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  • November 22, 2019 2:21 PM | Cynthia Pritchard (Administrator)

    On November 12, 2019,  I had the pleasure of facilitating a panel for National Philanthropy Day on the Delaware Funding Pie. Delaware Pie.pdf

    The panel delved into all the various funding sources that are available to nonprofits in the state of Delaware and the current trends and issues around those funding sources.

    The panel included Philanthropy Delaware members: Amy Walls, Principal, Community Affairs at Discover bank, There DuPont, President of the Longwood Foundation, and Stu Comstock Gay, President and CEO of the Delaware Community Foundation. 

    The areas discussed were: Corporate Funding, which I will address is this blog; Community Reinvestment Act Investments; Donor Advised Funds, Endowments, Foundation Funding and Individual Donors. 

    Delaware is unique in that its Foundation and Corporate giving are both double the national average with individual donors 18% lower than the national average. 


    Delaware nonprofits have been fortunate to be the beneficiaries of significant corporate dollars over the years.  We hope for that to continue, but that will be dependent on if the work and data supports the investment trends of the corporate sector. 

    Corporate funding continues to go through various iterations as organizations determine what is the best methodology for them to do their philanthropy. One change we're seeing across multiple organizations is that of generalized philanthropy moving into much more strategic corporate social responsibility noting that “social” responsibility being the key component of this. There is a mindset that when corporations support the key causes in strategic ways—when they get the right place and the right investment—they create momentum for critical change. 

    There is a trend for corporate funding giving to less organizations and aligning with a handful of organizations and putting much larger gifts to projects issues and partners. Another thing to be aware of is the trend for companies to align their philanthropic giving to the return on investment within their organizations. Focused efforts drive all-around impact. Evolving away from general philanthropy toward causes that are more tightly aligned with their corporate DNA and other company initiatives. This reflects a desire to be strategically consistent and to concentrate giving that produces the most impact.  

    We also see a change to a philanthropic mindset with corporate culture. Companies are also moving their corporate social responsibility out of their External Communications department into Human Resource departments, Sustainability departments and even in separate departments altogether in order to align more with the company. Moving from part of to culture of methodology. 

    At the presentation, I gave examples of companies that have made shifts in the last several years.  Here I will not name the companies, but the drivers for the change.  

    1. Employee Preference:  One company changed their focus after surveying the employees and employee engagement efforts to determine that the employees felt they were not investing where they should.  The company made a complete shift in their philanthropic grantmaking.

    2. Ethical Business Practices: One company realized that product they received directly from the supplier versus a third party vendor that was acquired via a workforce system of unreasonable wages and substandard conditions.  Their philanthropy became a time, talent, and treasure investment into helping design the infrastructure for best labor practices for the complete supply chain. 

    3. Employee Acquisition and Economic Mobility: One company chose to invest in the training and development of their employee pool through workforce development programs in the community targeting those that previously may have had limited income potential.  Providing them with training and good paying jobs. 

    All of these examples that remind us that philanthropic investments can benefit the donor is ways that is not always measured by tax incentives, but the desire to improve the bottom line, employee satisfaction, communities in which companies reside and to have the workforce for the future. 

    Cynthia Pritchard, President and CEO Philanthropy Delaware. 


  • November 15, 2019 3:46 PM | Cynthia Pritchard (Administrator)

    On November 6, 2019, the Delaware Community Foundation (Philanthropy Delaware member)  hosted Deb and James Fallows, authors of Our Towns: A 100,000-Mile Journey into the Heart of America as their Annual keynote presentation.

    As Deb and James Fallows shared their insights of their journey, they have listed eight major things that they have learned. Their perspective allows us to sit and reflect of how Delaware communities have faced challenges and succeeded the commitment to thrive. Here are my thoughts on the eight.

    1. The importance of public-private partnerships. Public-private partnerships have existed for a very long time in large scale infrastructure projects like roads, bridges, parks and more. Why should we not replicate that in changing systems that affect our most vulnerable? It makes sense when these partnerships work well when private sector technology and innovation combined with public sector incentives to complete work.

    2. Community foundations and Libraries are first order of importance.  Foundations that are homegrown in the community have been doing "place based" grantmaking long before it was a "thing" and continue to do so.  In their backyards.  My grandmother was a librarian, I grew up in a library..literally.  I went there everyday after school in elementary school. It was the hub of the community, it was a place you felt welcome(unless you were noisy..the Sssshhhh days.  Now they are the place where information is flowing, education is happening, children are blossoming, and so much more. 

    3. Opportunity and economic development plans need to be racially fair and inclusive.  It is time to act with the same intentionality to do the fair and inclusive plan that was given to the unfair and exclusive plan of the past. The time is "now" to stop talking and start acting in a way that reverses the past and elevates the future. 

    4. Community colleges and career tech and high schools have revolutionary potential. YES.  Every twelve to eighteen months, computers double their capabilities, and so do the information technologies that use them.  If the average car had advanced as quickly as the computer over the last 35 years, cars would get 3,666,652 miles per gallon and cost less than $5,000 today.  We need to prepare children for the next technology and find ways to empower the next generation to create the technology after that.  

    5. How research universities and 4-year universities have to be key players in community and not socially disconnected. Anchor institutions are vital assets to their neighborhoods, towns, cities, and regions. Time is changing and academia has to keep up and invest outside their doors. There is an opportunity to move beyond observation and to connect with the communities they aim to understand. It also requires long term engagement because systems change takes years much longer than a semester, article or a degree. 

    6. Creating new models for local journalism.  This is exciting.  This week I participated in the Pete du Pont Freedom Foundation Reinventing Delaware event and this was an "idea" from more than one person at my table. We need to know what good is happening in our community. We need to be more connected with each other.  We need to change the narrative. Several innovators in Delaware are poised and ready to take this on. 

    7. Importance for cities of deliberately attracting new citizens. I think the cities in Delaware are trying to accomplish this. They are working through organizations like Wilmington Alliance, Delaware Prosperity Partnership, Dover Downtown Partnership, and more to encourage moving to Delaware to live, work and play. Campaigns like "Its Time" and  "Wilm Love" is a place to start.  

    8. The importance of sharing playbook.   Sharing your best work with your neighbor is the beginning of moving communities where "they" want to be. Transparency and honesty are crucial, just like in a relationship between two people it is the same with two organizations or communities. Nonprofits need to see that value it together for all is much better than separate for none. 

    We thank Deb and James Fallows for sharing their time, talents, and insights with the first state. 

    Cynthia Pritchard, President and CEO

    I think the cities in Delaware are trying to accomplish this. They are working through organizations like Wilmignton Alliance, Delaware Propeerity PArtnerhsop., Dover Downtown Partnerhsip, and more to encourage moving to Delawre to live, work and play. 
  • November 04, 2019 10:19 AM | Cynthia Pritchard (Administrator)

    Outcomes.. outcomes..outcomes; the results that the funding community expects and the goal nonprofits are trying to achieve. At least that is what we keep hearing.  Outcomes easily translated is results, that is all anyone is really asking for.  If you invest we want to "make a profit", that profit is not in dollars, but in safer neighborhoods, healthy children, graduation rates, increased incomes, and so much more.  If we make a profit (as stated above) than impact has been achieved. 

    I think the harder part is where are we now, where do we want to be, how do we measure that, and what metrics are the best.  I think this is what keeps us in meeting after meeting after meeting.  I believe the consensus is actually the hardest part, getting everyone to see the "pie in the sky" and how we work together to achieve that.  I ponder this daily and do not have the magic answer, but what I do know is "data matters".  It is the starting and ending point for this process of measuring the "Social Good Profit". 

    How does an organization like Philanthropy Delaware, help the community make a "Social Good Profit"?  We provide our members the latest trends, data, research and conversation.  We engage the community and the work being done to understand the landscape. We monitor national best practices to see what information would enhance the work in Delaware. 

    That being said making a "Social Good Profit" is hard work. It requires trust, cooperation, transparency, humility and of course objective data. Most of all it requires the will of all to invest time, talent and treasure to agree we all have a part in making the world around us better for all. 

    Cynthia Pritchard, President and CEO


  • May 21, 2019 7:39 AM | Cynthia Pritchard (Administrator)

    Why Census 2020 Matters for all-Volume 1

    Did you know that the U.S. Constitution requires an accurate count every 10 years of the population? But why? There are a multitude of reasons, but let me tell you about a few.

    • The numbers and demographics calculated in the census determine federal dollars allocated to states from all national programs. For Delaware that can be up to $2,200 per Delawarean not counted. 
    • Census data is used to determine local needs for roads, schools, child care, senior centers, housing, environment, incarceration and healthcare.
    • Most countries do a census, in India they include photos and fingerprints of everyone over 15 as part of their census. 
    • The business community uses census data to consider moving to an area, expanding locations, and whether to hire more people.
    • Social Security uses the data to determine what they will need in money to support the aging population and at what age will they consider eligibility. 
    • Census determines affects states representation in congress based on population counts.
    • Census data cannot be shared with immigration, law enforcement agencies, or allow it to determine eligibility for programs. 

    These are some basic facts, but beyond that it is your civic duty, just like obeying the laws, paying taxes, and jury duty. As said by Benjamin Franklin in 1789  “Our new Constitution is now established, and has an appearance that promises permanency; but in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.”.. I would add to that an accurate accounting of not just the U.S. population, but the world population.





  • February 15, 2019 12:00 PM | Cynthia Pritchard (Administrator)

    Wilmington, Del – Dorsey Vernita was recently named the new chairwoman of the Philanthropy Delaware’s executive board for 2019-2020. Vernita, a Senior Vice President, Director of Community Strategy at WSFS Bank, assumed her role on January 1, 2019.

    As Senior Vice President, Vernita handles Corporate Philanthropy for WSFS Bank to include their Community Strategy initiatives and bank's volunteer initiatives through Team WSFS. In addition, she serves as Secretary of the WSFS Foundation Board. Vernita is deeply committed to the community and currently actively volunteers in a leadership role with many Delaware organizations. Vernita is deeply committed to the community and currently serves on the boards of Downtown Vision, is the Immediate Past President of Girls Inc. of Delaware, currently serving on the SSB Annual Luncheon committee, Henrietta Johnson Medical Center Advisory Council, Fresh Start Scholarship Advisory Council, Fund For Women member, MLK Voices 4 Youth Committee, ABA Teach Children to Save Committee & It’s Time- Wilmington Business Engagement Council. Vernita has been married to Eric L. Dorsey Sr. for 38 years and has two children Eric II and LaVante’ Dorsey, in addition to 8 grandchildren.

    As the first female board chair, Vernita will oversee a group of 9 other board members. She is supported on the Executive Board by Board Secretary Matt Stehl (Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield Delaware) and Board Treasurer Regina Kerr Alonzo (Borgenicht Foundation).

    Philanthropy Delaware’s Board of Directors include: Chris Crothers, Jessie Ball duPont Fund; Ashley Cook, Wells Fargo; Chris Grundner, Welfare Foundation; Sharon Struthers, Struthers Family; Michelle Taylor, United Way of Delaware; Amy Walls, Discover Bank; and Jenn Walters-Michalec, Capital One.


  • January 25, 2019 11:17 AM | Cynthia Pritchard (Administrator)

    Corporate Philanthropy Reimagined

    Check out social media and you will see companies doing good work, but do you know what the company does?  Go to company websites and you will see a Corporate Social Responsibility or Community Relations page that highlight their philanthropic partnerships. They will talk about employee engagement and who they invest in; that is great for the nonprofit sector. They will talk about their outputs in volunteer hours and material aid to the charity of choice, this is great but is it enough? 

    What if they aligned their giving practices with their business goals? What is corporate volunteering became more than talking points, t-shirts and time off? What if their investment improved their bottom line? What if their engagement helped change corporate culture? What if you utilized the innovation and hidden talent of those in an organization in new ways. 

    This is not my original idea, others have spoken of this concept.  Though I have seen it first hand and how it changes more than you can imagine. It can change corporate culture that put the values painted on the wall of the meeting rooms into action.  Their is significant research that proves that "Linking CSR initiatives to specific values can resonate with employees’ personal motivations and cultivate company pride. When employees feel closer to a CSR program, they are more invested in its success and the company as a whole." 

    America's Charities write: “Alignment of corporate goals, employee interests, and nonprofit needs is essential. Companies can drive greater engagement but they need to align strategically to match corporate and employee interests with the genuine needs of nonprofit organizations.”

    How does a company begin to re-evaluate their philanthropy/corporate social responsibility? Ask yourself the following questions: Does your philanthropic investment tell the story told about your company and what it stands for, beyond making a profit? Do your employees have a voice in your priorities from investments to activities the company chooses to engage in philanthropically? Does you current investments of time, talent and treasure match your corporate strategy, brand and culture?  Does the nonprofit you partner with align with your business model? 

    Corporate Social Responsibility is one of the economic pillars for investment in collective change in communities in which people live, work and play. The communities that (your) company employees and your company may call home. 

    Companies like IBM reevaluated their CSR and established a plan that they claim created a 600 million dollar return on their 200 million dollar investment.  What if the money you invest back can come back to you and more? What if your philanthropy improves brand reputation for the long haul and not just 5 minutes? 

    Philanthropy Delaware advances philanthropy in the first state by connecting key stakeholders to drive meaningful impact in Delawareans. As a member of Philanthropy Delaware, you can receive consultation on a a CSR  strategy and so much more information to help you look at what is best for your company, people and community. 

    Cynthia Pritchard, President and CEO









  • January 21, 2019 12:55 PM | Cynthia Pritchard (Administrator)

    "Philanthropy is commendable, but it must not cause the philanthropist to overlook the circumstances of economic injustice which make philanthropy necessary. Martin Luther King, Jr."

    Taking the lead from Martin Luther King Jr. in honor of his birthday, I began to analyze the economic inequity in Delaware from an analytical lens. The average income of the top 1% in Delaware is $869,461 and the average income of the remaining 99% is $51,049 a 94% difference. CEO pay has increased from about 20 times the typical worker’s pay to 271 times greater, from 1965 to 2016, according to 2017 a study by the Economic Policy Institute. One way this inequity is measured is a Gini Coefficient (Gini coefficient is a measure of inequality of incomes (or sometimes wealth) across individuals), Delaware is 14th in the country (1 being least disparity) and the US is at it highest level since the 1967 census and the largest in the western civilized countries. 

    How does economic inequality affect communities? The implication is that high levels of inequality create a permanent underclass forced to compete, sometimes violently, either with itself or with other classes for scarce resources. Trying to get their piece of the pie, which is driven by money. The cities of Dover, Newark and Wilmington have areas that have been persistent poverty tracts. A child whose parents earn less than $25,000 a year have a 6% change of earning over $99,000; Parents earning $25,000 to $48,000 it more than doubles to 14%.  You can see the trend, but how to we begin to change this? 

    Philanthropy can not do it alone. Philanthropy and the non profit sector only accounts for 5% of the GDP, it must work  with government, business, and community structures. Here are a few ways Philanthropy can increase their longitudinal impact to balance the scale.  Philanthropies understanding of the labor market from pay rates to viable occupations that can effectively and efficiently move income levels for individuals. Philanthropies learning how fiscal policy can be inconsistent not just in dollars, but scope and priorities. Taking stock in Wall street, not just from their internal portfolios but in the areas it affects access to funds for lower wage populations.

    Philanthropy, now more than ever is moving in new directions to understand and to create long lasting sustainable change to the economic injustice. 




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