The Delaware Community Foundation (DCF), in partnership with Social Contract, is pleased to convene the Community Equity Project (CEP). The CEP will bring together a cohort of up to 10 leaders with experience addressing equity issues. This cohort will establish consensus with the community and each other on a shared vision and road map for increasing equity in Wilmington.
A focus on equity is crucial to building opportunity for all. The promise of prosperity is at the core of the country’s founding and yet, there is much evidence showing us that for far too many people, the American Dream is just that — a dream. There is a growing opportunity gap – an ever-increasing imbalance in the opportunities people have to succeed. The reality is that many Delawareans start with so few opportunities and face so many challenges that they have little to no chance of achieving educational and economic success, no matter how hard they work.
The DCF is addressing this social inequity by creating a new opportunity for community leaders who are passionate about the issue of equity. The group will dialogue together and, building in insights from the broader community, the cohort will ultimately define a shared vision and set of priorities capable of moving the needle on equity in our community.
What does our community mean when we say increase equity? Where should funders focus their attention? What are the most promising equity strategies that will move the needle in Delaware? How can we collaborate to activate and scale these winning strategies?
In 2019, rather than making modest grants to projects focused on equity, the DCF will direct a portion of its discretionary dollars to supporting this cohort who will come together and build shared answers to these questions. Through this new approach, the DCF will look to the perspective and expertise of the community, rather than trying to define how to address equity on its own. The learnings from this project will inform the DCF’s overall strategy and future grantmaking to most meaningfully move the needle on equity.
Through this experience, the cohort will learn each other’s perspective and history, listen and learn from lived experience and local voices, and ultimately define what we hope to be true here in Wilmington and best practices or innovative strategies that might get us there.
This is equity: just and fair inclusion into a society in which all can participate, prosper, and reach their full potential. (The Equity Manifesto, PolicyLink)
The CEP will offer a dynamic, collaborative learning experience for a small group of leaders focused on equity. The cohort will engage the community to establish a clear picture of what a more equitable Wilmington looks like, feels like, and will require of all of us.
Throughout the experience, the leaders will build a shared vision of what is possible, then in partnership with the community they will design actionable strategies related to that vision. They will develop an implementation plan and budget for how to make their vision a reality. Ultimately, our hope is this cohort will serve as the catalyst for ongoing, sustainable change in Wilmington, and this work will help inform DCF’s longer-term strategy related to building equitable communities.
● Community Support: In recognition of the time and commitment of each participant, small grants in the amount of $2,500 will be made to organizations addressing equity issues in Wilmington. Each participant will have the opportunity to recommend a grantee organization.
● Collaboration: Cohort will engage in facilitated sessions over five months, working to form a collective vision and strategy around what change will look like.
● Leadership: Participants will have access to local and national leaders at the forefront of their area of expertise to learn from strategies proven to drive lasting change.
● Funding Opportunities: Leaders will have the opportunity to share their collective solutions with potential funders at the end of the project.
Who Should Apply?
The Community Equity Project is designed for established or emerging leaders that are actively addressing issues of equity in Wilmington. The experience is best suited for stakeholders with expertise in tackling social inequity, and hungry for deeper collaboration to maximize our collective ability to drive progress in this area. We will seek a balance across different approaches to addressing equity, and will consider the depth and complexity of experiences and perspectives applicants bring to the mix.
A committee of Delaware leaders with relevant expertise will review applications, participate in candidate interviews, and provide recommendations to the DCF using an agreed upon criteria for judging the merits of each candidate. The review committee includes:
• Cerron Cade, Secretary, Delaware Department of Labor
• Paul Herdman, President & CEO, Rodel
• Margie Lopez-Waite, Head of School, Las Américas ASPIRA Academy
• Tamara Smith, Executive Director, Teach for America Delaware
• Kara Walker, Secretary, Delaware Department of Health and Social Services
Applications due March 22
Interviews held April 11 or 12 (Applicants are asked to let us know as soon as possible if they will not be available either of these dates.)
Participants Announced by April 19
May – June
Discovery Phase (Commitment: 7.5 hours)
Leaders will attend three 2.5 hour-long sessions, and commit to up to 5 hours of additional time engaged in community interviews and focus groups.
• Session 1 – Discovery: May 2, 8:30 AM – 11:00 AM
• Session 2 – Vision: May 16, 8:30 AM – 11:00 AM
• Session 3 – Priorities: June 6, 8:30 AM – 11:00 AM
• Make-up Scoping Session: June 28, 8:30 AM – 11:00 AM • (Participants also must be available June 28 as a makeup date in case a scheduled session has to be rescheduled.)
July – August
Defining Shared Strategies for Impact (Commitment: 20 hours)
Day long “design sprints” that will establish group clarity on its most promising “breakthrough solutions.” We will engage national and local voices in these design sprints to help define clear, viable pathways to impact.
• First Full Day Retreat: July 18
• Second Full Day Retreat: August 8
Leaders can expect up to 4 hours of cohort check-ins during this window to begin synthesizing and prioritizing information derived from each sprint.
Synthesis Phase (Commitment: 6 hours)
The final product generated from the work of this group will be a presentation for funders. This could entail up to 6 hours of preparation with expected additional time for presentation.
October – December
Sharing, Funding & Implementation
As appropriate, leaders will have opportunities to share their proposal with funders and the broader community, and will ideally begin implementation.