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.
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
"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.
Copyright Philanthropy Delaware, Inc. 2017Philanthropy Delaware, Inc. is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization
Office: (302) firstname.lastname@example.org
Address:100 W. 10th Street, Suite 500Wilmington, DE 19801