Bank settlement funds bolster summer and afterschool programs statewide
Summer and afterschool programs aimed at helping kids in low income and high crime areas around the state are getting a needed financial boost.
16 organizations are sharing over $900,000 in grant money for programs this summer and next school year.
It comes from a pool of $3.7 million Delaware received in various legal settlements with national banks for alleged misconduct leading up to the financial crisis nearly a decade ago.
And lawmakers approved Delaware Attorney General Matt Denn’s office using the money for these grants from the Neighborhood Building Blocks Fund.
“There is less and less going on in terms of summer and afterschool programs because budgets at every level are so tight, city, county and state," said Denn. "So, being able to do these programs, it’s great for the kids this summer, and it also gives us an opportunity - because we picked really top of the line programs – to show what impact they can have. So hopefully as the budget situation improves in coming years, the government can pick them up.”
And Denn credits program advocates for helping sway lawmakers to approve using the funds on these programs.
“People were being pulled in so many different directions in Dover, and money was so tight, even a year ago when these funds were allocated, that had there not been this very vocal advocacy from people who believe in their programs this wouldn’t have happened," said Denn. "Nor would some of the other programs we were able to fund, such as reentry programs. The advocacy was key”
Just over half the money, $473,754, went to YMCA branches and Boys’ and Girls Clubs across the state. Combined, they’ll help kids in Wilmington, Dover, Newark, Bear, Milford and Seaford.
Programs run by the Delaware Nature Society, Dover Police, and Wilmington’s Latin American Community Center also received funds.
But Denn notes the committed that review grant applications also made a commitmentalso made to smaller groups – like the Be Ready Community Development Corporation.
“We also wanted to take the opportunity to give some newer and smaller program to show what they can do too,” said Denn.
Be Ready is receiving $49,400 to give 24 kids stipends to do neighborhood beatification work and construction projects this summer in West Center City.
Denn says other grant requests are being reviewed and he hopes some will be approved soon. He adds some of the remaining money will also go toward law enforcement and community development.
Full list of programs receiving Neighborhood Building Blocks Fund grants:
- Jewish Family Services of Delaware – $20,592 for Pre-Employment Training Services for at-risk youth in Wilmington.
- YWCA of Delaware – $17,589 for a Summer Internship Teen Empowerment program to provide exposure for youth with a number of major employers
- FAME Inc. – $25,000 for STEM education for students in grades 3-6 during out-of-school hours in Wilmington
- Western Family YMCA – $30,470 for after school and community events for teens in Newark
- New Horizons Community Center – $34,500 for martial arts and work readiness for juveniles and teens in Wilmington
- Dover YMCA – $42,275 for its Young Men Mentoring Program for 30 boys age 10-15 on healthy lifestyles and employment skills training in Dover
- Dover Police – $43,903 for basketball, flag football and hockey programs for Dover city youth
- Central YMCA – $43,025 for a summer activity program for 75 teens in Wilmington
- Bear YMCA – $45,080 for summer activities for 75 at-risk teens in Route 40 area
- Walnut Street YMCA – $45,315 for teen engagement for 200 8th and 9th graders in Wilmington
- Delaware Nature Society – $48,394 for an environmental after-school club for 30 students
- Be Ready Community Development Corp. – $49,400 to provide stipends to 24 youth to engage in neighborhood beautification and construction projects in West Center City Wilmington
- Pathways of Delaware – $81,986 for its Youth Health Ambassador Program to prevent youth delinquency
- Dover Housing Authority – $136,500 to provide exercise equipment at Simon Circle community center staffed by military and police volunteers
- Boys and Girls Club – $250,000 for summer and after-school activities for approximately 1000 teens in 5 locations: Wilmington (2 sites), Dover, Milford and Seaford