Best of Delaware Party 2013 Grant Recipients

Delaware KIDS Fund and Nemours Cardiac Center

Delaware KIDS Fund
Everyone has seen the heart-tugging TV commercials featuring impoverished children from Africa, their wide eyes silently pleading for food.
But the hunger crisis isn’t just an overseas problem. It’s right here in Delaware, too.

According to the Food Bank of Delaware, more than 240,000 Delawareans are food insecure, meaning they aren’t certain of the source of their next meal. Of those, half are children.

“When you see these cases of kids that are hungry, it’s just impossible to sit back and do nothing about it,” says Thomas J. Hanna, cofounder of the Delaware KIDS Fund.

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In 2008, Hanna and his family’s business, Harvey, Hanna & Associates, cofounded the KIDS Fund with the mission of providing goods and services to Delaware children who are at-risk or currently living in distressed situations.

Since then, the organization has disbursed more than $17,000 to local food banks, other nonprofits aligned with the fund’s mission and individual families.

“Good people running great organizations doing great things—that’s where we try to direct most of our allocations,” Hanna says.

The Food Bank of Delaware is one such organization. Last year, the KIDS Fund collected 650 pounds of food for the food bank during a fundraiser involving then-Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Vance Worley.

“Organizations such as the KIDS Fund are vital to the food bank’s ability to provide critical emergency food assistance, education and employment training to over 241,000 Delawareans each year,” says Larry Haas, the food bank’s development director. (

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Photo Courtesy of NemoursNemours Cardiac Center
Every expecting parent prays for a healthy, happy newborn, but that doesn’t always happen. Out of every 100 live births, one infant will be delivered with a congenital heart defect.

Fortunately, the Nemours Cardiac Center helps heal Delaware’s tiniest hearts. Created in 1988, Nemours is the state’s only pediatric cardiac center, blending technology with a team of medical specialists devoted exclusively to treating children of all ages with heart problems.

“The cardiac center differentiates itself from other institutions by its programmatic approach [to the] management of congenital and acquired heart disease in children and adolescents in a family-centered environment, including a dedicated team of surgeons, cardiologists, cardiac intensivists, cardiac anesthesiologists and cardiac nurses under a single administrative structure with a dedicated and family-oriented physical plant,” explains Dr. Christian Pizarro, the center’s director.

Located within the Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children in Wilmington, the center has a 14-bed cardiac intensive care unit, an 18-bed nursing unit for children who need less intensive care, an operating room and digital cardiac catheterization and an electrophysiology suite.

Nemours takes a family-centered approach to care, encouraging parents to remain with their children as much as possible. Each patient room has a private bathroom, a bulletin board for cards and artwork, a telephone, a TV, a DVD player and an extra bed, so parents can stay with their child, day and night. Other features include free valet parking, a playground, kid-friendly waiting rooms, little red wagons (for escorting young children) and a family resource center, with laundry facilities, showers, kitchenettes, a library, a business center and three sleep rooms with full-sized beds. (

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Front row, from left: Rosemary Twilley (Kent County Fund for the Arts), Margaret Vavala (Variety), Ginger Weiss (Variety), Ryan Kennedy (Delaware KIDS Fund), Jennifer Acord (Girl Scouts), Shelly Cecchett (Kent County Fund for the Arts)  Back row, from left:  Christina Edleman (Girl Scouts), Chris Anderson (Variety), Marie Hiddeman (Nemours), Audrey Boys (Girl Scouts) . Photo by Ben Fournier

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