The official policy of the child-centered Global Delaware Fund is “$1 here, $1 abroad.” So while it’s funding music lessons for underprivileged Latino children in Sussex County and after-school programs through the Rehoboth Beach Boys & Girls Club, it’s also vaccinating babies in Nepal and supporting an orphanage in India. “Our motto is, Sustainability through knowledge and education,” says fund founder Matt Haley, owner and president of Highwater Management and SoDel Concepts, two Southern Delaware restaurant-management and food-service companies.
The Global Delaware fund began officially just two years ago, but it’s already becoming well-respected in the state’s nonprofit community. “It’s among the most active and fasting growing funds that we are handling,” says Hugh Leahy, senior vice president for southern Delaware for the Delaware Community Foundation.
The fund evolved, Haley says, both from his own philanthropic pursuits and from the desire of his employees to get involved in their community. He, his fellow board members and his employees don’t just give money; they also volunteer for organizations they support, giving, for example, one day of service a month to the Food Bank of Delaware.
“Global Delaware Fund takes a comprehensive approach and gets involved with the organizations they support,” says D.J. Hill, campaign chair for the Rehoboth Boys & Girls Club. “They are collaborating on a program with us to ensure that kids are offered nutritious snacks like fresh fruits and vegetables.”
“I have a big house,” 5-year-old Juan-Alvaro Santiago Guajardo-Prieto used to say of the Ronald McDonald House of Delaware, where he lived much of his short life. Juan was diagnosed with cancer at age 2, and over the years he’d had many operations at Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children, including two transplants.
“He was never bored or down. There were always activities for him [at the House] and other children to play with,” says his father, Ricardo Guajardo of Illinois. Ricardo and Juan’s mother, Querida Prieto, lived much of the past three years in the Ronald McDonald House with their son, particularly after they lost their home when Ricardo lost his job. “I can’t thank enough the house and the people who lived, worked and volunteered here,” Guajardo says. “There was always love for Juan here.”
Juan’s family was one of 2,620 families served by the Ronald McDonald House of Delaware last year. The House, located along Rockland Road near Wilmington, has 50 family rooms that can be used by non-local parents (and siblings) when a child is hospitalized or requires outpatient treatment.
Families are asked to make a donation of $15 per night if possible, but many families with sick children are financially strapped, so the average donation is $4. The Ronald McDonald House relies on donations to meet expenses that work out to $79 per room per night. “We love our partnership with Delaware Today,” executive director Pam Cornforth says. “They’ve been really great supporters of the House through raising funds and awareness.”