Jessie Ball duPont Fund Supports Neighborhood Development Initiative in Delaware

JACKSONVILLE, Florida, February 24, 2010 – Trustees of the Jessie Ball duPont Fund awarded $225,000 to the University of Delaware, Newark, Delaware, to support neighborhood development efforts in 12 economically distressed neighborhoods in nearby Wilmington.

The grant was among 14 awards, valued at $1.9 million, made by the trustees during the February meeting.

The grant to the University of Delaware supports the type of community outreach that the Fund has long encouraged from large universities – using the resources of the university to increase opportunities for the residents of neighboring, low-income communities, while providing hands-on learning experiences for students.

The University of Delaware supports that model, said University President Pat Harker, noting, “Our primary efforts take three forms: instruction, research, and practical application of learning through community service.”

In 2008, the University partnered with the Federal Home Loan Bank Board of Pittsburgh to pilot the community development outreach program in eight Wilmington-area neighborhoods. The University provided leadership training and technical assistance to groups of residents in each neighborhood, supplemented with small planning grants. As the residents identified community improvement projects, the Federal Home Loan Bank Board made grants of up to $15,000 to support the work.

Community groups initiated projects ranging from public-space beautification to demolition of dilapidated structures and development of new low-income housing.

The grant from the Jessie Ball duPont Fund will enable the University to build on the work in the original eight neighborhoods and begin work in four additional neighborhoods.

The Jessie Ball duPont Fund makes grants to more than 330 eligible organizations identified by Mrs. duPont in her will. The Fund has assets of more than $265 million and has awarded $291 million in grants since 1977.

Sherry Magill, president
904-353-0890 /

Mary Kress Littlepage, KBT & Associates
904-384-8496 /