Delaware COVID-19 Strategic Response Fund awards $178K in grants

Delaware News Desk
Smyrna/Clayton Sun-Times

In its seventh round of grants, the Delaware COVID-19 Strategic Response Fund on May 15 awarded $178,625 to 11 nonprofit organizations providing services to communities throughout the state.

The grants will address a broad range of community needs during the pandemic. Grantees are: Community Education Building, $2,800 to provide food to Wilmington families in need; Delaware Shakespeare Festival, $7,500 to provide virtual programming; Delaware Institute for the Arts in Education, $10,000 for art kits for underserved children in Wilmington; Delaware Museum of Natural History, $10,000 to provide virtual programming; Frederica Senior Center, $12,000 to deliver food to seniors in Kent County; Progressive Life Center, $15,000 for technology to facilitate communication between staff and foster children statewide; Blood Bank of Delmarva, $20,000 for lab supplies and pre-clinical testing of a COVID-19 vaccine; Family Counseling Center of St. Paul’s, $21,000 for case management and mental health services statewide; Delaware Children’s Museum, $25,000 for virtual programming, delivering activities and snacks to children in Wilmington, and operations; Southeast Rural Community Assistance Project, $25,000 to pump septic tanks for low-income families in Sussex County; and Survivors of Abuse in Recovery, $30,325 to support mental health services for victims of sexual trauma statewide.

In this seventh round, 40 applicants requested more than $1 million from the COVID-19 Strategic Response Fund, which is housed at the Delaware Community Foundation.

The fund, which launched on March 18, has awarded $2 million to 91 Delaware nonprofits so far.

Based on the nature of the applications, these grants initially focused largely on immediate community needs.

Now, the grants have been broadened to address a combination of immediate needs and broader community needs, including the arts, culture, the environment, workforce development, animal welfare and others.

The fund will provide the final weekly grants opportunity next week. The deadline is noon May 18. The grants program will then resume two weeks later, as described here.

The fund will accept additional grant applications on June 1 and June 15. The June grants will target nonprofit organizations, both large and small, playing key roles in various sectors, throughout the state.

These grants target solvent nonprofit organizations with solid plans for long-term fiscal sustainability, strong leadership and management. The plans should be responsive to the changing environment for funding, as well as evolving community needs. Organizations with a history of serving underserved populations will be favored.

The application for June grants will be available late next week at

The council is actively raising money to be able to respond to community needs, said Stuart Comstock-Gay, who chairs the council.

“As the pandemic continues, the needs are growing and evolving,” said Comstock-Gay. “We are calling on the community to help local nonprofit organizations get food, shelter, medical care and other essential services directly to the people who need it most. We also must support our workforce, arts community and other sectors to restore our quality of life post-COVID-19.”

The Longwood Foundation, which previously gave $1 million to the Strategic Response Fund, recently awarded a $500,000 grant, with the stipulation that the DCF must raise a matching $500,000 from the community by May 30.

To make a gift that qualifies for the match, give at or contact Joan Hoge-North,

The Strategic Response Fund was established March 18 to address the state’s emerging and evolving needs resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Grants from the Strategic Response Fund will initially focus on urgent needs related to COVID-19, then expand over time to more structural and long-term needs. Target applicants are nonprofit organizations with roots in the community and a strong track record of serving people who are immediately and disproportionately suffering from the crisis.

Grantees are selected through a rigorous process that involves a diverse team of more than 50 community leaders representing all three counties and a range of areas of expertise. Final decisions are made by the COVID-19 Grants Council: Comstock-Gay, president and CEO, DCF; Sheila Bravo, president, Delaware Alliance for Nonprofit Advancement, ex officio; Vernita Dorsey, WSFS; There du Pont, president, Longwood Foundation; Alan Levin, SoDel Concepts; Leslie Newman, retired CEO, Children & Families First; Enid Wallace-Simms, Delmarva Power; and Amy Walls, Discover Bank.

Applications are accepted weekly on a rolling basis and grants will be awarded weekly for as long as funding is available and community needs exist related to COVID-19. Each week, applications received by noon Monday will be reviewed, grantees will be selected Friday morning, and funds will be transferred Friday afternoon.

The application is open at The deadline for the next round of awards is noon May 18.

The Delaware COVID-19 Strategic Response Fund is part of the Delaware COVID-19 Emergency Response Initiative, a nonprofit collaborative response to the 2020 coronavirus pandemic. The DCF, DANA, PD and United Way of Delaware are partnering to coordinate charitable resources to maximize impact statewide during this crisis.

To contribute, visit