CenDel Foundation achieves $250K fundraising milestone

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The CenDel Foundation celebrated reaching a fundraising goal for a Fund for the Arts. The Fund distributed $18,000 to area arts organizations in 2015. Pictured from left to right are John Marble, Karen Marble, Linda Twilley Scott\, Rosemary Twilley, Stephanie Seeman and Joshua Twilley. The Fund was started in honor of Rosemary’s late husband. (Submitted photo/Stephanie Seeman)

DOVER –– The CenDel Foundation reached an important fundraising milestone and celebrated Thursday evening at the Schwartz Center for the Arts.

The achievement was reaching a target goal of $250,000, matching a gift from Rosemary Twilley dedicated in her late husband’s honor to the Kent County Fund for the Arts.

“My husband was a lover of the arts and a self taught painter and my stepson is a sculptor so I thought supporting the arts would be a nice gesture to do in his honor,” Ms. Twilley said.

The Twilley donation was intended to be seed money to grow an Arts Fund which is exactly what CenDel has accomplished.

“Our mission is to work toward an improved quality life and the arts can play a big role in that,” said CenDel president Kathleen Hawkins.

The Fund has contributed about $100,000 since its inception and CenDel is planning on granting about $18,000 of the Fund into the community in 2016. Grants are available for schools, clubs and organizations that apply.

An application is available online. It is posted in January with a deadline in March every year.

“We gather our five-member committee together to decide how to allocate the funds,” Joshua Twilley, Ms. Twilley’s son said.

The applications must follow the ideals of the fund which are arts as a means of enhancing the quality of life, educating/broadening perspectives and developing the community.

Grants have been distributed not only to organizations in Kent County but to southern New Castle and northern Sussex.

Mr. Twilley said the most important part of the grant is that it impact central Delaware so CenDel has formed relationships with businesses like the Smyrna Opera House and the Schwartz Center for the Arts.

“We have awarded grants to organizations upstate and downstate that may perform at the Opera House or Schwartz Center because their efforts are enhancing the community of central Delaware which is our main focus,” Mr. Twilley said.

But even the organizations who are denied a grant don’t totally miss out on opportunities to improve their group because the committee offers constructive criticism about the application.

“A lot of times, community organizations may be overlooked when it comes to applying for grants because the application may be lacking or may not have what the committees are looking for and we want to help them improve their chances of gaining funding in the future,” Mr. Twilley said.

The CenDel Foundation

The CenDel Foundation formed in 2008 under the name of the Greater Dover Foundation by the Greater Kent Committee focuses on many areas of the community, not just the arts.

But just like with the Arts Fund, CenDel president Kathleen Hawkins said its endeavors aren’t limited to Kent County –– one of the reasons the name was changed from the Greater Dover Foundation to the CenDel (Central Delaware) Foundation.

“We have worked on projects north to Middletown and south of Milford,” she said. “If it’s a project that will impact central Delaware for the better, we are willing to explore it.”

And the types of projects CenDel gets involved in range from education to housing.

Some projects are initiated by CenDel and others are brought to them. One of it’s biggest projects has been the Restoring Central Delaware project which CenDel began but later handed off.

“It was one of the projects we’ve had that we hand off to another organization once it surpasses our area of expertise,” Ms. Hawkins said. “One of the focuses of the project was improving substandard housing so we handed this project to NCALL (the National Council on Agricultural Life and Labor) which specializes in that type of job.”

Although charitable projects are a large part of the CenDel mission, the first president, Jennings Hastings said a large part of the CenDel mission is to foster philanthropic endeavors in the area –– not only through its $1 million in grants since 2008 and $100,000 from the Arts Fund.

One of the ways CenDel does that is through its support of other non-profit organizations. Right now, six non-profits occupy offices in the CenDel building in downtown Dover free of charge.

“We give them the bricks and mortar rent-free so their funds can be better directed to their own work and mission,” Mr. Hastings said.

But the grants and office space can’t be allotted without support from the community so CenDel is always looking for supporters. Donors can choose the type of fund they would like to contribute to on CenDel’s website cendelfoundation.org.

More than 20 different funds are available to donate to. More information about CenDel can be found on the website, calling 724-7538 or emailing cendel@cendelfoundation.org.

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