Focus Grants

In 2019, the DCF launched a new funding opportunity as part of our overall community impact grants program. Focus Grants support organizations and initiatives working to build opportunity so all Delaware residents can overcome barriers to success, benefit equitably and thrive.

Drawing on our belief that philanthropy is an important part of solving big challenges, we identified three areas in which the DCF can provide valuable civic leadership: increasing youth success, supporting Delaware’s growing Latino communities, and strengthening equity and community. Funds available through the Focus Grants program are aligned with these areas.

For more information about the DCF’s grantmaking process, visit delcf.org/grants or contact Yolanda Rushdan at 302.504.5239.

I have no doubt in my mind that this program saves lives. Maybe a month from now, a year from now, or 10 years from now, there will be someone who is still alive because of what they learned this summer.

– Maria Edgerton Reed, aquatics coordinator at the Sussex Academy Aquatic Center, which received a $25,000 DCF Focus Grant to teach 200 young people water safety this year.

2021 Focus Grant Recipients

Afro-American Historical Society – $25,000*: To establish the “Eastside Pride – We Matter!” project to build leadership capacity at several community-based initiatives focused on Black history, heritage and economic development in Wilmington’s historic Eastside neighborhood.

Moms House of Dover – $25,000: To provide life-skills training, academic support and quality childcare for low-income single parents as they attend high school or college full time, helping them overcome systemic barriers to academic success and financial independence, including those related to race and ethnicity.

Nuestras Raices Delaware – $25,000*: To support the “Emerging Leaders Development” program, a BIPOC-led initiative that provides mentorship and workshops to help future or growing leaders continually evolve as effective leaders who can grow their careers, and allowing companies to have a well-rounded group of leaders in their talent pipeline.

Network Delaware – $25,000*: To develop inclusive leadership through the “Change Agent Journey,” an individually tailored civic leadership program for primarily BIPOC participants who want to improve their ability to change their communities.

Supporting Kidds – $20,000: To provide certification in grief counseling and nonprofit leadership to Supporting Kidds’ leadership and offer the organization’s “Healing Pathways” grief support program for children and their caregivers remotely, in person and in schools.

*Multi-year program development grants

Bellevue Farms – $15,000
To increase Bellevue Farms’ educational capacity by implementing a 9-month garden- and nutrition-based afterschool/out-of-school program for youth grades 6-12 in preparation for continued career training in agriculture, horticulture and nutrition.

Community Education Building – $10,000
To implement the WAVE Learning System, including WAVE’s “Reconnected Teen” program to reduce educational inequity by providing students with personalized learning and mental health support.

Urban Bike Project – $15,000
To support the “Urban Bike Explorers” program, which will use bicycling and bicycle mechanics as tools to engage youth in social-emotional learning and help them build positive connections with their communities.

Leading Youth Through Empowerment – $15,000
To support LYTE’s growing “Changing Academic Trajectory” summer, afterschool and high school transition programs for low-income students in partnership with schools throughout Delaware.

The Teen Warehouse – $10,000
To support the “Teens in Motion” program, providing personal development, soft skills and technical training designed to move teens from Warehouse Team Member to employment. Upon completion of the program, teens will be placed into a work-based learning experience

Green Beret – $15,000
To support the “Equipping Youth for Success” project to provide economically disadvantaged youth with mentorship, leadership training and career preparation through travel to college tours, historical sites, and outdoor activities like fishing, hiking and camping.

Harry K Foundation – $15,000
To support the foundation’s “Halt Hunger” program for underprivileged children, which distributes backpacks of food to supplement students’ households and establishes food pantries in Delaware schools and other facilities.

REACH Riverside – $10,000
To support the “Early Learners Music” program, a collaboration between REACH Riverside’s Kingswood Community Center and the Wilmington Children’s Chorus that seeks to create a play-based, culturally responsive and developmentally appropriate music program for children in Wilmington’s impoverished Riverside neighborhood.

CAMP Rehoboth – $10,000
To support CAMP Rehoboth’s “Youth Up!” program, which promotes and strengthens school GSA clubs and offers a wide array of enrichment activities for struggling and marginalized LGBTQIA youth in middle and high schools.

TeenSHARP – $25,000
To implement the “Padres Embajadores Para La Educación Universitaria (Parent Ambassadors for College Education)” Spanish-language training program, which will develop a cadre of 55 parents to become ambassadors for higher education in Delaware’s Spanish-speaking communities.

Literacy Delaware – $15,000
To expand the “Moving Beyond” literacy tutoring program by purchasing additional curriculum, training supplies, assessment materials and technology, and to continue to create collaborative partnerships that build a strong continuum of services in Sussex County’s Latino communities.

United Way of Delaware – $25,000
To implement United Way Delaware’s “$tand By Me: NexGen” program of effective and culturally relevant methods to increase awareness of financial aid and post-secondary admissions processes, assist Latino students with financial aid acquisition, and ensure post-secondary enrollment.

Delaware Shakespeare – $15,000
To support DelShakes’ 2021 Community Tour, which will bring free performances of a new musical adaptation of “Twelfth Night” viewed through the lens of the Latina immigrant experience to locations such as prisons, community centers, and medical facilities.

Habitat for Humanity Sussex County – $25,000
To expand the accessibility and increase participation in Habitat for Humanity’s “Family Empowerment” program in Sussex County’s Latino Communities. The program builds strength, stability and self-reliance through financial literacy and affordable homeownership,

La Esperanza – $20,000
To support La Esperanza’s Comprehensive Support Services core programs: “Resource Navigation and Family Coaching,” “Immigration Services,” “Victim’s Services” and “Youth Leadership and Prevention” programming.

DCF Guidelines for Focus Grants

In 2019, the Delaware Community Foundation launched a new opportunity as part of its overall community impact grants. Focus Grants will support organizations and initiatives working to build opportunity so all Delaware residents can overcome barriers to success, benefit equitably and thrive.

We believe that philanthropy is an important part of solving big challenges. In 2018, we identified three areas where we believe the DCF can provide valuable civic leadership: increasing youth success, supporting Delaware’s growing Latino communities, and strengthening equity and community. Funds available through the Focus Grants program have been aligned with these areas.

Below are summaries of two of the three Focus Grant areas, in which we have current grant opportunities. Please review them carefully as you decide how your organization is best positioned to join the DCF in building opportunity for all.

Strategy: Invest in enabling at-risk, traditionally disadvantaged youth (birth to age 24) to advance their personal development and resiliency, civic engagement, physical and mental health, educational readiness and achievement from birth to post-secondary.

The DCF will support programs and initiatives throughout Delaware that:
• Expand access to and quality of early education in local communities.
• Expand and strengthen out-of-school learning opportunities, with an emphasis on projects that serve middle and high school youth.
• Encourage civic engagement and participation of Delaware’s middle and high school youth.
• Identify and eliminate barriers to postsecondary access and success for our target population.
• Strengthen pathways from education and training to employment.

Awards will range from $10,000 to $20,000.

Grant proposals must be submitted using the online DCF application form. One application per organization will be accepted. Other proposal formats will not be accepted. Grants are approved by the DCF Board of Directors within three months of the application deadline.

Strategy: Invest in enabling Delaware’s Latino families and residents to thrive, through expanded educational and community supports and building capacity and collaboration of service providers and resources in local communities.

The DCF will support programs and initiatives in Sussex County that:

• Expand access to and quality of English learner programs for youth and their families.
• Expand programs that connect families to affordable housing.
• Lower financial barriers to basic needs beyond housing, including food security, transportation, and health care.
• Improve financial literacy.
• Encourage civic engagement of Latino families and youth.
• Promote efforts for Latino youth to feel connected to – and engaged in – their communities.
• Develop local infrastructure that improves economic opportunity and quality of life for our target population (e.g. broadband access, clean energy or bike/pedestrian transportation).
• Expand access to arts and multi-cultural opportunities for all residents.

Awards will range from $10,000 to $20,000.

Grant proposals must be submitted using the online DCF application form. One application per organization will be accepted. Other proposal formats will not be accepted. Grants are approved by the DCF Board of Directors within three months of the application deadline.

Leadership in Community grants are generously supported by Barclays.

Strategy: Significantly increase leader-of-color-led organizations amongst DCF grantees, support community-driven change, and provide capacity-building funding to support current and next-generation leaders’ long-term success.

The DCF will support programs and initiatives throughout Delaware that:
• Build the capacity (e.g., skill building, training, and mentorship) of existing, new, and emerging leaders of color.
• Build the capacity (e.g. skill building for board, staff, or volunteers; improving financial management) of nonprofit organizations that serve communities of color.
• Support grassroots organizing and advocacy efforts that aim to change policies and practices that negatively impact people of color, because of their race or ethnicity.
• Alleviate the impact of race-based discrimination and disparities.
• Improve economic well-being for people of color, such as increasing access to employment opportunities or access to education and professional development.
• Prepare and empower communities to participate in decision-making processes.

Awards will range from $10,000 to $20,000.

Grant proposals must be submitted using the online DCF application form. One application per organization will be accepted. Other proposal formats will not be accepted. Grants are approved by the DCF Board of Directors within three months of the application deadline.

Agencies receiving DCF grants must serve the state of Delaware and its residents without discrimination based on race, religion, gender, age, disability, national origin or sexual orientation.

We do not support:

• Non-501(c)3 nonprofit organizations
• Purchase of office equipment, furniture or electronics
• Sports clubs, leagues or facilities
• Public or tuition-based educational institutions
• Fundraising entities for programs and organizations that are primarily supported through public funding (e.g., schools, parks, libraries)
• Purchase of vehicles (i.e. mobile machines that transport people or cargo)
• Endowment
• Religious organizations for sectarian purposes (However, projects that serve the entire community, regardless of religious affiliation, are eligible for support.)
• Annual fundraising campaigns or general operating expenses
• Projects completed before June of the current year
• Individuals
• Special events
• Debt reduction

Check Out Our Full List of Grants