Latest Grants Support Historic Preservation, Health and Education


On the first platted street in America in the nation’s oldest city, St. Augustine, sits the Ximenez-Fatio House Museum, considered to be one of the most authentic historic properties in the nation. Owned today by the Florida chapter of the National Society of the Colonial Dames of America, the museum is one of a number of historic properties and programs that are eligible for support from the Jessie Ball duPont Fund. At their February meeting, the trustees awarded grants to three of those organizations, as well as grants supporting health initiatives and educational program. In total, the trustees awarded 17 grants valued at $1.8 million. A $40,000 grant will help the Dames enhance the Ximenez-Fatio House Museum’s outreach through digital and traditional media, making the museum a unique classroom.

The Ximenez-Fatio House Museum in St. Augustine, Florida, depicts an elegant inn run by women in the early-to-mid 1800s. (Colonial Dames)

Since 1939, the Dames, with the guidance of national experts, have preserved and restored the structure and interpreted it as an elegant inn run by a series of four female entrepreneurs, depicting early tourism in Florida (1821-1861). It is the last historic museum in St. Augustine owned and operated by a private nonprofit group. After 200 years, it still is owned by women. The Jessie Ball duPont grant will enable the Dames to upgrade the museum’s website, create a series of videos and enhance the museum’s presence on social media. A $25,000 to the Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities (Preservation Virginia), Richmond, Virginia, will help underwrite the production of a television program highlighting the Commonwealth of Virginia’s embrace of historic preservation for its economic and cultural value and the impact that has had on local communities The program will coincide with the 125th anniversary of Preservation Virginia, the oldest statewide nonprofit preservation organization in the nation.

“Preservation has changed a great deal since our organization was formed in 1889 and the people who are involved in preservation have changed as well,” said Elizabeth Kostelny, executive director.

“Diverse groups of people are coming together to save places like Rosenwald Schools, which were built in the early 20th century so that African- American children in rural areas could get an education; or tobacco barns that tell the story of Virginia’s agricultural past; or small cemeteries that hold the secrets of many generations of one family. This documentary will tell all of these stories and let the viewer know that everyone’s history is worth preserving.” A $88,925 to the Florida Historical Society, Cocoa, Florida, will provide emergency bridge funding to cover the loss of funding from the Florida Public Archaeology Network. The Fund’s support of health programs and initiatives includes: $124,882 to Children’s National Medical Center, Washington, D.C., to train health care professionals and develop an oral health campaign that teaches parents/caregivers of vulnerable children how to access and advocate for better pediatric oral health outcomes. This grant builds on a 2010 grant that supported a coalition working to improve oral health among children insured by Medicaid. Since 2010, the coalition has mapped resources and needs, successfully advocated for changes to Medicaid reimbursement to support fluoride varnish education and application, and trained primary care providers in fluoride varnish education and application. The current grant will help the coalition undertake an oral health literacy education program aimed at front line health providers for children: primary care physicians, certified health education specialists and community health workers. $144,688 to National Jewish Health, Denver, Colorado, to bring the Asthma Toolkit program, an intensive evidence-based training on strategies to diagnose and manage asthma, to 40 health care providers (physicians, nurses, physician assistants and medical assistants) in a four-county rural region of Southwest Colorado. Each provider will receive online and in-person training, equipment for use in the clinic setting and patient education materials in English and Spanish. The region to be served is an eight-hour drive from Denver, often isolated due to bad weather. Studies suggest that one in 10 individuals in the region has asthma.

Staff at the Northern Neck Free Health Clinic provide basic health care, dental care and pharmacy services to the regions uninsured (Ingrid Damiani)

$235,000 to St. Mary’s White Chapel Episcopal Church, Lancaster, Virginia, to work in partnership with the Northern Neck Free Health clinic to hire clinic staff to expand service in Middlesex County and improve the integration of care to clients in the Northern Neck of Virginia. Access to quality health care in the Northern Neck remains a challenge for low-income individuals. As many as 5,200 non-elderly adults in Lancaster, Middlesex, Northumberland, Richmond and Westmoreland counties have incomes below 200% of the Federal Poverty Level and are uninsured. To date, the Commonwealth of Virginia has opted not to expand Medicaid eligibility, leaving thousands of low-income individuals in the coverage “gap” – earning too much to qualify for Medicaid but too little to get the tax credits to help pay for coverage through the marketplace. By increasing staff providing direct patient care in key locales and focusing more on providing coordinated care across clinic sites, the Northern Neck Free Health Clinic hopes to increase its ability to see new patients and to accommodate increased volume of patient visits, as well as enhance staff efficiencies. $75,000 to St. Anthony’s Hospital, Tampa, Florida, to expand diabetic self-management education class sites targeting low-income and under-insured residents of south Pinellas County. The hospital will partner with organizations such as the YMCA, the St. Petersburg Free Clinic, the Pinellas County Public Health Department and the Johnnie B. Ruth Clarke Community Center to promote awareness of the classes and accept referrals. In the field of education, the trustees awarded: $125,000 to James Madison University, Harrisonburg, Virginia, to support the creation of the Valley Scholars program, a college-access program for first generation and low-income students in 8th-12th grade in the seven school districts surrounding the university. While graduation rates from high school are strong in the surrounding communities, the rates for students to continue past high school graduation are some of the lowest in the Commonwealth of Virginia. The program will focus on personal and academic development related to age/grade, and the understanding of, and strategies toward, the college application and attendance process. $68,182 to the College of William & Mary, Williamsburg, Virginia, to expand the William & Mary Scholars Undergraduate Research Experience program, founded in 2002. The program has been a major factor in increasing the diversity of W&M’s undergraduate student body from 14% students of color a decade ago to 29% students of color today. Participants are students who have overcome unusual adversity or are members of under-represented groups who contribute to campus diversity. The program helps them transition into academia and develop the skills needed to thrive in graduate school and careers. $135,118 to University of the South, Sewanee, Tennessee, to support a STEM program designed to increase the number of low-income and minority students admitted to Sewanee who persist in the study of math and science. Since 2001, the University of the South has offered the Bridge Program, a three-week enrichment program, to rising juniors in high school. Bridge includes classroom instruction and experimentation in math and science with the goals of preparing students for college, attracting students to study at Sewanee, and preparing students to persist in math and science fields. With the grant, Sewanee hopes to increase both the number of students a year who choose to attend Sewanee and the number who persist in science by building strong mentor-protégé relationships. The trustees also awarded: $150,000 to Bethune-Cookman University, Daytona Beach, Florida, to support the establishment of both Masters and Baccalaureate degrees in Public Health. $100,000 to Hampden-Sydney College, Hampden-Sydney, Virginia, to initiate a digital marketing campaign to broaden awareness of the college and increase enrollment. 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 $290 million and has awarded $340 million in grants since 1977.