Giving back: Perdue Foundation; Inland Bays, WSFS, Discover

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The Franklin P. and Arthur W. Perdue Foundation, the charitable giving arm of Perdue Farms, presented Chesapeake Conservancy with a donation of $100,000 for the construction of an outdoor natural amphitheater.

The amphitheater will be located at Seaford’s new Oyster House Park – the J.B. Robinson Oyster House site along the Seaford River Walk on the Nanticoke River.

The Perdue gift is part of the company’s “Delivering Hope To Our Neighbors initiative focused on improving quality of life and building strong communities.

Perdue Foundation photo.

“At Perdue Farms, we are proud to support the Chesapeake Conservancy and City of Seaford’s vision to create a venue that will provide learning opportunities for many students, a performance venue, and environmental benefits of natural planting to promote erosion control on the banks of the Nanticoke River,” said Kim Nechay, executive director of the Perdue Foundation.

“Perdue has already made a significant investment in Seaford with their Agribusiness port and grain facility just upriver. It is truly a blessing the Perdue Foundation would also invest in the Oyster House project for the benefit of all people to enjoy and learn about our Nanticoke River and its history,” said Seaford’s Mayor David Genshaw. “This project owes everything to good stewards like Perdue along with the financial commitments from our partners in the Chesapeake Conservancy, State of Delaware, and Sussex County. On behalf of all of Seaford, we say thank you.”

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Perdue’s  gift will help fund the planned outdoor natural amphitheater, which will be built into the slope of the property accented with native plants. There will be seating for 75 people in the amphitheater and room on the lawn for an additional 200 people. This will also serve as a community outdoor classroom, gathering space for performances, and erosion control to address runoff from steep banks.

In 2018, Chesapeake Conservancy, a nnonprofitbased in Annapolis, MD, purchased the Oyster House Park property, with the support of the Mt. Cuba Center, and donated the waterfront parcel to the city. Chesapeake Conservancy then worked with the city in a year-long public planning and comment period process to seek community input that was incorporated into a draft master plan for the Oyster House Park.

In late February 2020, the City Council approved a master plan calling for four stages of the park’s construction. 

Construction on this first phase of the new park began in December 2020 and focused on enhancing access to the Nanticoke River along the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail. This phase expanded the Seaford River Walk and created fishing nooks, a performance deck, boat docking facilities, and a kayak launch. A reconstructed bulkhead stabilized the shoreline.

The total project cost of this phase was $1.2 million, which was funded through a mix of private and public resources.

Future phases are planned to take place over five years, with each phase focused on providing benefits for the community. The new outdoor natural amphitheater is part of Phase Two.

Easterseals gets grant from Discover

Easterseals Delaware & Maryland’s Eastern Shore recently received a $25,000 grant from Discover Bank to support its Supported Employment program – a program which opens the door to meaningful work and competitive wages in the community for adults with intellectual disabilities, while providing employers with dedicated, productive employees, a release stated.  Each year, Easterseals partners with over 60 businesses around Delaware to recruit and train individuals with disabilities for their workplace.

“We are thrilled to partner with Discover Bank to provide the Supported Employment program that makes such a huge impact in the lives of people with disabilities in our community,” Easterseals President/CEO, Kenan Sklenar, said. “We are grateful to have community partners, like Discover Bank, who nonprofits our mission and services. We could not provide the incredible services that make the greatest impact in people’s lives without their support.”

Business who are interested in learning more about Easterseals Supported Employment Services can contact Jane Schuler at 302-221-2030 or email ESworks@esdel.org.

WSFS announces annual food drive

WSFS Bank announced the launch of its 18th Annual Fall Food Drive to combat food insecurity across the Greater Philadelphia and Delaware region. WSFS banking office locations will serve as food deposit centers.

The pandemic has intensified the need for food. Across the region, food insecurity rates are projected to closely mirror the nationwide projection of 12.9%, with 12.3% of Delawareans estimated to experience food insecurity.

Now Dec.  31 in Delaware, WSFS will collect nonperishable food items and donate them to organizations fighting hunger in communities the Bank serves, including the Sunday Breakfast Mission in Wilmington.

“As we approach two years of the world being mired in a pandemic, the need for relief assistance in the region continues to increase, placing additional strain on our nonprofits to keep up with demand,” said Vernita L. Dorsey, Senior vice president, director of Community Strategy at WSFS Bank. “Our goal is to surpass the more than 56,000 meals the Food Drive helped raise in 2020 thanks to the generosity of our communities.”

The 2021 Fall Food Drive is WSFS’ 18th annual collection. In 2020, WSFS donated more than 57,000 pounds of food to provide more than 56,000 meals to those in need. To find the nearest WSFS Bank location for nonperishable donations, visit www.wsfsbank.com.

Decked Out fundraiser gets $50,000 in donations.

Guests enjoyed raw oysters donated by Rehoboth Bay Oyster Company. Accouterments were donated by Henlopen City Oyster House. Photo by Matt Sprague.

The Delaware Center for the Inland Bays’ annual Decked Out fundraiser took place on Thursday, Sept. 30, and raised over $50,000 for the protection and restoration of the Inland Bays.  

Following a one-year hiatus due to the pandemic, this year’s event was held in-person at Big Chill Beach Club in Delaware Seashore State Park and included a live art auction featuring pieces from 11 Gallery One artists. The evening also included a silent auction and a performance by local musician Keith Mack.

Proceeds from the event will go toward protecting and restoring the Inland Bays through science, research, restoration, and education. A portion of proceeds will specifically support the Lessons in Nature at James Farm Ecological Preserve capital campaign, which is raising funds for improvements that will allow the Center to expnonprofitvironmental education efforts.

Other initiatives supported by the funds raised include important restoration and protection projects such as our Diamondback Terrapin Gardens, citizen science surveys, and public education opportunities at the James Farm Ecological Preserve.

“We are so thankful to the community for their support through this event,” said Chris Bason, the center’s executive director. “Any progress made on restoring these important estuaries wouldn’t be possible without the generosity of individuals and businesses that share in our vision of cleaner, healthier Inland Bays for all to enjoy.”

More than 30 individuals, businesses, and organizations sponsored this year’s Decked Out event. The lead sponsor was Ørsted, which also made contributions directly to some of the center’s projects. Other sponsors included Big Chill Beach Club, Absolut Vodka, Ashton Pools by Design, Bioenergy Devco, Delmarva Power, Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, Pegasus Foundation, Pettus-Crowe Foundation, Sussex Conservation District, GFL Environmental, John and Cheryl Grandy, and Patricia and Bob Ragan.

The Delaware Center for the Inland Bays is a non-profit organization established in 1994 and is one of 28 National Estuary Programs. More information is available at inlandbays.org.

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