Giving back: WSFS, Food Bank, Horticulture Society, Highmark, duPont Freedom Foundation

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WSFS Financial Corp. announced the WSFS Foundation and the WSFS Community Foundation merger to form the WSFS Cares Foundation.

The WSFS Foundation, founded in 2003, was the philanthropic arm of WSFS Financial Corporation, while the WSFS Community Foundation, previously the Beneficial Bank Foundation, was founded in 2007 and joined WSFS as part of the acquisition of Beneficial Bank.

Combining these two foundations will allow WSFS to provide even greater support to the Communities throughout the Bank’s footprint. The WSFS Cares Foundation will focus on supporting local nonprofits that provide tools for success, with its key pillars of support as follows:

  • Community investments
  • Affordable housing
  • Revitalization and business economic empowerment
  • Education and leadership development
  • Strengthening those in need

“For nearly 200 years, WSFS has been deeply rooted in the communities we serve,” said Rodger Levenson, WSFS’s CEO. “The formation of the WSFS Cares Foundation will further enhance our efforts to improve our communities and to promote inclusion and diversity. We look forward to supporting a variety of initiatives aligned with our foundation’s pillars.”

In 2020, the WSFS Community Foundation provided $300,000 in grants to 21 local nonprofits engaged in the fight against Covid-19, WSFS Bank, and the WSFS Community Foundation donated $35,500 to provide hundreds of technology devices to area students online learning during the pandemic. In addition, the foundations continued planned initiatives throughout the Greater Philadelphia and Delaware region, totaling more than $1.6 million in grants.

In addition, in March 2021, as part of the combination with Bryn Mawr Bank Corporation, WSFS made a $2 million grant to the WSFS Community Foundation to support underserved communities.

Center for Horticulture and Food Bank partner again

The Delaware Center for Horticulture (DCH) and the Food Bank of Delaware will once again partner with PHS for their Harvest initiative; a collective action initiative focused on increasing food production and food security by mobilizing individual gardeners, community garden members, schools, and institutions to plant food crops to share with their community.

This growing season, Harvest aims to again engage thousands in the Greater Philadelphia region to help grow fresh produce and to share with those most in need. DCH will serve as the lead coordinating entity for Delaware, with FBD as the key partner for food collection and distribution.

For decades, food insecurity has been an issue not only in the Greater Philadelphia region but across America,” said Nancy Boutté Finn, chief development officer for PHS. Last year, PHS started Harvest as a response to the Coivd-19 crisis and were able to support communities with the production of over 44,000 pounds of food. This year, we again ask our communities to join us in our efforts to learn to grow to produce, and to share their harvest to make fresh and healthy food more accessible to our neighbors across the region.” 

“Access to fresh food is a challenge facing so many families in Delaware, and we must continue to combat this ongoing crisis. DCH is proud to partner with PHS and the Food Bank of Delaware to unite our network of gardeners to feed those in need in our community, particularly when it comes to fresh, locally-grown produce,” said Vikram Krishnamurthy, DCH Executive Director. 

Getting fresh fruits and vegetables into the hands of those who need it most is a critical part of our operation,” said Cathy Kanefsky, Food Bank of Delaware CEO. Far too many of our neighbors in need struggle with diet-related conditions like diabetes and heart disease. As an organization, it is our role to make sure the foods we distribute are nutritious. We are thankful for the opportunity to partner on this initiative so gardeners can share their bounties with our neighbors in need.” 

Highmark announces BluePrints recipients.

Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield Delaware announced its second-quarter BluePrints for the Community grant awardees, which will collectively receive more than $959,000 in funding. BluePrints for the Community has already committed more than $2.2 million in 2021 through its standard and small grant programs.

The awards:

  • Community Education Building was awarded a grant to support its Equitable Health Expansion program to provide health services, including an onsite behavioral health counselor.
  • Dover Interfaith Mission for Housing was awarded a grant to support its Housing and Health for the Homeless program to improve health and help individuals find stable housing.
  • Friendship House was awarded a grant for Project Hope at the New Castle County Hope Center, which provides wraparound services to those seeking support at the Hope Center.
  • Philadelphia Arms Townhomes was awarded a grant to support programming for their mental health and substance use disorder residential center in Sussex County.
  • Year Up Wilmington was awarded a grant to continue providing its students’ health and wellness services as they seek gainful employment placement.
  • Exceptional Care for Children was awarded a grant for its future young adult center to provide specialized care for youth aging out of pediatric care.
  • The University of Delaware was awarded a grant to launch a diversity in nursing scholarship program empowering underrepresented students to pursue nursing careers.
  • Habitat for Humanity of New Castle County was awarded a grant to support its Healthy Homes program that provides home repairs for low-income homeowners.
  • YWCA Delaware was awarded a grant to hire a care coordinator as part of their care team pilot program to address client needs better and make referrals.

The donor-advised fund focuses on projects and programs throughout Delaware that improve health outcomes and accept applications every quarter at www.delcf.org/grants. All Delaware 501c3 organizations are eligible to submit proposals that address social determinants of health, increase access to health care for the uninsured/underserved, reduce health disparities in minority communities, support early childhood health, or recruit/train health care professionals.

Pete duPont Freedom Foundation grant gets additional $200,000 for program
 
The Pete du Pont Freedom Foundation, Wilmington,  received an additional $200,000 from Barclays US Consumer Bank to support the statewide expansion of the Foundation’s Equitable Entrepreneurial Ecosystem (E3).
 
As part of the grant, $50,000 will be allocated to fund a comprehensive research study on Black and Brown entrepreneurs and their economic impact in Delaware. 
 
Developed through an initial $100,000 grant from Barclays and in partnership with the Wilmington Alliance, E3 was launched in March 2020 to help entrepreneurs accelerate their businesses by providing a process where experienced advisors create a clear, supportive, and sustainable pathway to success that includes a comprehensive support structure for the entrepreneur. 
 
“Through our citizenship and CRA activities, Barclays is steadfastly committed to building deep ties into the communities where we live and work,” said Adam Ahmad, Community Reinvestment Act Relationship Manager, Barclays US Consumer Bank. “We view the E3 initiative as a unique opportunity for Barclays to have a positive impact on the community by building a more equitable ecosystem for diverse entrepreneurs and giving them the tools they need to succeed.” 
 
Through E3’s Statewide and Regional Committees, a team of experts works together to identify, vet, and incubate small businesses, emphasizing supporting Black and Brown entrepreneurs. E3 complements and works in tandem with the Foundation’s Reinventing Delaware program to create conditions for successful entrepreneurs and innovators across all communities. 
 
With the successful completion of the Foundation’s E3 pilot in Wilmington and the launch of the E3 pilot in Dover, Barclays is further investing in the program to support its statewide expansion. Further information is available at  iwww.petedupontfreedomfoundation.org
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