Jessie Ball duPont Fund Supports Programs for Children, Needy in Northern Neck

JACKSONVILLE, Florida, August 31, 2010 – Trustees of the Jessie Ball duPont Fund awarded grants of more than $460,00 to help children and those in need in the Northern Neck of Virginia.

The grants were among 18 awards, totally $1.97 million, made by the trustees during their August meeting.

The trustees made two grants to support the needs of children in the Northern Neck:

$142,220 to American Red Cross Northumberland County Chapter, Heathsville, Virginia, to support a partnership with the YMCA to provide programs for children and youth ages 4-12, including swimming lessons, wellness programs, after-school and mentoring activities.

The Red Cross and YMCA have partnered to develop a new facility in Heathsville that includes a swimming pool — a critical asset in a county with the largest amount of waterfront in the Northern Neck. With support of the Fund’s grant, the Red Cross will provide swimming lessons to all 2nd grade students in Northumberland County Public Schools.

In addition, students will have access to:

Red Cross baby-sitting classes for teens and pre-teens;

The IGNITE (Interactive Games, Nutrition and Inspiration Through Education) program, focusing on physical education and nutrition for students K-8th grade;

After-school programs for students K-5th grade;

A mentoring program offered in collaboration with Northumberland Public Schools, to meet the needs of counselor-identified, at-risk children in grades 1-4.

$78,000 to St. Mary’s Whitechapel Episcopal Church, Lancaster, Virginia, to support a partnership with Family Development Center in Warsaw to expand the Center’s pre-school program by establishing a separate three-year-old pre-school class. With the initiation of a separate class for three-year-olds, the Family Development Center will offer scholarships for six tuition-free spaces a year for at-risk children.

In addition, the Center will expand its parenting classes to include English as a Second Language classes for Hispanic parents, St. Mary’s Whitechapel pastor Rev. Torrence Hartman notes that since 2004, the Hispanic population in the Northern Neck has almost doubled.

The trustees also made two grants to support the needs of people in need in the Northern Neck:

$92,074 to St. Mary’s Church- Fleeton, Reedville, Virginia, to support creation of a low-income housing repair program for individuals and families in Northumberland County, Virginia.

While there are federal and state programs that support home repairs, the owner must present a deed identifying them as the lawful owner to participate in the program. In Northumberland County, many distressed homes are “heir” properties, meaning the owner died intestate, perhaps generations ago, and the coast of providing clean title to the property is beyond the means of the current residents.

The St. Mary’s Fleeton program would provide home repairs to any resident in need who can show proof of paying property taxes.

$150,000 to River Counties Community Foundation, Kilmarnock, Virginia, to support social safety net organizations providing food, shelter and rent and utility assistant to residents of the Northern Neck. This grant was made through the Jessie Ball duPont Community Safety Net Advised Fund at The Community Foundation in Jacksonville.

This grant represents an extension of efforts begun by the Fund in 2008 to support organizations providing core services to people impacted by the economic recession.

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 /