Governor’s consortium announces Hispanic community needs grants

DCF’s Arsht-Cannon Fund to Award $150,000 to Help Hispanic Delawareans Learn English


Wilmington, DE – According to a recent study commissioned by the Governor’s Consortium on Hispanic Affairs, over half of Hispanic Delawareans are Spanish-dominant and almost all share the desire to learn English. Increasing access to education and other ways to improve the quality of life for the state’s Hispanic population will be addressed with a new series of grants supported by the Arsht-Cannon Fund of the Delaware Community Foundation.

Up to $150,000 in grants (three, single-year grants of up to $50,000 each) will be available to organizations with programs or projects that help Hispanic immigrants and their young children learn the English language. Applications will be accepted from tax-exempt, IRS-designated 501(c)(3) nonprofit agencies within the State of Delaware and those outside the state that benefit Delawareans and provide innovative community-based programs that:

reach Spanish-speaking immigrants, particularly those in households with young children, and effectively influence their abilities to speak, read and write English;

improve cross-cultural understanding and linguistic competence of people working within key community systems (day care, pre-school programs, schools, health care, business, etc.) that serve young Hispanic families. Programs that include dual language learning may benefit both Hispanic and non-Hispanic Delawareans, and

involve collaboration and/or partnerships among community organizations.

“Supporting education programs in Delaware are risk-free investments,” according to Wanda M. Lopez, chair of the Governor’s Consortium on Hispanic Affairs. “Creating opportunities to address a community need like English proficiency can begin to improve the quality of life for Hispanic Delawareans by increasing job opportunities, wages, and parental involvement in schools.”

Governor Ruth Ann Minner, philanthropist Adrienne Arsht, members of the Governor’s Consortium on Hispanic Affairs revealed the results of their initial project, the Delaware Hispanic Needs Assessment, in late August. The eight-month study identified characteristics, issues and needs of Delaware’s rapidly growing Hispanic population. The assessment was supported by the Governor, the Department of Education and Adrienne Arsht, advisor to the Arsht-Cannon Fund at the Delaware Community Foundation. “Education” was cited as the most common need in all phases of the study. In addition to understanding the English language, results stressed the need to reduce the high school drop-out rates as well as improving career and job training.

Findings of the study included the need for actions to improve cross-cultural communication, beginning with help for immigrant families learning to speak, read and write in English. The study found that 56% of Hispanic Delawareans speak mostly (or exclusively) Spanish and they suffered the most in low wage jobs, low levels of education, discrimination, and by poor access to health care. In addition, there is a growing need for English-only speakers, particularly those in education, healthcare and community services, to become bilingual and culturally competent.

The development of projects, programs and partnerships through the 2009 Delaware Hispanic Community Needs Grant process is the first step of the consortium’s action plan to address the needs of Hispanic Delawareans.

About the 2009 Delaware Hispanic Community Needs Grants

Each grant request must be submitted on a 2009 Delaware Hispanic Community Needs Grant Application Form, which can be downloaded from the Delaware Community Foundation’s website, Completed proposals (three (3) copies) must be postmarked no later than December 31, 2008 and mailed to the Governor’s Consortium on Hispanic Affairs, C/O Delaware Community Foundation, P.O. Box 1636, Wilmington, DE 19899. Grant recipients will be announced in February 2009. Funding will be available the third week in March 2009. For more information, please contact Beth Bouchelle, Director of Grants and Donor Services by calling 302.504.5239 or

About the Governor’s Consortium on Hispanic Affairs

Established by Governor Ruth Ann Minner to identify and address the many unique challenges and unmet needs of Delaware’s Hispanic population, members represent business, government, finance, education and nonprofit organizations and enhance the work of the Governor’s Advisory Council on Hispanic Affairs. Continuing support for the Consortium has been provided by the Arsht-Cannon Fund of the Delaware Community Foundation, and other foundations and governmental entities. The Arsht-Cannon Fund, endowed by the late Honorable Roxana and Samuel Arsht and under advisement by their daughter Adrienne Arsht, supports projects that address the greatest unmet needs of Hispanic Delawareans.

About the Delaware Community Foundation

The Delaware Community Foundation is a nonprofit organization that “connects people who care with causes that matter” by managing charitable funds and awarding grants to nonprofits to benefit Delawareans and their communities. For more information, please call 302.571.8004 or visit