Giving back: Delaware State University, Longwood Foundation, Sallie Mae, Chase, Food Bank


DSU gets a $1 million grant from Longwood

The Longwood Foundation awarded $1 million to Delaware State University to support the university’s acquisition of Wesley College. The award will support ongoing transition costs, including personnel and a comprehensive plan for aligning the two institutions’ academic programs.

The university announced plans last summer to acquire Wesley College and is currently moving toward completing the transaction by July 2021. The deal has several contingencies attached to it, including approval from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, the regional accrediting body for both institutions.

“In the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic and all its inherent uncertainties, as well as the continued unrest in our country over systemic racism, there is a case to be made that a University like ours should focus its attention on navigating a rapidly changing American landscape,” said  President Dr. Tony Allen. “That is precisely what we are doing. The Wesley acquisition is a once-in-a-generation opportunity and matches our highest aspirations.”

Allen noted that one of the other core contingencies for a successful acquisition is the ability to secure sufficient funding resources outside the university’s normal operating revenue to manage the transaction. “This Longwood Foundation gift will be expressly used for that purpose, and validates the impact the combined entity will have on the educational, cultural and economic impact to the City of Dover, Kent County and the State of Delaware.”

Recently, the Longwood  Foundation provided two separate $1 million grants between 2011 and 2015. Those grants supported the University’s Project Aspire – a scholarship initiative that helped students stay enrolled and complete their degree requirements. The program resulted in a 12 percent increase in the university’s retention rate and a six percent increase in its graduation rate.

The foundation’s award caps a historic week of $23 million in monetary awards to Delaware State University – which also includes a $1 million Health Heroes Relief Fund award from TikTok, $1 million from JPMorgan Chase and its Advancing Black Pathways initiative, and a school-record single donation of $20 million from philanthropist MacKenzie Scott.

JPMorgan Chase makes $1000,000 donation to Food Bank 

JPMorgan Chase is providing $100,000 to the Food Bank of Delaware to help local families facing food insecurity due to the Covid-19 crisis. The company is committing $300,000 in new philanthropic support to food banks in Delaware; Washington, D.C.; and Oakland, California.

“So many local families have been hard-hit by the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Tom Horne, chief operations officer for JPMC Card Services and the firm’s Delaware Market Leader. “It’s our intent to help address both the immediate needs and the long-term impact of this crisis with commitments like these.”

The Food Bank of Delaware will use these resources to help provide an estimated 300,000 meals to community members in need as demand for food services increases in the face of the pandemic.

“We are so grateful for Chase’s support of our COVID-19 relief efforts,” said Food Bank of Delaware Chief Development Officer Larry Haas. “Since the start of the pandemic, we have distributed more than 13 million pounds of food to our neighbors in need. Demands for food assistance have doubled, and many of the families we are serving have never needed help before.”

Sallie Mae Fund makes a $50,000 donation.

The Sallie Mae Fund, the charitable arm of Sallie Mae, has made a $50,000 contribution to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Delaware to support programs to help students impacted by Covid-19.

The  $50,000 grant will help provide academic support and one-on-one guidance for low-income students adapting and adjusting to virtual learning due to Covid-19. The grant will also support the expansion of mentoring programs, including those designed for LGBTQ  students.

“Our goal to help children realize their full potential is made possible through the commitments made by our friends, mentors, and role models, and by the support of companies like Sallie Mae,” said Tom Thunstrom, executive director, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Delaware. “With this grant, we can help ensure students in Delaware are met with opportunity, regardless of who they are or what means they have.”

For more than 50 years, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Delaware has partnered with adult mentors and role models to provide at-risk children, primarily from single-parent homes.

“The pandemic underscores, perhaps now more than ever, that education is critical in the pathway to success, but it has presented significant challenges in maintaining a learning environment where students can thrive,” said Nic Jafarieh, senior vice president, Sallie Mae. “We feel a strong sense of responsibility to help remove some of those obstacles and create more access to education, and I’m confident that our partnership with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Delaware will do just that.”

Since 2015, The Sallie Mae Fund has awarded more than $290,000 in grants to support Big Brothers Big Sisters of Delaware’s work.

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