Delawareans will now be able to support pediatric cancer research with the tick of a box thanks to legislation spearheaded by a former high school student.
House Bill 23, originally created as mock legislation by Charter School of Wilmington student and now graduate Minnie Proud, was signed into law last week by Governor John Carney. The legislation, which received unanimous bipartisan support, adds the Andrew McDonough B+ Foundation to a roster of Delaware nonprofits that taxpayers can designate as recipients of their annual state tax refunds.
Proud was acknowledged as the bills key champion, said she never imagined the idea would become law after proposing it during a week-long ‘government camp’ as a high school junior in 2016.
The rising sophomore at the Carroll School of Business at Boston College was one of about 100 students who participated in the American Legion’s Girls State program in Dover, where she learned about civics, citizenship and the workings of the state legislature.
As part of the program, the high school students act as delegates and are required to propose one piece of legislation about an issue that is important to them.
With years of volunteer service to the B+ Foundation guiding her thought process, Proud introduced a resolution to amend Title 30 of the Delaware Code relating to personal income tax passed unanimously in both the model House and Senate.
“To have Minnie Proud introduce this bill in Girls’ State and for it to actually go through the process and become a law – it’s just so special,” said Joe McDonough, who started the Andrew McDonough B+ Foundation after his son, Andrew, died from leukemia at the age of 14.
The B+ Foundation joins 21 other Delaware charitable organizations including the Food Bank of Delaware, the Delaware National Guard, Juvenile Diabetes Fund and White Clay Creek who are eligible for the taxpayer ‘tick-off.”
Proud first supported the B+ Foundation by participating in the annual 5K race each year. Eventually, she served on the planning team for Charter School of Wilmington’s “Charterthon,” an all-night dance marathon to raise funds for the organization. Her senior year, Charter joined with Cab Calloway School of the Arts tor a year-long effort that raised over $82,000 for the B+ Foundation.
Serendipitously, Proud shared the story about her mock legislation at a subsequent Charterthon planning meeting, and classmate Olivia Rattenni mentioned that her representative to the State Legislature, Kimberly Williams, was supportive of policies affecting children and families.
So Proud reached out to Representative Williams, and not only did Williams express interest, but she ended up sponsoring the bill. She said the legislation is a great example of how the legislative process brings everyone together for the common good and how even students can affect change.
“I am inspired by Minnie and Olivia for their creativity for this legislation. Young people should never be afraid to make their voices heard because I believe they truly can make a difference,” said Representative Williams. “They have the power to shape policy and discussions around critical issues in Delaware. Delaware is truly a special place in that the general public has direct access to their legislators — you can email, call, advocate at Legislative Hall or see us out in the community.”
Proud said she considers the B+ Foundation as a ‘way of life’ more than a cause and she is proud the state legislature embraced her idea.
“This is such an exciting day. I’m in awe of the leadership and bipartisan support that went into making HB 23 a reality. I am so grateful to Representative Kim Williams for not only championing the Bill but also for her generosity in making sure that all of us were included in every step of the process.”