PREVIOUS FEATURE STORIES

 

For a full list of grantees from this and previous cycles, visit Areas of Giving.


 

DECEMBER 2021 FEATURED GRANTEE

 

The Wilmington Library and the North Wilmington Branch Library operate as a single public library system serving residents of Wilmington and New Castle County. There is evidence, via a hand-written receipt for dues, that the Wilmington Library was first incorporated in 1754. Today, the Library is determined to be a driving force behind the stabilization of North Wilmington.

 

In one of Wilmington’s most impoverished neighborhoods, the North Branch has always been a welcoming community center for its neighbors. Prior to the 2020-2021 Covid years, an average 85,000 individuals used the Branch’s resources annually. In recent years, the demand for services and its reputation as a safe haven have grown as the neighborhood has been shaken by almost daily shootings.

 

With help from Welfare Foundation and other funders, the North Wilmington Library branch is expanding. After another business vacated the adjoining space next door at 34th and Market, the North Branch’s home for the last 25 years, the Library acquired the newly available 13,000 sq.ft. in September 2021, basically tripling their footprint.

 

An enlarged North Branch will be able to serve the community event better. Books will always be the basis for library service, but the volume of information with new technology presents a challenge to continually blend traditional services with other methodologies of retrieving information that are very in-demand at this time.

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JUNE 2021 FEATURED GRANTEE

 

In 1881, the Nanticoke Indian tribe was first recognized by the State of Delaware. Over 140 years later, the organization that bears their name — The Nanticoke Indian Association Inc. (NIA) — continues to honor the spirit and deep commitment of the Nanticoke Tribe and its cultural heritage. NIA improves and promotes the well-being of the Nanticoke Indian Community and increases the visibility of American Indian cultures in rural areas in order to cultivate awareness, understanding, and respect, while also preserving the existence of the Nanticoke Tribe as an Aboriginal/Indigenous Society through conservation, education and cultural awareness programs.


NIA is in the process of building a new Nanticoke Indian Cultural Community Center, with assistance from Welfare Foundation, among other funders. The new Center will allow NIA to continue programming like native language studies, spiritual formation, arts & crafts, dance, counseling, domestic violence & substance abuse, mental health, food bank, elder support, youth programming, social services and healthy meals.


Their vision is to protect and preserve history by restoring and improving their current treasures (the Nanticoke Indian Museum and The Nanticoke Indian Community Center) while increasing education, conservation and preservation, to provide two dynamic places of learning, cultural preservation, and sense of community, both for native people and the surrounding community.


The NIA’s goal of revitalization, restoration and renovation is to provide more culturally relevant education, art, exhibitions and new additional programming in an inclusive, safe, tribal community space. The much improved and additional space will better allow for the tribal community – youth, adults, elders, and families to participate, connect, and grow.

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DECEMBER 2020 FEATURED GRANTEE

 

La Red Health Center (LRHC) will celebrate its 20th anniversary in February 2021. Started by a network of physicians who partnered with a local hospital, community center, faith-based organization and the government to help individuals in Sussex County facing significant barriers to healthcare, LRHC has become a Federally Qualified Health Center that operates three Family Practice Sites, the Wellness Center at Sussex Tech High School, and two satellite sites at the CHEER Longneck and Ocean View Activity Centers. LRHC now serves approximately 16,000 patients per year via 55,000 office visits by providing an array of services that include Pediatric & Adolescent Services, Adult & Senior Services, Women's Health Services, Screening Services for Chronic Diseases, Oral Health Services, and Behavioral Health Services for Children and Adults.

LRHC's medical services are available to all individuals regardless of gender, age, race, ethnic origin, religion, language, sexual orientation, or ability to pay. In 2020, the COVID-19 Pandemic created an incredible amount of patient fear about contracting the virus that caused a significant loss of on-site patient visits from Sussex County’s most vulnerable populations that put them at an increased risk of not achieving healthy outcomes. Further complicating the situation, LRHC’s Family Practice Sites were in close proximity to COVID-19 hotspots. Re-establishing patient visits, assisted with funding from the Welfare Foundation, addressed patient fear via a four-pronged approach that included ensuring patient and staff safety when traveling to and from LRHC's Family Practice sites, ensuring patient and staff safety while at LRHC's Family Practice sites, ensuring dental patient and staff safety during procedures, and maintaining or increasing health center capacity and staffing levels.

 

As of February 2021, LRHC has re-established on-site patients to 85% of the pre-COVID-19 levels and is well on its way to fully re-establishing its on-site patient visits.

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JUNE 2020 FEATURED GRANTEE

Nehemiah Gateway Community Development Corporation (NGCDC) was established in 2001 to increase opportunities for asset building, financial management, and entrepreneurship for low-to-moderate income clients. NGCDC is a project of Shiloh Baptist Church, Delaware's oldest Black Baptist church, and has a history of understanding community needs and providing essential services through their Economic Empowerment initiative. Their Delaware Tax & Financial Services Campaign, which assists individuals with free income tax preparation for both federal and state income tax returns, lifts more children out of poverty than any other social program, most notably accessing the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC).
 

The EITC Initiative started with 400 tax returns and grew into one of the largest and most innovative in the country. Since inception, with the help of 5,554 volunteers, The Campaign has filed more than 180,660 tax returns for a total refund amount of $280M, yielding tax prep savings of $37.8M. NGCDC has opened 5,124 savings accounts, bonds, and other financial accounts totaling $894,731 & produced 7,600 credit reports. NGCDC’s tax program enables clients to meet their annual tax filing obligations and provides an opportunity to retain and save a portion of their refund in a timely manner.
 

The demand for their services continues to grow and, despite COVID-19 and their resulting change in service delivery from face-to-face to virtual, this year is no different with an anticipated record number of 12,500 clients. Welfare Foundation was proud to help them purchase new laptops and printers to further supplement technology loaned to them by the IRS.

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DECEMBER 2019 FEATURED GRANTEE

A Better Chance for Our Children provides adoption, foster care, and post-adoption services throughout Delaware. A key component of the post-adoption services provided is monthly support groups. Two support groups are offered, one for parents and one for teens. These groups are outgrowing their current spaces, so an expansion to the A Better Chance for Our Children building in Wilmington is necessary. 

The support groups provide an opportunity for parents and teens to be with others who can truly understand their experience. For the teens, it’s a space where they are not “different” from their peers, like they are in so many other settings. For the parents, it’s a time to share challenges and celebrate victories, big and small. It’s also a place where they can find information to help keep their families intact when they encounter difficult times. They also learn that they are not the only ones facing the kinds of challenges that their children (who have experienced enormous trauma before coming into their families) often deal with, and that is so reassuring to their peace of mind. The comfort and support of coming together is vital.
 
In order to provide the space needed to allow for more parents and teens to benefit from these support groups, there will be an 850 square foot addition to the existing building at the Wilmington location. This project will double the size of the first-floor training room used for the parent support group. The second-floor conference room used for the teen group will increase by about 50%. Construction is scheduled to begin April 2020. 

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JUNE 2019 FEATURED GRANTEE

After many years of planning, Sussex Montessori School (SMS) will open in September 2020 with 260 children in grades K1-3, then add one grade per year until full enrollment with 455 students in K1-6 by 2023.

The Montessori Method creates students who are confident, persistent, adaptable, responsible, creative, and academically prepared. It is designed to educate the whole child, utilizing personalized learning, peer relationships, and real-life skills to develop innovative thinkers and global citizens. 

SMS will be unique among U.S. public charter schools because of the rural background of students and the cultural and economic diversity of the school’s enrollment. 

“Why Sussex County? Because there are very little choices in Sussex County,” said Linda Zankowsky, chairwoman of the Sussex Montessori board. “There is not really any significant variety in Sussex County for parents to make a choice about their education for their children. We are offering a choice for children,”

The 8.5-acre former farm and granary site for the school in Seaford was purchased in February 2019. The farm’s oversized barn, farmhouse, and various outbuildings will be readily converted with help from the Welfare Foundation, and are ideal for the Montessori curriculum, which utilizes indoor and outdoor experiences and responsibilities as key components of learning. 
 

Montessori School Planned for Sussex - Delaware State News, May 28, 2019

New charter school to offer free tuition in Sussex County - ABC 47 News, April 11, 2019

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DECEMBER 2018 FEATURED GRANTEE

Teen Warehouse is the vision of Logan Herring, executive director of the Kingswood Community Center. He recognized that while many organizations, including his own, were offering supervised after-school programming for children in the elementary grades, teenagers had few options other than going home alone or hanging out on the streets.

Teen Warehouse will address three key concerns of teenagers: violence in the city, supporting academics and promoting career readiness.

Giving teens a place to go after school will keep them off the streets and out of trouble, and a diverse menu of recreational, educational, arts career and health programming crafted to meet teens’ interests should keep them coming back and help them grow into responsible young adults, he says.

The motto for Teen Warehouse is “for teens, by teens,” so teenagers are playing a major role in deciding what types of programming will be offered in the building.

“We’re using teens to solve the problem because nobody knows more about solving the problem than the people who are being affected by it,” Herring says.

With support from Welfare Foundation, Teen Warehouse is on its way to occupying the former site of Prestige Academy at 12th and Thatcher Streets. 

 

Read Delaware Public Media article “’Teen Warehouse’ seeks to give Wilmington teens an after-school sanctuary” here.

Read Delaware Public Media article “The ambitious plan to remake Wilmington’s Riverside neighborhood” here.

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JUNE 2018 FEATURED GRANTEE

 

NCALL (National Council on Agricultural Life & Labor Research Fund, Inc.) recently made a block purchase of nine boarded up and vacant properties in the downtown area. 

Most were known nuisance properties, magnets for crime and illegal activity and their eradication has been greeted with relief by neighborhood residents. 

With support from Welfare Foundation, both in 2018 and back in 2015, NCALL is moving forward with redevelopment work in Central Dover for blight remediation. 

The organization is focusing on a relatively small area, believing this concentration of demolition and revitalization will have a major impact on the look of the community, the perception of downtown Dover, and the pride of those who have already invested in and continue to remain in the neighborhood.

 

The lots will be redeveloped in the near future and then sold to qualifying homebuyers.

NCALL is a statewide, Dover based, nonprofit affordable housing and community development organization. It is the lead agency of Restoring Central Dover a comprehensive community development effort comprised of over 20 different organizations, including nonprofits, government agencies, businesses, institutions, and residents. 
 

Visit NCALL's website at www.ncall.org

DECEMBER 2017 FEATURED GRANTEE

The Veterans Watchmaker Initiative (VWI) is one of the most exciting concepts to come along in decades. However, it is not a new concept as the origins of the program date back to 1946.
 
VWI is an organization set up to provide training, support, and referral services to the wounded veterans returning from the wars and return their dignity of purpose in a time honored craft. Specifically, the program teaches war veterans, especially disabled veterans, the highly skilled art of watchmaking (at no cost to the veterans) and is the only technical school devoted to disabled veterans in the USA.

The Paralyzed Veterans of America reported that the unemployment rate for disabled veterans is a staggering 82%. This is a national tragedy. All Americans have a duty to help those heroic warriors who became disabled defending freedom and our way of life. VWI programs are not easy, but the rewards upon completion are a lifetime of providing for themselves and their families. 

With funding from Welfare, VWI will be able to start the fit-out of the planned space for its 14-month Watchmaker Program. Students completing this program will be fully capable of making any repair to mechanical or quartz watches. Currently, VWI is offering a six week Watch Technician Program. Upon successful completion of the program, students will be able to complete standard repairs on all types of quartz watches and allows the graduate to enter the job market as a quartz watch technician.

 

For more information about VWI, please visit: www.veteranswatchmakerinitiative.org