Best of Delaware 2013 Party Beneficiaries

The Girl Scouts of the Chesapeake Bay, Variety—The Children’s Charity and Kent County Fund for the Arts

Girl Scouts of the Chesapeake Bay
Given today’s societal pressures, it’s easy for girls to lose their way. But the Girl Scouts of the Chesapeake Bay is helping girls face those challenges and evolve into strong leaders of tomorrow.

“The Girl Scouts’ mission is about creating girls of courage, confidence and character who make the world a better place,” says Anne Hogan, the council’s CEO. “Girls today need to be in an environment that is safe and comfortable, where they can try new things, where they can stretch themselves, where they can learn skills that will follow them the rest of their lives.”

The Girl Scouts of the Chesapeake Bay serves about 14,000 girls in grades K-12 throughout the Delmarva Peninsula. More than 5,000 volunteers lend support to the council through mentoring and leadership positions.

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In recent years, the council has put more attention on offering cutting-edge STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) programming at the Lynn W. Williams Science & Technology Lodge at Camp Country Center in Hockessin. The center is the first building in Delaware—and the first Girl Scout facility in the nation—to earn the nationally renowned platinum certification for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design from the U.S. Green Building Council.

In 2011, Girl Scouts of the USA named the council a “STEM Advocacy Champion,” becoming one of only 17 councils in the nation to receive this distinction. (

Variety—The Children’s Charity
Variety—The Children’s Charity’s afterschool programming in Delaware and metro Philadelphia is a godsend for parents like Lynn Mancini.  Finding afterschool care for any child is tough, but when the child has a developmental disability, there are few options.

For years, Mancini struggled to find suitable afterschool care for Andy, her 11-year-old son with autism.

“It was really a situation where I was wondering if I was even going to be able to keep my job,” Mancini recalls.

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Then, in 2007, Variety started an afterschool program at the Brennen School in New Castle County, where Andy is a student. Today, when Andy finishes his school day at Brennen, he transitions to Variety’s afterschool program, giving Mancini a few much-needed minutes on her own.

“It’s the afterschool program that’s helping me function day-to-day,” Mancini says. “That’s the time I get to go to the grocery store. It’s the Variety program that allows me to go home and go through the mail and take care of paperwork. It has been such a blessing for me.”

In addition to Brennen, Variety operates similar programs at four other schools in New Castle County, as well as at seven sites in the Philadelphia area.

Variety also offers summer camp and vocational programs at the Variety Club Camp and Developmental Center in Montgomery County, Pa.; an Autism Initiative that connects parents to community resources; and “Variety at Play,” which partners with area venues to provide disability-specific outings for families across the East Coast. (

Ann Dulin (from left) and Mike and Donna Harrington enjoy the MidAtlantic Wine + Food Festival, of which the fund for the arts is a beneficiary. Photo by Mike BakerKent County Fund for the Arts
Inspired by her late husband’s passion for painting, philanthropist Rosemary Twilley founded the Kent County Fund for the Arts in 2009, in partnership with the Greater Dover Committee.

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Since then, more than $35,000 in grants has been awarded to Kent County nonprofits, schools and clubs in support of the arts.

“The Kent County Fund for the Arts is focused on enhancing residents’ quality of life, educating and broadening perspectives, and realizing the economic impact generated through arts events,” says Shelly Cecchett, executive director of the Greater Dover Committee. “Arts are important to our community, and our goal is to continue to see the arts grow and thrive in Central Delaware.”

One of the fund’s most recent grant recipients was the Dover Days Plein Air project. Over the course of five days last spring, more than 20 artists set up easels outdoors and competed in the Dover Days Plein Air Paint Out.

“They could paint one or 100 pictures, as long as they were painted outside and within Dover’s historic districts,” says Cindy Small with Kent County Tourism. “They had to choose one for the competition.”

The project also included full-day art classes for disadvantaged children and the Plein Air Quick Draw, where artists were challenged to create and frame a painting in just three hours.

Other prior arts fund grant recipients include the Smyrna Opera House, VSA Arts of Delaware, Friends of Killens Pond State Park and the Biggs Museum of American Art. (

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