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Foundation set up to encourage donations to help bring cash to NCCo - Community News

Foundation set up to help bring cash to NCCo

By Jesse Chadderdon
Community News
Posted Nov 19, 2008 @ 11:42 AM
Last update Nov 24, 2008 @ 08:26 AM

Wilmington, Del. —

A new organization set up by a former New Castle County employee could help the financially-strapped county secure funding for special programs and community events.

New Castle County Pride, created by former Special Services General Manager Rich Przywara, is essentially set up to act as a clearinghouse for private donations that the county itself cannot easily accept.

Because so many businesses and organizations do official business with the county, even the most noble of donations and contributions can raise questions about a conflict of interest. Now that’s not an issue, Przywara said.

“I knew we ran into these kinds of issues during my time with the county,” he said. “I just thought this was a logical step, to create a separate fundraising entity and avoid any ethics concerns.”

In August, the ING Group became the first donor to use New Castle County Pride as an intermediary, donating $80,000 to help cleanup and repair several county parks along the Rt. 9 corridor. And last month, more than a dozen companies combined to contribute $15,000 to the county’s Sleep Under the Stars program – one of the most popular county events each year.

They’re the kind of programs people love, said County Executive Chris Coons, but also the one’s the county can’t afford to fund, given its declining revenues and growing operating deficit.

When you’re in a situation where you’ve got to cut capital projects, freeze new hires and cut overtime, as Coons announced he was doing Nov. 13, there’s more need than ever for private donations for non-essential programs.

“This is a great new vehicle for New Castle County government to reach out to our community and get the help we need to maintain the community events we value, and do so with private dollars,” he said. “One question our residents may have is how are we able to do things like Sleep Under the Stars and our Holiday Open House and the answer is we rely on our dedicated volunteers and on help from our business community.”

Erin Smolenski, who organized ING Direct's event in August, said New Castle County Pride made donating to the county easy.

"They needed to do the buying of the equipment, so it was easy to just be able to cut one check to one organization and have them do the legwork," she said.

Przywara – who heads a similar foundation that benefits West Chester University – said the organization also has the ability to liquidate jewelry and other material assets for cash – something the county has difficulty doing.

But New Castle County Pride’s work doesn’t stop with assisting the government. The organization also is set up to help smaller organizations reach their fundraising goals quickly and easily, Przywara said.

“When you have to set up your own non-profit it can be a headache and very expensive,” he said. “And then you have to permanently maintain it and pay taxes. It can be very difficult for some people.”

He said the structure is perfect for groups that are set up to support county libraries and parks.

Przywara said the organization has no paid staff, and just two other board members – Dr. Catherine Dukes-Histon of Planned Parenthood and Alex Meitzler of Pennoni Engineering. He said administrative costs are paid for by taking two percent from all donated funds, something that is commonplace among non-profits. Otherwise, all of the money donated will go directly to the intended cause, Przywara said.

“There are a lot of people out there working hard and raising money,” he said. “We’re just facilitating the process of getting it to the county.” 

For more information about New Castle County Pride
Contact Norm Specter, NCC Liason
              (302) 395-5621

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