs like Zip Code Wilmington and Code Differently’s Return Ready program, thanks to Delaware CARES Act funding for workforce development, it’s another opportunity for recent grads, and Ciber said they’re keeping an eye on upcoming cohorts.
The transformation is one we’ve seen quite a bit over the last few years. Indeed, it’s fair to say that Delaware’s fintech boom, while includes companies like PayPal that have always been tech, has really been visible in the way banks have transformed into tech companies, rather than a boom of new Silicon Valley-style startups in the financial sector.
Ciber said she knows banks still have a reputation of being old and staid, but she stressed that the bank, which brands itself as homey and community forward, is changing the way its associates work.
“We have established a digital office, we’ve hired a chief digital officer — which is me — and we’re introducing new tools, new applications like Salesforce and MuleSoft, and we’re upgrading and enhancing our technical architecture to be able to support that,” she said.
Switching to in-house tech teams will also keep the company grounded, Ciber said.
“With [other] financial institutions, you don’t necessarily get the sense of ownership and responsibility and accountability that you get here,” she said. “We just published some of the best earnings around, we just got ranked top 10 in the Forbes list of [America’s] Best Banks, and every person, whether you’re a branch associate or whether you’re the CEO can look through the results and say, ‘That’s because of me.’ If we’re going to keep on this trajectory, in order to have that sense of pride and ownership, we have to start investing in our technology.”
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