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Delaware Community Foundation awards STEM grants

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The Delaware Community Foundation is handing out just over $16,000 for science, technology, engineering and math education programs, in an extra third year of focus on STEM.

DCF's Next Generation North young professionals organization typically spends two years on different themes for its grants program. But co-chair Lindsay Lancaster says they saw enough buzz around STEM in the First State to spend another year supporting it.

"We've really tried to make sure that the things we fund are really relevant to that area, so the integration of the science, technology, engineering, math, in ways that are interdisciplinary is really important to us," said Lancaster.

The group gave money to Nativity Preparatory School of Wilmington for textbooks and to the city's Barrel of Makers to bring 3D printers and other DIY projects to kids at Delaware libraries. The Delaware Children's Museum will use its grant for career prep programs about different kinds of engineering.  The state Boys & Girls Club also received funding to fund its Beating Odds Studying STEM, or BOSS program, where projects include building robots.

"These skills are really important in any career field, and the knowledge that students come away with, they can take really in any area -- and also just in terms of keeping up with the times, there have been a lot of advances in technology, and it's really important that we're keeping up with the 21st-century skills," said Lancaster.

It's part of $325,000 in grants that Next Gen North has given out since 2004. Lancaster says this will be their last year for STEM. They haven't decided yet on their next grant theme.

The Delaware Community Foundation is supporting new homeless shelters and literacy and nutrition programs for impoverished Delawareans in its latest round of grants.

DCF is also handing out $280,000 in grants to five nonprofits that will lead initiatives for the state's most vulnerable residents.

The grants include $100,000 for La Red Health Center in Sussex County and two other homeless support groups to open two transitional shelters and provide housing, behavioral health and career prep services. 

Another grant will help Communities in Schools address teen pregnancy and dropout rates in Delaware, and offer support to teen parents.

The Opportunity Center in New Castle is getting money to provide more career and financial services for Delawareans with disabilities.

DCF is also funding Read Aloud Delaware's program to put on dollar dinners and literacy or health talks for poor families in Sussex County. And it's sponsoring training for counselors at summer camps for kids in Wilmington, through the Summer Learning Collaborative.

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