DFC Launches Young Philanthropists Group in Southern DE

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Front Row:Leslie DiPietro, member, Kim Willson, president, Molly King, membership com- mittee chair, Christy Vanderwende, secretary, and Beccy Cooper, grants committee chair. Back Row: Brian Ellis, treasurer, Cindy Szabo, marketing committee chair, Jason Adkins vice president, and Tom Bain, development committee chair.

The Delaware Community Foundation (DFC) has launched a new Southern Delaware chapter of it’s young philanthropists group, The Next Generation. The Next Generation (TNG) Southern Delaware will serve to engage Kent and Sussex Countains between the ages of 20 and 40 in philanthropic activities and charitable giving. One of the DCF’s three Giving Circles, TNG raises money each year to award grants to nonprofits and to contribute to its growing endowment fund.

Fred Sears, DCF President and CEO; Hugh Leahy, DCF Senior Vice President for Southern Delaware; and TNG President Don W. Nicholson Jr. welcomed more than 30 prospects members an briefed them about the Delaware Community Foundation in June.

“So many people have approached me downstate about getting involved with The Next Generation and the Delaware Community Foundation,” Nicholson said. “The energy and the enthusiasm are there to start a really dynamic group of current and up-and-coming philanthropists.”

Since that initial meeting in June, The Next Generation Southern Delaware group has met twice at the Rookery in Milford to elect leaders, appoint committee chairs and construct bylaws for the organization.

Newly elected President, Kim Wilson is a lobbyist with Rhett Ruggerio Government Relations and Public Affairs. A resident of Magnolia, Wilson has a diverse background, which includes positions with statewide and U.S. Senatorial campaigns, local community organizations, the non-profit sector and Fortune 500 companies. Kim has been a mentor with Big Brothers/Big Sisters for six years and is a member of the Blood Bank of Delmarva Regional Board.

“I think we can make a greater impact across the state of Delaware by having our own TNG in Southern Delaware,” commented Ms. Wilson. “We will be able to have a discussion down here about how the money is spent. We all have a vested interest in Southern Delaware and there is a clear need for an organization like TNG.”

Vice president, Jason Akins is a Delaware native and fourth generation Milford resident. At the age of 24, Adkins was elected the youngest ever Milford City Councilman. Previously a commercial insurance agent with L&W Insurance Agency in Dover, Adkins is now a law student in the top 10 percent of his class.

Secretary Christy Vanderwende is a policy analyst for Nemours, where she advocates for children’s health statewide. A Harrington resident, Vanderwende is involved in mobilizing a children’s health coalition in Kent County. Vanderwende also is an adjunct professor with the new government and public policy program at Wilmington University. She serves on the Delaware 4-H Foundation board, the State of Delaware Board of Dietetics/Nutrition, and the Delaware Farm-to-School Advisory Board. She is also a national volunteer for Common Ground, a program that strives to educate and link consumers to the women and families who grow our food.

Treasurer, Brian Ellis is a partner in the law firm of Ellis & Szabo, LLP, providing legal guidance and advice in the areas of business, transactional and real estate law. Following law school, he spent seven years practicing corporate and securities law in New York City, primarily focused on mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, finance, and private and public equity, servicing clients in the pharmaceutical, media, telecommunications, insurance, energy and fashion industries. Ellis returned to Sussex County in 2005, practicing with Sergovic & Ellis, P.A. prior to the formation of Ellis & Szabo, LLP in 2007. Raised in Lewes, Brian currently resides in Rehoboth Beach with his wife and two daughters.

Every two years, TNG selects a social issue as the focus of its grants and volunteer activities. Currently in its sixth year, the New Castle County TNG chapter has focused on fighting childhood obesity and awarded $35,000 in grants this spring to programs that encourage children to participate in healthy lifestyles. The Southern Delaware TNG is currently looking at several areas including anti-bullying, early childhood education and STEM (Science, Technolgy, Engineering, Math) curriculum in schools for their future focus areas.

To join or learn more about TNG in New Castle County or Southern Delaware, visit www.delcf.org/TNG.