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$108,760 Awarded from Delaware COVID-19 Strategic Response Fund to 13 Nonprofits

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$50,000 earmarked for grants to minority-led organizations serving communities most affected by pandemic.

In its ninth round of grants, the Delaware COVID-19 Strategic Response Fund on Friday awarded $108,760 to 13 nonprofit organizations providing services to communities throughout the state.

The fund also earmarked $50,000 to create a new initiative to increase equity in Delaware by strengthening smaller nonprofits (operating budgets $250K and under) led by and serving people of color, who are disproportionately affected by the pandemic. Specifics will be determined in the coming weeks.

Friday’s grants will address a broad range of community needs during the pandemic. Grantees are:

  • Absolutely Flawless Women — $5,000 to provide meals for families in Indian River School District.
  • Bellevue Community Center — $10,000 to provide fresh produce to underserved families in Wilmington.
  • Chinese American Community Center — $8,000 to support virtual programming and operations of the facility in Hockessin.
  • Clear Space Theatre Company — $10,000 to support operations.
  • Delaware Center for Horticulture — $10,000 to mobilize home gardeners to grow and donate produce statewide.
  • Delaware Zoological Society — $10,000 to support zoo operations and virtual programming.
  • Joshua M. Freeman Foundation — $10,000 to convert the Freeman Stage’s free, weekly Young Audience Series to a virtual program.
  • Laurel Public Library — $3,900 for a UV sanitation machine for books and materials.
  • Lewes Public Library — $10,000 for equipment to support virtual programming.
  • Merakey Allos — $6,500 for equipment to provide services for individuals with intellectual disabilities at Delaware group homes.
  • Paws for People — $4,000 to support virtual pet therapy and reading programs statewide.
  • Siegel JCC — $16,360 for equipment to facilitate safely reopening the facility in Wilmington.
  • Wilmington & Western Railroad — $5,000 for equipment to facilitate safely reopening the historical railroad.

In this ninth round of grants, 51 applicants requested $1.3 million from the COVID-19 Strategic Response Fund, which is housed at the Delaware Community Foundation (DCF).

The fund, which launched on March 18, has awarded $2.5 million to 107 Delaware nonprofits so far. The fund awarded grants each week March 27-May 22 and paused for a week before awarding Friday’s grants.

Next Applications Due June 15

The fund will accept additional grant applications on June 15 at

The grants have been targeting a combination of immediate needs and broader community needs, including the arts, culture, the environment, workforce development, animal welfare and others.

The June grants are target nonprofit organizations – both large and small – playing key roles in various sectors, throughout the state.

While we cannot address the sustainability of every nonprofit organization, the goal of these grants is to strengthen the sustainability of the sectors traditionally upheld by nonprofits, including health and social services, education, the environment, workforce development, animal welfare, the arts, culture and others.

These grants target solvent nonprofit organizations with solid plans for long-term fiscal sustainability and strong leadership and management. The plans should be responsive to the changing environment for funding, as well as evolving community needs. Organizations with a history of serving populations most affected by the pandemic will be favored.

New Grants Programs to Be Announced for Second Half of 2020

The Delaware COVID-19 Strategic Response Fund will continue to award grants at least through the end of 2020.

Two new grants programs will be announced on Friday, June 12 at Details are not yet available.

Double the Impact of Your Gift

The council is actively raising money to be able to respond to community needs, said DCF President & CEO Stuart Comstock-Gay.

“As the pandemic continues, the needs are growing and evolving,” Comstock-Gay said. “We are calling on the community to help local nonprofit organizations get food, shelter, medical care and other essential services directly to the people who need it most. We also must support our workforce, arts community and other sectors to restore our quality of life post-COVID-19.”

The Longwood Foundation, which previously gave $1.5 million to the Strategic Response Fund, recently awarded a $500,000 grant, with the stipulation that the DCF must raise a matching $500,000 from the community by Aug. 31.

To make a gift that qualifies for the match, give at or contact Joan Hoge-North.

About the Fund

The Strategic Response Fund was established to address the state’s emerging and evolving needs resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Grantees are selected through a rigorous process that involves a diverse team of more than 50 community leaders representing all three counties and a range of areas of expertise. Final decisions are made by the COVID-19 Community Needs Grants Council:

  • April Birmingham, M&T Bank
  • Sheila Bravo, president, Delaware Alliance for Nonprofit Advancement (DANA), ex officio
  • Vernita Dorsey, WSFSAlan Levin, SoDel Concepts
  • Leslie Newman, retired CEO, Children & Families First
  • Todd Veale, executive director, Laffey-McHugh Foundation
  • Enid Wallace-Simms, Delmarva Power
  • Amy Walls, Discover Bank

The fund, which is being directed by Philanthropy Delaware President Cynthia Pritchard, already includes generous gifts from the Longwood Foundation ($1.5 million), Barclays ($500,000), New Castle County ($500,000), Welfare Foundation ($200,000), CSC ($100,000), Crestlea Foundation ($100,000), Fund for Women ($100,000), Highmark ($100,000), Laffey-McHugh ($100,000), Discover ($75,000), DCF ($75,000), DuPont ($75,000), M&T ($50,000), JP Morgan Chase ($30,000), Bank of America ($25,000), TD Bank ($25,000), WSFS Bank ($25,000) and others. The DCF also has waived all administrative fees for this fund, so that 100 percent of the funds are going to organizations helping people in need.

The Delaware COVID-19 Strategic Response Fund is part of the Delaware COVID-19 Emergency Response Initiative, a nonprofit collaborative response to the 2020 coronavirus pandemic. The DCF, DANA, PD and United Way of Delaware are partnering to coordinate charitable resources to maximize impact statewide during this crisis.

To contribute, visit