A private trust fund established by the Woodlawn Trustees nearly 40 years ago to benefit Brandywine Creek State Park in Wilmington is now being managed by the Delaware Community Foundation (DCF). Transfer of the $2.2 million to the new Brandywine Creek Woodlawn Fund was announced at the DCF’s annual meeting in June, and is now complete.
In 1981, the Woodlawn Trustees transferred 350 acres to the State of Delaware, nearly doubling the size of the park. Woodlawn donated one half of this land to the state. With that gift, the state received matching federal funds, which were used to buy the second half from Woodlawn. The after-tax proceeds of the sale totaled $530,000 which the Trustees used to set up a permanent endowment for park maintenance. Income from the fund has been used each year by the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) Division of Parks and Recreation to support park operations, maintenance and security. This has typically accounted for about one third of the park’s annual operating budget.
Brandywine Creek State Park is one of 17 state parks in Delaware where millions of residents and visitors come to enjoy the outdoors. DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin said, “For four decades now, Brandywine Creek has been enhanced by the critical resources that this fund provides. Visitors see the impact in the form of improved maintenance, increased public safety created by additional Natural Resources Police coverage, and even maintenance of the park’s historic stone walls. We are very pleased to add the DCF to our strategic partnership with the Woodlawn Trustees.”
Woodlawn Trustees’ involvement in the Brandywine Valley began over 100 years ago when Wilmington Quaker industrialist William P. Bancroft established the not-for-profit corporation. His vision for the Trustees emphasized preservation of open space, affordable worker housing, and planned community development. Both William Bancroft and Woodlawn Trustees have been heavily involved in the growth of the Wilmington park system and the preservation of open space in the Brandywine Valley since the late 1800s. Over the years, Woodlawn has made major contributions to the national, state, county and municipal parks in Wilmington and the eastern portion of the Brandywine Valley.
“We’re working hard to continue the Bancroft legacy of preserving the environment and supporting local community institutions,” said Woodlawn Trustees President Rodney Lambert. “We have a high level of trust in the DCF’s knowledge and leadership to manage this important investment in the future of Brandywine Creek State Park.”
By partnering with Woodlawn Trustees and Delaware State Parks, the DCF seeks to increase opportunity for all Delawareans that benefit from our beautiful parks and natural lands. “The new fund models how generous people can impact and empower an entire community through charitable giving,” DCF President and CEO Stuart Comstock-Gay said.
With the addition of the Brandywine Creek Woodlawn Fund, the DCF is now home to more than $10 million of funds benefiting Delaware State Parks. To support your favorite state park visit delcf.org/delaware-state-parks.