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Thursday, March 4, 2021

TSD Q&A: 'The Next Generation' of Delaware Philanthropy

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Think philanthropy is only for the chronologically “seasoned?” Think again! For nearly a decade, “The Next Generation” of the Delaware Community Foundation has been making a difference in Delaware. TSD recently caught up with Kristen Kuipers and Dave Arthur, co-chairs of The Next Generation’s “Chips for Charity” event to be held this Saturday, March 2nd at the Blue Ball Barn.

Town Square Delaware: You and your fellow members are known as “The Next Generation” of the Delaware Community Foundation (DCF). What does your group do exactly?

Dave Arthur: The Next Generation (TNG) is local organization created and directed by young professionals living and working in Delaware. We hope to create the next generation of philanthropic leaders. TNG is a great way for younger individuals to learn how to be an effective board member and how a non-profit operates so that one day they can serve on board positions for various nonprofit organizations in Delaware.

Kristen Kuipers: TNG had been building a fund at the DCF to generate money for charitable grants for decades to come. We leverage many of the Delaware Community Foundation’s resources – they help us in so many ways as mentors, advisors, legal counsel, and more – but we have established our own structure to raise funds and support the community. Over the past eight years, TNG has awarded more than $250,000 in grants in support of initiatives that address underlying social challenges faced by the most vulnerable Delawareans and we just opened a chapter in Southern Delaware.

TSD: What are the qualities you look for in new members?

DA: We are looking for passionate and energetic young professionals (mid 20’s to early 40’s) that live and/or work in Delaware that are looking to give back to the local community and meet other young professionals.

KK: We also look for people that can help us make connections with corporate donors, roll up their sleeves and help co-chair or manage our two annual fund-raising events. This is very much like an introduction to nonprofit board membership and, since many of our current and former NextGen’ers make up a strong network of leaders in Delaware, members also help connect and support each other’s philanthropic efforts.

TSD: The Next Generation combines charitable giving with fun to give young Delawareans the opportunity to meet other young professionals. The events you choose to host and their appeal to young, working professionals must play a critical role in the success of your fundraising. Is there a recipe for success?

KK: We’re targeting young professionals, people who are establishing their careers or their families, so we try to make our events appeal to the lifestyles of our members. Our two flagship fundraising events are the “Fall Family Festival,” which is an event for all ages, and our upcoming “Chips for Charity” event, which is a fun night out at the Blue Ball Barn for the adults. Both offer unique opportunities for folks to involve both their professional and personal lives into the mix. Like any nonprofit, if you’re passionate about the mission, you’ll most likely make time to participate. It’s easier to do that if you can bring your family along to an event, or use the time to connect with your work colleagues or friends over a few drinks!

DA: Since we rely on all members’ volunteer time, our events usually appoint two co-chairs that can take the lead, but it is definitely a group effort. These events and all of our committee meetings are also structured in a way for everyone in the group to pitch in and learn what it takes to put on a successful event for a good cause. It’s a fun way to get to know our fellow members outside of the conference room and the events themselves serve as good recruiting opportunities for new members of TNG. We also make sure our events are unique, fun, and appealing to the audience we’re trying to attract. You can always check out our upcoming events, by logging on to www.nextgenrsvp.com.

TSD: Is there a charitable focus on your fundraising this year?

DA: This year, we changed our focus from supporting organizations that focus on childhood obesity to those that focus on S.T.E.M. (Science Technology Engineering and Math) Education programs for children in Delaware. We feel this is a very important cause that will benefit the future of our state (and nation) immensely in the coming years with science and engineering careers expected to grow more than 20 percent by 2018.

KK: Having a charitable focus also adds to the development of our members. Our Grants committee functions as a foundation by producing the grant application and managing the entire process from reading the grants, to conducting site visits, and then selecting and distributing the funding to the organizations that are making a difference in STEM Education in Delaware.  We just held our annual Grants program in February and granted money to four local organizations.

TSD: Tell us a bit about yourselves. Are either of you new to Delaware?

DA: I grew up in New York, but moved to Delaware shortly before high school. While I wasn’t thrilled at the time, the move was probably one of the best things to happen to me. I graduated from the University of Delaware. (Go Blue Hens!) I used to work for the Wilmington Blue Rocks, but I currently work in the Delaware Tourism Office as the Executive Director of the Delaware Sports Commission. In this role, it’s my job to recruit regional, national and international sporting events to the state of Delaware, with the purpose of attracting out-of-state visitors.  In addition to the Next Generation, I serve on the board of Kind to Kids, another great Delaware non-profit. I’m currently taking part in the Leadership Delaware fellowship, and I’m a sports junkie!

KK: I’m from Scranton, Pennsylvania and moved to Philadelphia to pursue my undergrad education at Temple University. (Go Owls!) I worked for several corporations in marketing and community relations roles before I found my passion for the nonprofit sector. While working for KPMG in Philadelphia, I served on the board of The Career Wardrobe, a Philadelphia-based nonprofit, and eventually joined their staff for about two years. When my personal life moved me south to North Wilmington, I knew I wanted and needed to network and immerse myself in the Delaware community and that’s when I found TNG. I’ve met some really great contacts and connections both personally and professionally, and I recently started a new position as the Marketing Director for the Siegel JCC. I am excited to be co-chairing our “Chips for Charity” event this year with Dave!

Tickets and more information about “Chips for Charity” can be found here: http://www.nextgenrsvp.com/.

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