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Engaging Communities, Empowering Giving Spring 2016

N e w s f r o m t h e D e l a w a r e C o m m u n i t y Fo u n d a t i o n

Welcome Our New President & CEO: Stuart Comstock-Gay On February 8, the Delaware Community Foundation started a new chapter with the arrival of our new president and CEO, Stuart Comstock-Gay. Stuart comes to Delaware from the Vermont Community Foundation, where he was president and CEO for seven years.  “My job, my life, my mission is about community,” Stuart said. “Everything I’ve ever done – from philanthropy to voting rights to civil rights – it’s always been about building community and making sure all people have a place in the community and an opportunity to have their voices heard.” The DCF board of directors selected Stuart as part of the foundation’s transformation and expansion, which has been underway for several years. In October 2015, the DCF announced aspirations to take on a greater community leadership role and launched a community engagement initiative. The first component of the new initiative is the publicly accessible data website DelawareFocus.org. 

“My job, my life, my mission is about community.” ~ Stuart Comstock-Gay This expansion builds on the foundation’s ongoing commitment to working with individuals and organizations to build and manage charitable funds. In addition to the DCF’s expertise in philanthropic services, the community Continued on page 3

Delaware Community Foundation Officers & Executive Committee Marilyn Rushworth Hayward, Chair Thomas L. Sager, Esq., Vice Chair Kelly Firment, Member-at-Large David Singleton, Treasurer Lynn Adams Kokjohn, SCAC Chairman Hon. Stephen P. Lamb, Secretary John Paradee, Esq., KCAC Chairman Thomas J. Shopa, Immediate Past Chairman John C. Hawkins, Member-at-Large Directors Doneene Keemer Damon Bill Dugdale Martha S. Gilman Tom Hanson Jennings Hastings Nancy Karibjanian Rob MacGovern Jim Mazarakis Kathleen McDonough

Janice E. Nevin Donald W. Nicholson Jr. John Noble Joan L. Sharp Andy Staton Gary Stockbridge Cindy L. Szabo, Esq. Michelle A. Taylor Michele Whetzel

Engaging Communities, Empowering Giving is published by the Delaware Community Foundation Stuart Comstock-Gay, President and CEO Allison Taylor Levine, APR, Editor Hughes Design Inc., Design delcf.org facebook.com/DelawareCF Twitter: @DelCommunity Wilmington Office: Community Service Building 100 W. 10th Street, Suite 115 Wilmington, DE 19801 P: 302.571.8004 | F: 302.571.1553 Central Delaware Office: 101 W. Loockerman St., Suite 1B Dover, DE 19904 P: 302.724.7552 | F: 302.856.4367 Southern Delaware Office: 36 The Circle Georgetown, DE 19947 P: 302.856.4393 | F: 302.856.4367 The mission of the Delaware Community Foundation is to build a shared vision for Delaware, grounded in knowledge, inspired by the common good and advanced through philanthropy. As a facilitator, information resource and manager of charitable funds, the DCF helps communities and philanthropists focus charitable resources for the greatest community benefi t statewide. For more information, visit delcf.org or call 302.571.8004.

Dear Friends, In its own right, philanthropy is good. But when it’s strategically connected with real community needs, philanthropy can drive powerful, lasting change. For 30 years, the Delaware Community Foundation has cultivated philanthropy in Delaware. And in its own right, that is good. Now, we are stepping up to help Delawareans empower their charitable giving – whether it’s money, time or other resources – by increasing and sharing our knowledge of community needs. As we take on this new challenge, we are welcoming a new leader with experience guiding organizations through this type of transformation. To find our new leader, a committee of current and past board members, chaired by DCF Board Vice Chair Tom Sager, conducted an extensive national search that drew more than 200 applicants. After considering many qualified candidates with a variety of backgrounds, the board unanimously selected Stuart Comstock-Gay. Stuart is a thought leader in the community foundation world and a pioneer in the movement to drive positive change by helping philanthropists inform their charitable giving and identify opportunities to maximize their impact. In his previous position as president and CEO of the Vermont Community Foundation, Stuart oversaw the foundation’s Understanding Vermont series, a report series that serves as a resource for philanthropists who want to learn about community needs, innovative and model programs, and effective strategies for giving. Understanding Vermont is just one of the many cutting-edge initiatives Stuart has driven during his 30-year career. His experience, combined with the breadth and depth of his knowledge, his national reputation, his emphasis on collaboration and his warm personality, made it easy for the Board of Directors to select him as our new leader. In the coming months, we hope all of you will have an opportunity to meet Stuart and get to know him. As a newcomer to Delaware, he will be traveling the state, working in all three counties, and listening to your insights about his new home state. Yours,

Marilyn R. Hayward, Chair, Board of Directors

Welcome Stuart Comstock-Gay (continued from cover) engagement work will enable the foundation team to offer fundholders more data and deeper insight into opportunities to make the greatest impact. In Vermont, Stuart led the team in growing the VCF’s charitable assets and expanding the foundation’s use of research to enhance the impact of philanthropic resources. This experience and other attributes made it easy for the board to endorse him unanimously, said board Chair Marilyn Hayward. (See the letter from Marilyn on page 2 for information about the selection process.)

“The kinds of issues Delaware is looking at are important, exciting issues – urban issues, rural issues, increasing diversity. The world is changing, and we all have to figure out and help shape what it’s going to

Stuart also spent seven years in various leadership positions with the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation and 14 years with the ACLU, including 10 as executive director of the Maryland affiliate. He has written for numerous national publications, been a regular radio commentator, and spoken before hundreds of audiences on a wide range of topics around philanthropy, democracy, voting rights and civil liberties.  Stuart was born in Nebraska and grew up in Cleveland, Ohio. He holds a master’s degree in public administration from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and a bachelor’s degree in political science from Bucknell University. Stuart and his wife, Lucy, have three grown daughters.

look like in the future.” ~ Stuart Comstock-Gay

“Building on its strong past, the DCF is now well on the way to the next version of itself. That’s very exciting,” Stuart said. “The kinds of issues Delaware is looking at are important, exciting issues – urban issues, rural issues, increasing diversity. The world is changing, and we all have to figure out and help shape what it’s going to look like in the future.” Prior to joining the VCF, Stuart worked across the country to reduce barriers to voter registration and to encourage broad civic engagement, first as executive director of the National Voting Rights Institute, and then as director of the Democracy Program at Dēmos. 3

Hello Delaware! I’m thrilled and honored to be working with you. And I’m eager to get down to the business of keeping Delaware a great place. In just a few weeks on the job, I’ve learned so much. My greatest learning is that Delawareans statewide love their communities – in New Castle, Kent and Sussex – and are willing to work hard to make them even better. The philanthropists I’ve talked with are engaged and intent on making a difference. The nonprofit leaders I’ve met have expressed passion for their missions and creativity in their approaches to addressing community needs. And everybody has been welcoming and enthusiastic. Thank you. It’s such a delight to get up every day and meet somebody new, hear a new idea, experience a new joy.

“Going forward, our job is to double down on our commitment to spreading the joy of philanthropy and expanding our community engagement work.” ~ Stuart Comstock-Gay


While I’m new to Delaware, the Delaware Community Foundation is not. For the past 30 years, the DCF has been an anchor institution committed to strengthening the First State. And for the next 30 years and beyond, while the world will keep changing, the DCF will always be here to help. The DCF has already made its mark and demonstrated its commitment to every corner of the state, with the support of generous individuals and organizations, the leadership of my predecessor Fred Sears and his forerunners, and the dedication of many other community principals, staff members and volunteers. Going forward, our job is to double down on our commitment to spreading the joy of philanthropy and expanding our community engagement work. In the coming months, the DCF team and I will be working with donors, partners and our board to ensure that our great work with philanthropists continues, and that we find the right way to deepen our work in communities. For me, over the next several months, I’ll be on the road much of the time – in all three counties and in as many towns as I can see. I’ll be listening and looking for perspective. Working together, we can ensure that the DCF continues to grow and serve the needs of the First State.

Delaware Focus Update: Community Focus Council The Delaware Community Foundation’s new community engagement initiative includes two core components: the community indicators website DelawareFocus.org and the new Delaware Community Focus Council. The Community Focus Council will help the DCF lead a series of conversations with various stakeholders around the state, listening to their concerns and developing insight about community issues that data alone will not reveal.

Doneene Damon, Chair

Cindy Szabo, Vice Chair

Delaware FOCUS.org An initiative of the Delaware Community Foundation

“This council is an exciting element of the DCF’s community engagement activities,” said President and CEO Stuart Comstock-Gay. “We are eager to complement the data with this community listening project.” Armed with the objective data from DelawareFocus.org and the knowledge gathered from the community, the council will help identify high-priority, systemic challenges and opportunities, and recommend leadership and action to the DCF staff and board of directors.

“Data is important, but it doesn’t tell the whole story,” said Doneene Keemer Damon, council chair. “Our goal is to evaluate what the numbers say and what we hear from the community and, with this quantitative and qualitative assessment, determine what the DCF can do to have the greatest impact on quality of life, both statewide and within individual communities.” The 11-member council includes individuals from Kent, New Castle and Sussex County, representing a range of communities and areas of expertise.

Delaware Community Focus Council Doneene Keemer Damon, Chair Cindy Szabo, Vice Chair Daniel Cruce Bernice Edwards Rita Landgraf Matthew Lintner Steven Peuquet Bettina Riveros Bradley Skelcher Jose Somalo Michelle Taylor

While the path forward is still developing, the council plans to present initial recommendations to the DCF board by the end of the year. 5

Zip Code Wilmington Dawn Milnamow is hoping to crack the code on a new career. She is in the first class of students of the new nonprofit Zip Code Wilmington, Delaware’s first computer coding school. “I never knew programming was so bright of a future career and a growing field,” said Dawn, a Newark resident. The 25-year-old former math teacher has a bachelor’s degree in psychology, but wasn’t sure she wanted a career in that field. “I decided I wanted to go back to school for computers.” Dawn is one of 19 computer coding students in Zip Code Wilmington’s inaugural class who are learning Java and Javascript. Zip Code Wilmington, which was recently featured on NPR, started a new fund at the Delaware Community Foundation to help people like Dawn. Founders Jim Stewart, Ben duPont and Porter Schutt were able to secure more than $1 million in funding from corporate partners, the state and local foundations. “Dealing with local companies and local philanthropic organizations, all of whom were familiar with the DCF, made it very simple for us to get going quickly,” said Jim, who is also president of Zip Code Wilmington. Another local nonprofit, Tech Impact, is operating the school. Students have 24-hour access to the classroom over the 90-day program. 6

Dawn Milnamow is one of Zip Code Wilmington’s first coding students.

Jim says Zip Code Wilmington is addressing a nationwide shortage of technical workers. “Employers can’t fill the jobs locally,” he said. “They’d like to, but they are going elsewhere.” Jim says the average starting salary for an entry-level coder is $55,000, and the pay level can increase quickly. “Our graduates, we hope to have them be hired in the local community, to rent the apartments, buy the condos, pay taxes, volunteer and so forth,” he said. Paul Watson, 46, of Middletown talked as he worked at one of the many computers in Zip Code’s spacious classroom on the third floor of the I.M. Pei building at 1105 N. Market Street in Wilmington. He previously worked as a financial advisor, and is interested in doing risk analysis for investment companies. “I want to take my experience from my previous careers and mold it into what I’m learning to see where it takes me,” he said. Continued on next page

New Funds

(Dec. 11, 2015-March 7, 2016)

“I think it would give myself and my family a better life, with an income and me being around for the kids,” said 28-year-old Jose Guevara of Wilmington, an Iraq War veteran with a wife and two young children. “(I love) the thought of being able to build a program that millions of people are going to use.” Kelsey Murphy of Lewes says her company, Schell Brothers construction of Rehoboth Beach, wanted her to learn new skills, and paid for her to take the coding class.

Acts of Kindness Foundation Fund Black Jobs Matter Mark B. Carlson Child HELP Foundation Fund Children In Nature Fund DDX3X Foundation Fund Delaware Plan4Health Fund

“Our graduates, we hope to have them be hired in the local community, to rent the apartments, buy the condos, pay taxes, volunteer and so forth.” ~ Co-founder Jim Stewart

Chester T. Dickerson, Sr. Memorial Scholarship Fund Dr. Reynaldo A. Ebreo Child HELP Foundation Fund First State Police Foundation Fund First STEP Fund

“I wanted to be able to make the things I had ideas for,” said the 27-year-old settlement coordinator. Kelsey says she will move into a new project management position once she completes the Zip Code course. The 90-day course costs $12,000. Students pay $2,000 of that up front. When they start an apprenticeship with a local employer, the employer pays Zip Code, and Zip Code pays its employees part of the hourly fee from that. The remainder is used to satisfy the $10,000 student balance, and the student owes nothing more. Dawn says the paid apprenticeship is what attracted her to the Zip Code program. Barclay’s, J.P. Morgan Chase and Capital One are three of the 12 local partner companies that will host the apprentices. “Hopefully, at the end of six months, the apprentice will like the job and the employer will like the apprentice and make it a full-time job relationship,” Jim said. “We are anxious to get our people out in the workforce and get some feedback and continually refine our program so we are graduating people that are hot commodities.” Jim says future plans include holding shorter sessions for those who don’t want to do 90 days, and classes for high school or college students who want to learn to code.

Friends of Brandywine Creek State Park Fund Mark B. Holzman Scholarship Fund Kaleidoscope Fund Nisha and Parag Lodhavia Fundbuilder Middletown Area Can-Do Playground Fund Poore Foundation Fund M. Jane Richter Scholarship Charles and Lisa Rochester GLOW (Go Love Our World) Fund Travel Songs Fund Whetzel Family Fund Pat and Barb Williams Family Fund Windley Family Foundation


Continuing a Family Legacy through Education Barbara Kelly graduated from college debt-free thanks to her parents, Edward and Viola Kelly. Not only did the Kellys pay for their daughter’s education, they also helped other Caesar Rodney High School students pay for college through gifts to the Camden-Wyoming Rotary Club’s scholarship program. To make her parents’ legacy of generosity last forever, Barbara recently opened the Kelly Family Scholarship Fund at the Delaware Community Foundation. Barbara created the fund with a gift of First National Bank of Wyoming stock she inherited from her parents. Remembering her parents’ passion for education, Barbara decided to use the money to make their legacy permanent. By donating the money to the Delaware Community Foundation, Barbara established the Kelly Family Scholarship Fund, a permanent charitable fund that will support Caesar Rodney students in need for generations to come. By donating the stock, Barbara also is benefi ting from valuable tax advantages while establishing a charitable fund that will help students in the community. The new Kelly Family Scholarship will be awarded for the first time next year to a female senior at Caesar Rodney High School in Camden. Applicants must show a high level of academic achievement, involvement in community service, engagement in school activities


and financial need to receive the $2,000 award. The award will be renewable for up to four years, as long as the student remains enrolled. “The idea for this gift began several years ago as a way to honor my parents,” said Barbara. “Thanks to them, I was fortunate to complete my undergraduate education debt-free.  It is my hope, that through the DCF, deserving students may reach their higher education goals.” Barbara’s parents had attended Caesar Rodney High School, as did Barbara herself, who came back later to teach there for five years. All this inspired Barbara’s dedication to the school and to Kent County. As her parents had done, Barbara wished to give back to the community. “My parents and I were always proud of the fact that we were local Kent County natives,” she said. “I am delighted for the opportunity to further the academic interests of deserving Caesar Rodney students.”

Many generous people who care about education choose to create scholarship funds to help students and their families with rising college costs. With more than 80 scholarship funds, our goal at the DCF is to connect people who care about education with people who care about their futures and the future of their communities. For more information about how you might make a difference in Delaware or around the world, contact David W. Fleming, dfleming@delcf.org or 302.504.5224.

The Shepherd Place In 2011, La’reka Marshall showed up at the Shepherd Place in Dover with two book bags full of clothes and three young children. “I was leaving a domestic violence situation,” she said. “I lost a car. I was at rock bottom in my life.” The Shepherd Place gave her a room with bunk beds for her and her children, as well as clothing, soap and toothbrushes. But most importantly, she said, Shepherd Place gave her encouragement and the tools to pull herself up. “The social worker would talk to you about managing your money, how to save money,” La’Reka said. “It takes you to pound the pavement to get out of your situation.” The Shepherd Place, which recently opened a fund at the DCF in partnership with the CenDel Foundation, has been welcoming women and children in the Dover area since January 1990. The shelter provides shortterm emergency housing, food and other basic needs at no cost. A full-time case manager helps shelter residents with government benefits, financial/credit counseling, the search for employment and, most importantly, the search for housing. In the coming year, the Shepherd Place will provide about 600 people with direct services and up to 300 more with indirect services, said Diane Cahall, shelter director. La’Reka is an example of what clients can achieve with the support the Shepherd Place provides.

La’Reka Marshall, second from left, now volunteers with friends at homeless shelters in Kent County.

La’Reka is now a cook at the Delaware Veterans Home in Milford and the founder of three businesses – Soulful Gospel Events; 1,2,3 Easy Catering; and Cleaning Scents Commercial Cleaning Company. “I love the Shepherd Place,” La’Reka said. “The Shepherd Place really made me the woman I am today.” As a result of her experience, La’Reka also is doing what she can to help those who are still struggling with homelessness. She joined the Shepherd Place’s board of directors and, with friends, founded Project Soulful. Through Project Soulful, La’Reka visits homeless shelters and tells her story. She cooks for the residents, and her friends provide entertainment, including live music and comedy. “I promised myself when I came out of homelessness that I was going to do something for the homeless,” La’Reka said. “When you experience being at rock bottom, and you overcome it, you want to give back.”

To support the Shepherd Place, visit delcf.org/shepherd.


Delaware Botanic Gardens Next summer, plan on tearing yourself away from the beaches in southern Delaware to visit the lush woods and wetlands of the new Delaware Botanic Gardens. The Delaware Botanic Gardens, which recently established an endowed fund at the DCF, will open Phase I of the long-planned project this summer. It will feature 12.5 acres of woodlands, with a thousand feet of waterfront on the beautiful Pepper Creek near Dagsboro. “Visitors will have the experience not only of the woods, but also walking along the creek and seeing the interface of land and water and the importance of the inland bays,” said Ray Sander, vice president of the gardens’ board of directors.

“Visitors will have the experience not only of the woods, but also walking along the creek and seeing the interface of land and water and the importance of the inland bays.” ~ Ray Sander The parcel of land – 37.5 acres in all – was acquired by the Sussex County Land Trust eight years ago, and the Delaware Botanic Gardens leases it for $1 a year under a renewable 99-year lease. The board plans to open the entire property by the summer of 2017 and, over the next 10 years, build a visitors’ center, conservatory, pavilion and other features. The garden is a preserve for the flora and fauna native to Delaware’s coastal plain, Ray said, and a forum for


guests to learn about native plants, such as southern blue lobelia, swamp pink and seashore mallow. “The botanical garden demonstrates a range of plants that people can use in their own gardens,” he said. “It

will help people learn what they can plant in their own space. Part of this whole emphasis on native plants is that there’s such a connection between native plants and the collection of insects, mammals and birds.” The In Trust Center for Theological Schools has a new fund at the DCF, but it’s not a new organization. Begun more than 25 years ago as a periodical for seminaries and theological colleges, In Trust soon became a quarterly magazine focused on helping trustees and administrators best serve their schools. The magazine’s topics range from governance and leadership to fundraising, assessment, and strategic planning — all subjects that are common to institutions of higher education. The In Trust Center moved to the Community Service Building in Wilmington in 2006. In 2008, the organization reincorporated as a Delaware nonprofit corporation, and its services soon expanded to include resource consulting, a service in which the leaders of member schools are guided toward expert help, allowing them to face their challenges. The In Trust Center’s funding comes from foundations as well as the membership fees of 230 theological schools, seminaries, universities, and nonprofit organizations, all of which place a high premium on In Trust magazine and the other services offered by the In Trust Center.



P.O. Box 1636 Wilmington, DE 19899

Non-Profi t Org. US Postage P A I D Permit No. 912 Wilmington, DE

The more things change, the more they remain the same! So much exciting news at the DCF – the launch of DelawareFocus.org, the formation of a Community Focus Council, a new president and CEO… But we continue to count on support from our Friends for our ongoing community leadership activities and philanthropic services. Be on the lookout for our spring appeal letter or give online at delcf.org/friends. Tom Sager Chair, 2015-16 Friends Campaign

Profile for Delaware Community Foundation

Spring 2016 final  

Spring 2016 final